Santorum robocall makes appeal to Michigan’s Democrats for votes

So, the “Consistent Conservative” is encouraging Democrat electoral mischief making (something that may well already be a factor in Mr. Santorum’s poll numbers in MI) in an effort to win a single state.  That doesn’t sound terribly conservative to me.  It sounds desperate and may well turn the MI election against him.  Here’s the article:

By Josh Katzenstein and Mark Hicks  The Detroit News

GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum hopes Michigan Democrats can help him earn a victory in Tuesday’s primary.

That’s right. The former Pennsylvania senator’s campaign paid for a robocall asking Democrats to vote for him in Tuesday’s primary.

Recent polls show chief rival and Michigan native Mitt Romney and Santorum virtually even heading into the primary.

“We know that if we can get a Reagan Democrat in the primary, we can get them in the fall,” said Hogan Gidley, communications director for Santorum. He confirmed the campaign paid for the call.

Political observers say the move is just another sign of how close the GOP race is — and a “logical ploy.”

As Santorum has done during numerous Michigan visits the past two weeks, the call attacked Romney’s stance on the auto bailouts, saying the former Massachusetts governor’s opposition “was a slap in the face” to Michigan workers, according to audio obtained by online political news outlet Talking Points Memo.

Santorum also opposed the auto bailout, but said his consistent stance against all bailouts, including the Wall Street bailout, sets him above Romney.

“Michigan Democrats can vote in the Republican primary on Tuesday,” said an unidentified man on the call, which Talking Points Memo said was left on someone’s answering machine in Trenton. “Why is it so important? Romney supported the bailout for his Wall Street billionaire buddies, but opposed the auto bailouts. That was a slap in the face to every Michigan worker, and we’re not going to let Romney get away with it. On Tuesday, join Democrats who are going to send a loud message to Massachusetts’ Mitt Romney by voting for Rick Santorum for president.

“This call is supported by hard-working Democratic men and women and paid for by Rick Santorum for president.”

Ryan Williams, a Romney spokesman, said it’s “outrageous that Rick Santorum is inviting Democrats into the Republican primary to vote against Mitt Romney. Rick Santorum has moved beyond just ‘taking one for the team’; he is now willing to wear the other team’s jersey if he thinks it will get him more votes.”

Gidley said the call was simply an effort to earn more votes. “In order to win the election in November, the Republican nominee will have to energize the conservative base and energize Reagan Democrats,” he said.

There’s no prohibition against voters casting a Republican ballot Tuesday and then choosing to vote in the Democratic primary for U.S. House and Senate in August.

Michigan voters don’t have to declare a party affiliation when they register, but the partisan primary ballot — Republican or Democrat — they chose this year will be public information, along with the voter’s name and address. Some election watchers expect it will squelch any organized crossover efforts.

Eric Foster, president of the Foster McCollum White & Associates consulting firm in Troy, said aiming to shore up support from Democrats is “a logical step” since Santorum has the potential to top Romney in several congressional districts.

“The potential… is definitely big,” Foster said. “It’s a logical ploy.”

According to the results of a poll released Monday night by Foster’s group and the Baydoun Consulting firm, Santorum and Romney were in a “statistical tie” among likely voters — 35.86 percent versus 37.90.

But if a backlash for reaching across the aisle doesn’t stall any momentum gained from the calls, the timing might, said Bill Ballenger, editor of “Inside Michigan Politics.”

That they didn’t go out until the day before the primary, “it’s probably too late” in swaying voters who have already decided, he said. “It might not make any difference.”

Regardless of the efforts, Ballenger said Romney might still have a lead among some Democrats and independents.

“He is actually the one who is perceived as the least objectionable Republican in the group,” he said.

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