Mitt's in trouble now; Santorum will be later

Mitt Romney is in trouble in Michigan, no matter how you shake it. As I wrote in my column, all his advantages there create incredible pressure for victory, making it almost impossible to explain away a defeat by Rick Santorum. It would lead to additional losses on Super Tuesday a week later, possibly in the critical bellwether of Ohio, where Santorum now leads in some polls.

But Santorum has problems on contraception, no matter how you shake that. Forget Foster Freiss and his prescription for Bayer aspirin to prevent pregnancy. The goofy comments by the pro-Santorum super-PAC funder have nothing to do with the candidate. But Santorum's own comments on birth control do. Take a listen to what Santorum said in 2006 about contraceptives here. While Santorum makes it clear he doesn't vote against contraceptives but is personally opposed to birth control on religious grounds, he argues that they harm society and women. His reason? Birth control teaches teenage girls that they can have sex without pregnancy and there are no consequences to their actions.

This may not go over well with those married-but-still-having-sex voters, Catholics and non-Catholics alike. One conservative Republican wrote me yesterday to tell me he had watched what Santorum said and he was toast in the general election. Put the chairs back in the wagon, it's over, he wrote.

That question is for another day, should Santorum reach the general election. Because primary voters don't care, and Romney can't use it against him.



WHO WINS MICHIGAN? Ask A.B. returns Wednesday Feb. 22. Please join my weekly video Q&A by sending your questions and comments to askab@thehill.com. Thank you.

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