Santorum Has Entered 'Walking Dead' Phase
Lashing out suggests the nomination battle is winding down: analyst
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2012 2:23 AM CDT
Updated Mar 27, 2012 4:31 AM CDT
Rick Santorum speaks in front of the Supreme Court yesterday.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(Newser) – The Rick Santorum who's been on the campaign trail lately is an angrier and testier fellow than we saw earlier in the race, but that's no surprise to people who have followed his political career, the Washington Post finds. The nice-guy persona is starting to slip away—as seen in his cursing out of a New York Times journalist over the weekend. But what's really jolting is how the "visceral, emotional, provocative" Santorum managed to remain disciplined over the last eight months, notes a political science professor from his home state of Pennsylvania.

Santorum became known as a hothead during his 12 years in Congress, sometimes scolding fellow Republicans and making inflammatory remarks like calling AmeriCorps a program "for hippie kids to stand around a campfire to hold hands and sing 'Kumbaya' at taxpayers' expense." Santorum losing his cool on the campaign trail as Romney's lead grows "suggests the nomination battle is effectively over," says a consultant who worked on John McCain's 2000 and 2008 campaigns. "The lashing out at the media and grasping at straws," he says, "are indicators we've entered the walking dead period."