Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: This will be a big week for presidential campaigns

Published: Sunday, Jan. 8 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

Webb: The difference is that Santorum's time in the spotlight came at the ideal time, giving him momentum to get to the next contest. If he unites conservatives as the Romney alternative, he could have staying power. But the Ron Paul supporters will never move to Santorum, and Santorum has not yet demonstrated he can stand the heat in the kitchen. Remember, in his last Senate election he couldn't even win his own state of Pennsylvania, which he speaks about with such great fondness. He lost by 17 points.

Pignanelli: Republicans have an inexhaustible supply of weird candidates. I have followed Santorum for years, and cannot believe Iowans launched this outcast from the fringe into any level of respectability. Once the Romney howitzers are turned on him, and expose his bizarre beliefs and statements, rational Republicans will ignore him.

Will the "wrath of Newt" hurt Romney, or is Gingrich just a bitter loser who is no longer a factor?

Pignanelli: Newt Gingrich is at his best in the pitbull mode. Although he cannot stop the nomination, Gingrich's large mouth and even bigger vocabulary will make Romney's life miserable for the next two months.

Webb: Gingrich as the angry, scorned spoiler isn't nearly as interesting as Gingrich the "big ideas" guy. His time in the spotlight has come and gone. It's sad to see his bitter collapse.

Republican LaVarr Webb is a political consultant and lobbyist. Previously he was policy deputy to Gov. Mike Leavitt and Deseret News managing editor. Email: lwebb@exoro.com. Democrat Frank Pignanelli is a Salt Lake attorney, lobbyist and political adviser. Pignanelli served 10 years in the Utah House of Representatives, six years as minority leader. His spouse, D'Arcy Dixon Pignanelli, is a state tax commissioner. Email: frankp@xmission.com.

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