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Rick Santorum
With Rick Santorum's radical views on the role of religion in public life under fire not just from those of us on the left but also Mitt Romney's allies in the Republican establishment, here's an easy prediction for tomorrow's debate: How Santorum handles the "are you a religious fanatic and/or would you govern as one?" question will define the debate.

Thanks to Newt Gingrich's famous outburst, John King might not have the guts to open the debate with that question, but there's no way he can avoid asking it without looking like a total idiot. When he does, if Santorum betrays even a hint of defensiveness in his answer, it could be a disaster for his candidacy. On the other hand, if he goes on the attack against his critics, it could send starbursts flying throughout the GOP and presage a mad rush to his candidacy like the one Gingrich experienced in South Carolina.

It's the question that everybody is going to want to hear Rick Santorum answer, and how he answers it could be the difference between the end of his surge—or the beginning of yet another wave of support for Santorum building up to Super Tuesday.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 11:41 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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