Rick Santorum: Sweater vests ‘gave me this power’

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Voters posed many questions to Rick Santorum during an event at the Beaufort Yacht & Sailing Club, where Spanish moss hung from trees and white boats bobbed on still water. But the one that made the audience sit up and listen wasn’t about healthcare or defense or taxes. It was about sweater vests.

“Senator, I’ve seen you on national TV,” asked a man, who was not, himself, wearing a sweater vest. “And I just have to ask – how many sweater vests do you own?”

Santorum, wearing a navy blue sweater vest with his name printed on the breast, chuckled, and let the audience know they could own one just like it. Then he launched into some history, at times drawing laughter, which is sometimes in short supply at campaign events. He wore a sweater vest, he explained, to an event in Iowa in which he performed particularly well. That event, he said, was one of the events that turned around his campaign in the Hawkeye State, helping him come in just eight votes behind front-runner Mitt Romney.

People commented on his vest after the event, he said, and “it sort of took a life of its own … and the vest gave me this power.” The next day, he wore another one, he said. Though he had only brought two sweater vests to Iowa, his aides went out and bought some more. “When you’re sitting at 2% in the polls, any recognition is a good thing — and the vest started getting me some recognition.”

Now, the vest has its own website and Twitter account, and the Santorum website started selling embroidered vests yesterday in exchange for a campaign donation. Santorum said his campaign has sold nearly 1,000. He plans to start selling an orange hunting vest as well — embroidered with the slogan “the right to bare arms.” Whether that was just a pun or a brilliant business plan was not readily apparent.

Continue reading this story from the LA Times here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.