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4 ways Rick Santorum can hang onto his momentum
The Pennsylvania conservative shocked the political world Tuesday by proving he could beat Mitt Romney. And beat him. And beat him. Can Santorum keep it up?
After his trio of victories on Tuesday, Rick Santorum's campaign quickly raised nearly $1 million.
After his trio of victories on Tuesday, Rick Santorum's campaign quickly raised nearly $1 million.
Vernon Bryant/Dallas Morning News/Corbis
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ick Santorum roared back into the Republican presidential race on Tuesday with a stunning sweep of contests in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri. Santorum spent Wednesday raising money and brainstorming ways to build on his momentum — and avoid a replay of Iowa, where his win produced only the smallest and short-lived of bumps. "We are smart enough to know that this is no time to celebrate," senior Santorum strategist John Brabender tells The Washington Post. Facing a much better-funded, better-organized rival in Mitt Romney, and a tenacious splitter of the conservative vote in Newt Gingrich, what can Santorum really do to keep Tuesday's magic alive? Here, four ideas:

1. Santorum needs to raise serious cash
"Not to rain on Rick Santorum's parade, but the man needs help from Wall Street or Big Gambling and he needs it quick," says Jackie Koszczuk at National Journal. Santorum is "just about broke," and so is his super PAC. Sure, he raised $1 million after Tuesday's victories, "but it will take a wholesale change in Santorum's operation to turn things around." And that means the kind of cash only a "sugar daddy" can provide. You can bet Romney will throw the kitchen sink at Santorum, says Alexis Levinson at The Daily Caller. "If Santorum cannot raise enough money to counter that," he'll wither under Romney's attacks, just like Gingrich did.

2. He should use free media to his advantage
Assuming he can't match Romney's war chest, Santorum could use TV appearances to make up for his lack of campaign commercials. He started that effort on Wednesday, using interviews with Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC to savage Romney as an unprincipled "Mr. Big Government." There's not another TV debate until Feb. 22, but Santorum will get a crucial, free speaking platform at this weekend's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), says Jason Johnson at Politic365. "If Santorum can wow the crowd and heavy hitting donors" at CPAC, "he can essentially control the narrative of the race until the next debate."

3. He should show off his culture warrior bona fides
"Santorum is outspoken regarding his Catholic faith," and he's been a "tireless worker on behalf of cultural issues" important to the GOP base, says Matt Lewis at The Daily Caller. This is the perfect moment for him to highlight those assets. Abortion provider Planned Parenthood is in the news for tangling with a breast-cancer charity, California's gay-marriage ban was just struck down, and "Catholics (arguably the swing vote in America) are coming under fire" from Obama over a mandate requiring religious institutions to provide employees with insurance coverage for contraception. Santorum should "lead the effort to push back" against Obama's "attack on the Catholic Church," says Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post. "Lead a march. Hold a multi-faith gathering" — anything to "show he can lead and not simply give a good speech."

4. Santorum needs to pick his states very carefully
Santorum succeeded on Tuesday because he showed up to campaign while his rivals depended on ads or simply wrote states off as unimportant. Going forward, says John Brabender, Santorum's strategist, "we have to pick our battles." So far, those battles seem to be states where Santorum's blue-collar roots will trump Romney's blue-blooded wealth: Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, and maybe even Newt's native Georgia. Alternatively, Santorum might be better off emulating "Barack Obama in 2008, who steadily and quietly siphoned off support in smaller states while Hillary Clinton targeted the larger ones," says Michael Wissot in Britain's The Guardian.

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