Not to rain on Rick Santorum’s parade, but Mitt Romney’s campaign was unusually on the level when it dismissed Santorum’s victories in the Deep South on Tuesday night.

The former senator’s winning two pluralities by a few percentage points is not a sign that Romney’s candidacy is in trouble. Put it this way: Romney came in third in both states and he’s going to end up in those two states with a combined 10 delegates fewer than Santorum, by CNN’s count. And that’s in the Deep South, where the socially conservative (can we just replace that term with “hates gays, isn’t thrilled with women or brown people”?) Santorum always had the advantage. In fact, CNN estimates that after the votes are tallied in Hawaii, Romney will emerge with “the same 246-delegate margin that CNN estimated he had before Tuesday’s results.”

Santorum and his anti-Romney wingman, Newt Gingrich, are trying to collect as many delegates as they can scrape together in order to make life hell for Romney at the Republican convention in Tampa Bay, Fla. Santorum even thinks he can somehow win the nomination that way. Hey, anything’s possible, but Romney and his aides are not wrong when they say that’s extremely unlikely.

Besides, CNN isn’t going to cancel this reality TV show, and neither are we. On to Puerto Rico (Sunday), Illinois (Tuesday), Missouri and Louisiana (next Saturday)! — PZS

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