WKIM Radio Milwaukee:

Rick Santorum reiterated his challenge to debate Mitt Romney to talk about issues in key primary states Saturday afternoon, pointing to the debates held between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton during 2008 when they were the final contenders for the Democratic nomination.

“I’ve actually asked for debates with Governor Romney, one-on-one debates. This race has clearly gotten down to two candidates that can win the nomination and four years ago, when that happened with Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton, there was a series of one-on-one debates. I’d love to have a one-on-one debate,” Santorum told reporters in a media availability following a speech at the Defending the American Dream Summit.

Santorum first said he would like to have a one-on-one debate earlier this month in an interview with Jonathan Karl on This Week.

“I’d love to be able to get one-on-one with Governor Romney and expose the record that would be the weakest record we could possibly put up against Barack Obama,” said Santorum. “We can’t nominate such a weak candidate.”

Campaigning in the state ahead of the April 3rd primary here, Santorum called Wisconsin a “little hybrid of” Michigan, Ohio and Illinois, but wouldn’t acknowledge whether Wisconsin is a “must-win” state for him, instead directing attention to Romney’s win-loss record as he bears the marker of “inevitability.”

“You know what I keep hearing about these must win states for me. How about must win states for Romney,” Santorum said.

We don’t like to say it, but it recalls for us this passage in Antony & Cleopatra, where, defeated by sea, Antony challenges Octavius Caesar to single combat:

Antony. Is that his answer?

Euphronius. Ay, my lord. 2260

Antony. The queen shall then have courtesy, so she
Will yield us up.

Euphronius. He says so.

Antony. Let her know’t.
To the boy Caesar send this grizzled head, 2265
And he will fill thy wishes to the brim
With principalities.

Cleopatra. That head, my lord?

Antony. To him again: tell him he wears the rose
Of youth upon him; from which the world should note 2270
Something particular: his coin, ships, legions,
May be a coward’s; whose ministers would prevail
Under the service of a child as soon
As i’ the command of Caesar: I dare him therefore
To lay his gay comparisons apart, 2275
And answer me declined, sword against sword,
Ourselves alone. I’ll write it: follow me.

[Exeunt MARK ANTONY and EUPHRONIUS]

Domitius Enobarus. [Aside] Yes, like enough, high-battled Caesar will
Unstate his happiness, and be staged to the show, 2280
Against a sworder! I see men’s judgments are
A parcel of their fortunes; and things outward
Do draw the inward quality after them,
To suffer all alike. That he should dream,
Knowing all measures, the full Caesar will 2285
Answer his emptiness! Caesar, thou hast subdued
His judgment too.

[Enter an Attendant]

Attendant. A messenger from CAESAR.

Cleopatra. What, no more ceremony? See, my women! 2290
Against the blown rose may they stop their nose
That kneel’d unto the buds. Admit him, sir.

[Exit Attendant]

Domitius Enobarus. [Aside] Mine honesty and I begin to square.
The loyalty well held to fools does make 2295
Our faith mere folly: yet he that can endure
To follow with allegiance a fall’n lord
Does conquer him that did his master conquer
And earns a place i’ the story.

Antony & Cleopatra, Act III, sc. xiii