Santorum speaks to a potential voter on the phone at his campaign field office in Grand Rapids.
Mitt Romney’s campaign has convened a conference call this afternoon with frequent attack-dog John Sununu and a host of other surrogates to lay into Rick Santorum for recruiting Democrats in Michigan with robocalls.
The Romney supporters will call on Santorum to “stop teaming up with Democrats in future Republican contests,” but their attacks will be much more focused — and this will be a recurring message from the Romney campaign over the next few weeks.
“Operation Hilarity,” the Daily Kos-backed effort to turn out Democrats for Rick Santorum appeared to have failed — with just 9 percent of Michigan voters identifying as Democrats — but Santorum’s effort to play along with their fun has put a target on his back.
The Republican base, and certainly the Romney campaign, understands the need to appeal to moderate Democrats in November to defeat President Barack Obama, but that is not what Santorum was doing.
One astute reader sums it up nicely, though the real frustration is likely to come from the party’s rank-and-file:
“I think Romney folks are pissed because Santorum wasn’t looking for Scoop Jackson Democrats, he was looking Michael Moore Democrat votes last night. It wasn’t about building a coalition for November, it was just about beating Romney with voters who will never vote for a Republican come this November.”