After Iowa, Santorum Gets Cash and Scrutiny

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Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

A little more than a day after his surprising, close-second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, everything's changed for Rick Santorum.  Some of it he's surely happy about: The campaign raised more than $1 million yesterday, and online donations in a day topped those from the previous six months combined. Santorum is still far, far behind Mitt Romney in both cash and campaign infrastructure, but the cash is a signal that there are people who hope his Iowa victory is more than a fluke.

It's not just donations that have spiked for Santorum. So has media scrutiny of remarks like "I don't want to make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money." Santorum scrambled to explain away the controversy on The O'Reilly Factor. "I looked at that, and I didn't say that," he said. "If you look at it, what I started to say is a word and then sort of changed and it sort of — blah — came out. And people said I said 'black.' I didn't." Call it the Ke$ha defense.

He also tried the old "some of my best friends are black" defense. Oh, no, wait, he actually tried the "I interact with African-American people once a year" defense.

"And I can tell you, I don't use — I don't — first off, I don't use the term 'black' very often. I use the term 'African-American' more than I use 'black," Santorum said. "I can tell you as someone who did more work for historically black colleges, I used to have -- every year, I used to bring all the historically black colleges into Washington, DC to try to help them, because they get very little federal money through the bureaucracy, and so I help to try to introduce them to people in the Department of Education so they could have more resources."

So, wait, he tried to help make black people's lives better by getting them other people's money?

Santorum's record as a lawmaker has also been brought under the harsh klieg lights. A quick potpourri of things he'll be dinged for: voting to raise the debt ceiling, voting for the famed "bridge to nowhere" and other assorted pieces of pork, a very cozy relationship with lobbyists, and 2010 income from a "lobbying firm, an energy company engaged in controversial 'hydrofracking' and a hospital conglomerate that was sued for allegedly defrauding the federal government." His conservative styling, as the AP points out, is at odds with his voting record on federal programs like food stamps, No Child Left Behind, and Amtrak.  Still, Santorum insisted Monday that "I've [already] had the national media crawling up anywhere they could crawl, " and "This isn't my first rodeo." Giddyup!