KEOKUK, Iowa.Â Rick Santorum's flagging campaign for the Republican presidential nominationÂ got a boost yesterday when Earl Schnarlz, President of Schnarlz's Feed, Grain and Farm Implements here,Â announced that he was endorsing the former PennsylvaniaÂ governor or senator, he wasn't sure which.
Santorum:Â "You know, Stephen Colbert's schtickÂ is like a total rip-off of me."
"We need Rick Santorum in Washington," Schnarlz announced at a hastily-called press conference.Â "He's been hanging around my dealership for weeks, even after I told him the free coffee and donuts were for customers, not politicians."
Santorum has lagged in the polls as primary voters have been turned off by his mixed message of intelligent design, gay-bashing and opposition to the National Weather Service.Â "Help me out," said Bob Schieffer, host of "Face the Nation," to Santorum.Â "I'm looking for a theme here."
"Everybody talks about the weather--you're proposing to actually do something about it?"
"That's just like you mainstream media types with your ingrained bias," Santorum shot back.Â "Always trying to tie me to positions I've taken in the past."
Santorum's campaign has been hamstrung by a $2,500 settlement it paid toÂ dispose ofÂ claims brought byÂ four young women who were ejected from a bookstore where Santorum was scheduled for a book signing after they were overheard expressing opinions critical of the senator.Â "We only budgeted a couple hundred dollars for stupid litigation costs," said Iowa Chief of Staff Clint Murtaugh.Â "There was a big backlash fromÂ nerdy guys who cruise bookstores looking for MENSA babes."
Crowd of reporters assembles for photo-op.
When asked by reporters why he decided to endorse Santorum, who has been largely passed over by Iowa media and politicians in favor of other candidates, Schnarlz was unapologetic.Â "Lots of candidates ask for my support," he said as he hefted a fifty-pound bag of lespedeza seed onto a pallet.Â "Rick's the only one who promised to wear a baseball cap with the name of my store on it."