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Politics

Santorum Camp Gives Press The Runaround

On primary day, the campaign's disorganization has reporters running across the state for naught.

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CHAPIN, South Carolina--Reporters planning to follow Rick Santorum were

frustrated today as the campaign changed his schedule not once but

twice and less than three hours before events were supposed to begin, the

second time without any warning.

Santorum's first event was supposed to be at 11:30 a.m., a visit to a

polling station in Chapin. Two hours beforehand -- when reporters

coming from, say, Charleston in the eastern part of the state were

already well en route -- the campaign sent out an email saying that

the first stop had been moved to 12:15 in Greenville.

BuzzFeed switched gears and arrived at the Baptist church where

Santorum was supposed to be in Greenville a few minutes before 12:15.

No sign of Santorum. According to a small crew of confused journalists

on the scene, the candidate had already been and gone.

"I arrived at 12:10 and he was already gone. He had left the

building," said Patrick Collard, a Greenville News photographer.

Fenfen Wang of China's Xinhua News Agency was confused by Santorum's

promptness. "Usually they're late," he said.

Santorum press secretary Hogan Gidley was apologetic about the mix-up.

"It's our bad," he told BuzzFeed. He said the mistake -- and the

failure to update the schedules in a timely manner -- was due to a

miscommunication between the team traveling with Santorum and the

press team. They got the candidate to the first polling station almost

an hour early by mistake.

"Rick is never early," Gidley said.

The next stop was in Chapin at 1:30 (the schedule said 2:30). BuzzFeed

could not arrive in time to catch the candidate after an hour and 20

minute drive from Greenville.

"He wasn't here for very long," another reporter at the polling

station in Chapin said by way of assurance.

Rosie Gray is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C. Gray reports on politics and foreign policy.

Contact Rosie Gray at rosie@buzzfeed.com.

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