Neither Santorum nor Romney really criticized, condemned, et cetera Limbaugh's verbal assault on Sandra Fluke. Santorum explained it as a piece of absurdist radio theater from an entertainer. Romney said that he would have chosen different words than what Limbaugh used ("lady of the night," perhaps?). That's it.
I set it out in my previous post, and whether it's true or not, there is a perception shared by both Limbaugh and by Republican presidential hopefuls that if a GOP presidential candidate gets on Rush's "bad side" in any way, then that GOP presidential candidate will lose. Limbaugh believes that he has this power. More importantly, the 2012 GOP candidates believe that Limbaugh has this power. Hence the exercise in apologetics on behalf of Limbaugh from Santorum, and the lack of criticism from Romney on the substance of Limbaugh's three days of vicious attacks on Fluke.
Rick Santorum's college-aged daughter is a campaign surrogate on Santorum's behalf. Mitt Romney's mother ran for the Senate from Michigan. Each of these men have or had close female family members engaged in the public discourse. That neither man was willing to go any further than criticize Limbaugh's choice in semantics in his assault on Fluke not only indicates Limbaugh's power within the Republican Party. That neither man was willing to criticize Limbaugh also indicates from each man a lack of family values and a lack of courage to stand up for those values.