Santorum reaches out … to Democrats

Updated
 

A couple of weeks ago, Markos Moulitsas launched “Operation Hilarity” on Daily Kos, urging activists on the left to “take an active role” in the Republican presidential nominating process. As Markos explained, several upcoming primaries and caucuses – including today’s closely-watched contest in Michigan – are open, meaning Democrats and independents can participate.

The message of “Operation Hilarity,” then, was pretty simple: progressive should “head out and cast a vote for Rick Santorum.” As the argument went, if Rush Limbaugh and the right can do it, so too can the left.

Santorum doesn’t seem to mind the mischief. On the contrary, he’s encouraging it.

Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign is actively seeking the support of Democrats in Tuesday’s Michigan primary, running a robocall that sounds oddly like one that would be run by an organized labor group.

“Michigan Democrats can vote in the Republican primary on Tuesday,” the narrator says in a copy of the automated call to Democratic voters that was initially obtained by Talking Points Memo. “Why is it so important? (Mitt) Romney supported the bailout for his Wall Street billionaire buddies, but opposed the auto bailout. That was a slap in the face to every Michigan worker. And we’re not going to let Romney get away with it.”

Here’s the audio, as first published by TPM:

The Santorum camp freely acknowledges its role in this push. “If we can get the Reagan Democrats in the primary, we can get them in the general,” Santorum spokesperson Hogan Gidley told TPM.

Team Romney is in high dudgeon, calling Santorum’s outreach to Democratic voters “outrageous.” That’s a predictable response, but Romney gave away the high ground on this issue quite a while ago – Romney personally voted in a Democratic primary in 1992, and insists his vote was part of a ploy to help the GOP face the weakest possible Democratic nominee.

Santorum, in other words, is simply encouraging Michigan voters to do what Mitt Romney has already done.

Santorum reaches out ... to Democrats

Updated