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Will the Santorum surge last beyond Iowa?
The conservative ex-senator from Pennsylvania is on the rise, but it may be a challenge to keep the good times rolling
Rick Santorum poses for a picture while stumping in Iowa: The former senator's poll numbers are skyrocketing, but critics believe he'll fall back to Earth like so many other flavors of the month.
Rick Santorum poses for a picture while stumping in Iowa: The former senator's poll numbers are skyrocketing, but critics believe he'll fall back to Earth like so many other flavors of the month.
Scott Olson/Getty Images
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hanks to a timely surge, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) is nipping at the heels of Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, and the social conservative is poised to have a very good showing in Tuesday's Iowa caucuses. A high turnout of evangelical voters could even propel Santorum to victory, just as it did for Mike Huckabee four years ago. But will the Santorum surge last into independent-minded New Hampshire, and beyond? The social conservative says he's confident that he can compete beyond Iowa. Can he?

The surge won't last: Once this former back-of-the-packer "receives serious scrutiny, the surge will surely subside," says Dana Milbank in The Washington Post. Closer examination will quickly poke holes in a number of Santorum's arguments, from his claims that Reagan never took Christmas vacations (unlike Obama) to his supposed ability to attract independent and Democratic voters. Beyond Iowa, he'll have to explain, presumably with great difficulty, why abortion restrictions, not jobs, will be his first order of business. A bit more time in the spotlight will quickly reveal that Santorum is nothing but a "hard-edged Dan Quayle."
"Rick Santorum's curious closing argument"

Don't underestimate Santorum: The conservative's campaign is ready for the long haul, John Brabender, Santorum's senior strategist, tells National Review. Sure, our financial resources may be limited, but "we're not an expensive campaign, not a huge-bureaucracy campaign." And while New Hampshire might not be as receptive to our message as evangelical-heavy states like Iowa and South Carolina, we're ready to press on and "show we have national strength."
"Santorum, after Iowa"

Well, it will certainly be an uphill battle: "Even a strong finish in Iowa will leave him scrambling to raise money and build a campaign infrastructure substantial enough to complete against… Romney," says Patrick O'Connor in The Wall Street Journal. Santorum has had the luxury of time to build up support in Iowa, and that's a luxury he won't have in New Hampshire, which votes Jan. 10. His lack of resources will pose a big challenge, just as it has for other underdogs who have suddenly surged in the past. "Santorum is trying to prove that voter enthusiasm trumps organization." We'll see.
"Santorum's new quandary"

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