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    Romney campaign slams Santorum on ballots

    Rick Santorum didn’t file complete slates of delegates in Tennessee or Ohio, and he didn’t get on the ballot in Virginia or the District of Columbia.
    Mario Tama/Getty Images
    Rick Santorum didn’t file complete slates of delegates in Tennessee or Ohio, and he didn’t get on the ballot in Virginia or the District of Columbia.

    BEAVERCREEK, Ohio - Mitt Romney’s campaign yesterday hammered away at Rick Santorum for not meeting all of the ballot requirements ahead of Super Tuesday, saying the former Pennsylvania senator had “flunked’’ a test of organizational strength.

    Top Romney advisers said the fact that Santorum didn’t meet some of the basic tasks required to get on ballots or ensure he receives all of the delegates he wins should give Republican primary voters pause.

    Santorum didn’t file complete slates of delegates in Tennessee or Ohio, and he didn’t get on the ballot in Virginia or the District of Columbia.

    “That basic organizational test that you’re going to have to have to battle President Obama is a test that Rick Santorum and his campaign have flunked,’’ Ben Ginsburg, chief legal counsel for the Romney campaign, said.

    Rich Beeson, the campaign’s political director, also sent out a memo saying that of the 391 bound delegates at stake in Tuesday’s elections, Santorum is down 64 delegates

    Beeson argued that means not only is Santorum unprepared to take on Obama, but that he won’t be able to catch up with Romney to win the nomination.

    “The Santorum campaign will be looking at a significant deficit to Governor Romney in bound delegates and no realistic hope of closing that gap,’’ Beeson wrote. “The combination of proportional allocation and his regional weaknesses are going to make it virtually impossible for him catch up to Governor Romney in delegates, let alone ever get to 1,144.’’

    Romney held a town hall yesterday in this community outside Dayton, and near the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

    Romney began the event with a moment of silence, for those whose were affected by tornadoes in the South and Midwest.

    He was joined by Senator Rob Portman and New York Jets center Nick Mangold, a former star at Ohio State University.

    Amid at least four standing ovations from the boisterous crowd, there were shouts of “Amen,’’ “Yes!’’ and “That’s right.’’

    “You guys are great!’’ Romney said at one point. “This is like an Ohio State football game!’’

    Midway through the meeting, a woman rose to ask Romney a question. Vicki Church, a 54-year-old independent, said her daughter was serving in the 82d Airborne division in Afghanistan’s Bagram Air Base. She said it’s her second deployment, and it’s twice as hard.

    “Every e-mail, every time we Skype, we heard, ‘I want to come home now, there is no mission here,’ ’’ Church told Romney.

    “How in the world can the commander in chief sleep at night knowing that we have soldiers in harm’s way that don’t know exactly, precisely, what it is that they’re doing there?’’ Romney asked. “Let me tell you this. I know why we’re involved in Afghanistan.’’

    Romney said he hoped that troops will come home “as soon as humanly possible,’’ after passing along to Afghanistan “a security force that is capable of maintaining the sovereignty of that nation.’’

    Romney also sought several times to relate to the crowd about their shared skepticism of the government. “We’re human beings,’’ Romney said. “It’s not too much to ask: We expect Washington to try and solve problems - make things better.’’ — MATT VISER

    Limbaugh issues apology for calling student a ‘slut’

    WASHINGTON - Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh apologized yesterday to a Georgetown University law student he had branded a “slut’’ and “prostitute’’ after fellow Republicans as well as Democrats criticized him and several advertisers left his program.

    The student, Sandra Fluke, had testified to congressional Democrats in support of their health care policy that would compel her college to offer health plans that cover her birth control.

    “My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir,’’ Limbaugh said on his website. “I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.’’

    Attempts to reach Fluke were unsuccessful. Fluke had been invited to testify to a House committee about her school’s health care plan. Republican lawmakers barred her from testifying during that hearing, but Democrats invited her back and she spoke to Democratic lawmakers at an unofficial session.

    Limbaugh was not swayed by Fluke’s statements.

    He said on Wednesday, “What does it say about the college coed . . . who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex.’’

    He dug in a day later, refusing to give ground. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Romney gets choked up at Huckabee forum

    Mitt Romney got a little choked up during a presidential forum yesterday in Ohio. He was quizzed by two citizens: one whose son died in Iraq and one whose son was injured in Afghanistan.

    “We need to recognize that those who serve this country in uniform have a special place in our hearts,’’ he said. His voice seemed to crack at one point.

    The forum, hosted by former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, was aired on Fox News. — WASHINGTON POST