America

Santorum's Wins: Huge? Meaningless? In Between?

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum celebrated his victories at a rally in St. Charles, Mo. i i

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum celebrated his victories at a rally in St. Charles, Mo. Whitney Curtis/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Whitney Curtis/Getty Images
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum celebrated his victories at a rally in St. Charles, Mo.

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum celebrated his victories at a rally in St. Charles, Mo.

Whitney Curtis/Getty Images

Last night "belonged to Rick Santorum, who went three-for-three in Tuesday's Republican contests," as Eyder wrote on It's All Politics very early this morning.

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The former Pennsylvania senator took first place in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri.

But as NPR Senior Washington Editor Ron Elving points out in a column that will be on It's All Politics later, Tuesday's caucuses and "beauty contest" (in Missouri) basically drew relatively tiny turnouts largely composed of conservatives who are very committed to Santorum and were willing to gather even if no delegates were at stake — not a cross-section of Republicans.

That's why, as Ron notes, some news outlets are using the world "meaningless" to describe Tuesday's outcomes.

Still, many of the morning-after analyses are looking at Santorum's wins as at least dealing a blow to front-runner Mitt Romney and potentially something more:

— Santorum "has dramatically resuscitated a campaign that was bordering on irrelevant," according to Politico.

— The former senator's victories are "a major boon to his previously floundering presidential campaign," says The Hill.

— Santorum "jolted the Republican presidential race Tuesday with a three-state sweep of nominating contests in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota, puncturing Mitt Romney's claim to be the unstoppable front-runner," The Wall Street Journal writes.

— "Santorum Revives Campaign," says The Washington Post's headline.

— "Another Twist For GOP As Santorum Fares Well," declares The New York Times.

Gawker captured the difficulty of figuring out what Tuesday's results mean even before the votes were in. "Tonight's Very Important Republican Races Are Also Very Unimportant," its headline read.

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