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Newt is Right: Santorum is Better Off With Gingrich in the Race

Newt is Right: Santorum is Better Off With Gingrich in the Race; Obama Faces Mounting Pressure on Foreign Policy

Poll Shows Santorum and Gingrich Work Better Together Blocking and Bleeding Romney

"If we keep winning races, eventually people are going to figure out that Gov. Romney is not going to be the nominee.”

-- Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum talking to reporters in San Juan, Puerto Rico

“We don't have anything like the kind of money that Gov. Romney has. I understand he's going back for two more days of fundraising on Wall Street, which is in part at least a sign that Santorum and I have drained most of his current treasury.”

-- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich campaigning in Rosemont, Ill.

The latest FOX News poll of Republican voters supports Newt Gingrich’s strange-sounding assertion that his presence in the race is actually a benefit to rival Rick Santorum.

Gingrich casts the advantage to Santorum in a tactical sense, saying that the two of them together divide Romney’s attention and bleed the Republican frontrunner of his money. Gingrich argues that Romney’s success is attributable to negative ads and out-spending that cannot be replicated in a general election and so, therefore he should be bled and blocked so that someone else can get the nomination at the end of August.

Santorum supporters have argued that the time has long since come for Gingrich to drop out of the race so that Santorum can unite the right and defeat Romney outright before the convention.

But with Romney so far ahead on delegates, Santorum would need to win 66 percent of the remaining delegates to win, a tough task for someone who has won only 27 percent so far. Even if he had won all of the delegates Gingrich had won so far, Santorum would only have 41 percent of the total, still 12 percent behind Romney.

The poll suggests, though, that the reality of a Gingrich-less race might not even be as good as that for Santorum.

Gingrich polls at 13 percent in the latest survey, one point better than Texas Rep. Ron Paul, 19 points behind Santorum and 25 points behind frontrunner Romney.

But when asked how they would vote without Gingrich in the race, the former speaker’s supporters don’t all shift to Santorum. Out of Gingrich’s 13 percent, Santorum gets 7 percent, but Romney gets 5 percent. Paul gets a point too.

While Santorum would move up, Romney would be pushed even closer to the finish line. Remember, for Santorum to win, Romney would need to collapse and start winning fewer delegates, not more. The FOX poll reflects what was first shown in the Wall Street Journal survey earlier this month: Romney is now beating the top Not Romney in head-to-head matchups.

But with Gingrich in the race, Santorum has a better hope of denying Romney a victory. The two of them can hunt Romney in tandem, possibly bringing him down. This would require a truce between Gingrich and Santorum that would expire at the end of June once Romney had been stopped and drained of all his money.

Of course all that assumes that Gingrich can keep his supporters anyway. Gingrich is down 9 points since last month and just lost two home games to Santorum in Mississippi and Alabama. There’s reason to believe that voters will continue to flee Gingrich whatever argument he makes about stopping Romney.

But if enough are willing to stick with him, he and Santorum could keep blocking and bleeding Romney until no one could win the nomination before Tampa.


Obama’s Foreign Policy Message: Stay the Course

“This is a hard slog. This is hard work. When I came into office, there had been drift in the Afghan strategy, in part because we had spent a lot of time focusing on Iraq instead. Over the last three years, we have refocused attention on getting Afghanistan right. Would my preference have been that we started some of that earlier? Absolutely. But that's not the cards that we're dealt.”

-- President Obama in a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

One of the main reasons for President Obama’s recent swoon in the polls has been American frustration with his foreign policy.

Obama has sought a compromise foreign policy with items to appeal to hawks and doves, lefties and righties. But what he’s ended up with is a hodgepodge with something for everyone to dislike.

The most urgent problem for the president is Afghanistan, where things have now gotten so bad that a group of U.S. Marines was disarmed before a meeting with their Secretary of Defense. The stated reason was that if the Marines were armed it would belittle their unarmed Afghan allies, who cannot be trusted with guns around high-value American friends/targets. But the apparent fear was that someone would kill somebody if the Marines had weapons. When the security of the Pentagon chief can’t be assured in a room full of well-armed Marines, things have gotten pretty bad.

The ongoing slide in the Afghan war hurts Obama on the left and right since liberals never supported either of his troop surges and conservatives disagreed with the conditions he put on them. Both sides believe they have been proven right by the series of reversals for Obama’s nation-building war.

But Obama can’t flee right now since a hasty retreat would be the ultimate admission of the failure of his war plan. We hear instead on an almost daily basis the latest recalibration of the war plan. Still on track for 2014 withdrawal, you see, only the Afghans are going to step up sooner and start taking over their own defense. One gets the sense that the mission will keep changing until the administration finds one that the president can say has been achieved.

Meanwhile, Obama’s foreign policy base, the Clintonian interventionists, has watched in horror as the Syrian rebels have been slaughtered for week after week. The “duty to protect” crew that had been so enamored of Obama when he followed the lead of Europeans to bomb Libya and depose Muammar al Qaddafi now sees near-daily civilian massacres at the hands of Bashar al-Assad.

But Obama can’t afford to get the U.S. into a fresh war, even if it’s leadership from behind. The Libyan adventure was unpopular with voters from the start. And the rise of Islamist radicals there and in other nations, especially Egypt, has created a strong impression that the president has misplayed the Arab Spring.

Assad, a client of the mullahs in Tehran, is being told that he will one day face justice in The Hague but is currently still free to kill the members of the oppressed religious majority of his country. Meanwhile, former U.S. clients like Quaddafi and Mubarak, who merely menaced protesters, are dead or in the dock.

Iran, meanwhile, continues playing for time on its nuclear program, knowing that if it can just sneak its way into the nuclear club it will be able to act with even greater impunity against the U.S. and our allies in Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Gas prices factor in, since the ongoing unrest in the region helps drive up prices and, in turn, reminds Americans how much they dislike being involved with the worst neighborhood in the world.

In the face of all this, the president, whose current political obsession is with high energy prices, is trying to keep gasoline as a domestic issue. When Obama talks about gasoline, as he does every day, it is to laud environmentally friendly alternative fuels and to attack Republicans for not allowing the tax increases needed to pay for them.

Obama will eventually tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and, as he did last year, seek a coordinated push from America’s Western allies. It acts as a short-term subsidy for American drivers, and if timed correctly, could temporarily boost the sputtery economy and diminish voter angst ahead of November. (What a remarkable power to give an American politician: the ability to give away free gasoline before an election!)

But as to the problems in the Middle East and the slog in Afghanistan, Obama says only that we will have to stay the course. In Iran and Syria, keep talking. In Afghanistan, keep up the war. Changing course, even a bad one, is risky so close to an election. So Obama’s plan looks to be putting on his blinkers, dragging forward and, of course, hoisting high the bloody bed shirt of Usama bin Laden.


And Now, A Word From Charles

“$2.5 trillion. Think about that. It means on the average every year, again until the end of time, we are going to at least a quarter of a trillion dollars in entitlement spending onto a deficit that America already has, already was crushing us in the absence of Obamacare.”

-- Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier.”


Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News, and his POWER PLAY column appears Monday-Friday on FoxNews.com.

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as digital politics editor based in Washington, D.C.  Additionally, he authors the daily "Fox News First” political news note and hosts “Power Play,” a feature video series, on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on the network, including "The Kelly File," "Special Report with Bret Baier," and "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.”  He also provides expert political analysis for Fox News coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.