But Mr. Santorum was unable to raise large amounts of money, like Mr. Perry, or command the attention of the national news media, like Mrs. Bachmann. Instead, he chose to campaign relentlessly on the stump, travelling from town to town, not in a campaign bus, but in a Dodge Ram pickup.

By his count, the event Wednesday night in Cedar Rapids was his 357th town hall meeting in Iowa this year. Thursday’s made 358.

At that 358th event, the news media was out in force to cover the campaign. He appeared on the “Today” show on NBC and practically had to fight his way through a crush of cameras as he was leaving the Coralville event.

Should Santorum “win” Iowa, whatever that means (third place?), what becomes of this “theory” (which we’ve written about) of a “national” campaign this cycle?

Erika Fry is a former assistant editor at CJR.