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Rick Santorum's Sweaters Are Now A Thing, Because Reporters In Iowa Are Bored

Santorum Has A Sweater On

First Posted: 01/03/12 12:22 PM ET Updated: 01/03/12 12:24 PM ET

In the clearest sign that all of the reporters in Iowa have run out of local Iowa culinary fare to take Instagrams of and are now just bored in the waning hours before caucusgoers actually start voting, Rick Santorum is now getting a lot of attention for -- uhm ... wearing sweater vests. Yes, that's right. The New York Times insists that Santorum's sweater vests are "turning heads."

I suspect, however, that his vests aren't so much causing heads to swivel as much as they are receiving attention from reporters who are staring right at the candidate, and thinking, "Wow, covering Rick Santorum is pretty much what we expected it to be like back when we weren't covering Rick Santorum because we weren't taking him very seriously. Where's the shining, bouncing ball with this guy? Let's just say it's his sweaters." And now, Santorum's sweaters are receiving more coverage than, say, the homeless population of Des Moines.

All of this began when Santorum wore a sweater vest to a forum hosted by Mike Huckabee, where everyone else was wearing a suit, and someone created a Twitter account called @FearRicksVest. Then two weeks passed with no one remarking on any of this until Karin Tanabe wrote an item about it for Politico's "Click" section. We made a joke about it in the Speculatron, figuring that would be the last anyone would talk about it. But we were wrong, because yesterday, The New York Times decided they'd own this story.

And they've given a lot of thought to the variable utility of certain styles of sweater:

Crewnecks, with their neck-hugging collars, aren’t suitable for stuffy rooms crammed with voters who have little respect for personal space. Cardigans? Not his thing.

Mr. Santorum prefers the sweater vest, that sensible, traditional choice of grandfathers and college football coaches. He owns them in navy blue, gray and tan, which he sported here on Monday for a voter meet-and-greet. Sensing they were seeing a political fashion statement in the making, members of his staff recently ordered vests embroidered with the Santorum campaign logo.

The Times goes on to blow the lid off the story that other candidates have worn different clothes, at different times in American history.

We've since learned, in a followup "Click" item, that Santorum wears the sweater vests because he thinks it helps him look like "an elder statesman." As Politico reports, "Santorum, 53, pointed out that a man in Iowa guessed he was 32." Humblebrag!

At any rate, the original report on Santorum's sweater vests also noted that he has an affinity for turtlenecks, so there's a potentially equally irrelevant story in Iowa that the media are just ignoring.

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