Rick Santorum's Epic Meltdown With New York Times Reporter Jeff Zeleny: Is This His Howard Dean Moment?

One day after a decisive win in Louisiana that ultimate failed to change his status in the GOP primaries, a slightly disheveled Rick Santorum lost his temper with New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny. The former Pennsylvania Senator appeared agitated and in need of sleep. Campaigning for high office in America is more difficult than anywhere else in the world, and with Santorum, it is beginning to show. 

Zeleny asked Santorum for clarification on his comments about Governor Mitt Romney being the “worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama.” Santorum proceeded to then tell Zeleny that he was only speaking about Romney being the worst candidate in terms of health care, and then told him that if he saw the wrong quote in print that it would be “bull(expletive).”

The comparisons immediately started flying. In 2004, after a disappointing showing in the Iowa caucuses, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean attempted to hype up his supporters by letting loose a scream that sent chills down the spine of his campaign advisors, the mainstream media, and just about everyone else who heard it.

Dean was frustrated, and in an attempt to get his crowd on their feet, he destroyed any and all credibility he had left with a primal howl. This past Sunday, Senator Santorum may have just destroyed his with a pointed finger and a curse.

Footage from CBS This Morning


To err is human, but Americans do not expect their presidents to be human. They expect them to be presidential. When one holds the office that makes them the most powerful human being on the planet, that person can never be in a mood. It doesn’t look presidential. While the passion may drive some hardcore fans to donate more in a spur of the moment fundraising drive, it looks horrible to the majority of the nation. To be realistic, it matters a lot how one looks on television when American politics are concerned. Maybe it matters more than it should, but that doesn’t change the fact that it does.

Santorum may survive this and go on without getting completely slaughtered in the next few contests, but he is definitely in trouble. The former Pennsylvania Senator will need 74% of all remaining delegates to clinch the nomination. Given the fact that more and more conservatives both at the grassroots and establishment level seem to be coalescing around Romney, not to mention the impressive amount of money that Romney is raising, the odds may just be too great to overcome.

Even if Santorum did not have the equivalent of a Howard Dean moment on Sunday, he did nothing to help himself.  

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Jesse Merkel

Jesse currently works as a Content Engineer for HubShout, LLC. In the past, he wrote about the political scene in his hometown of Rochester, NY for Examiner.com. Prior to becoming a writer, Jesse worked as a professional guitarist and private music instructor for over seven and a half years, while also volunteering on several local and national political campaigns. These days, Jesse enjoys writing about music, movies and pop culture, and is a die hard Trekker.

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