Huffpost Politics

Santorum Campaign Manager Has Few Regrets: 'We Liked Him The Way He Was'

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One of Rick Santorum's biggest and most consistent challenges was his lack of message discipline. But the former Pennsylvania senator's campaign manager said Tuesday evening that the campaign wouldn't have done much differently if they did it all over again.

"I think we liked him the way he was," Santorum's campaign manager, Mike Biundo, said in a phone interview. "I think we won 11 states because he was honest. You know, he was true to himself and true to the people that supported him. That was refreshing to a lot of folks and it's the reason why we gained so much traction out there."

Biundo said conflicting things about the degree to which he thought Santorum veered away from a politically advantageous message. He said Santorum was treated unfairly by the press, but acknowledged Santorum put authenticity and honesty ahead of poll-tested phrases and positions.

"A lot of things had come out and a lot of things had been said and it wasn't messages that he was necessarily driving. He was saying the same things on the stump that he was always saying but it would be a little thing here or a little thing there that somebody would grab onto and then they would try to make something out of it," Biundo said.

"He is a true believer in what he has to say. I think that sometimes for pundits and folks in the media it's different than what they are used to," Biundo continued. "He's not a teleprompter guy."

Biundo couldn't resist a subtle dig at Mitt Romney. He said Santorum family members are "real people."

"And I'd rather have that than somebody that's pre-programmed that always says the right thing," Biundo said.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, a big supporter of Santorum's, didn't hide his disdain for Romney.

"This is not the day to be talking about Romney, but you want to talk about message discipline?" DeWine told HuffPost. "If that was a problem with [Santorum], it was certainly a problem with others in this campaign."

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