Rick Santorum doesn’t sleep; he waits.

“We’ve seen with this president, experience matters,” former Sen. Rick Santorum told the audience at the Value Voters Summit on Friday. “When that phone call comes at three o’clock in the morning, I will be up and ready for the call because I will know what’s going on in the world around us.”

Hmm. I thought the whole point of the increasingly-silly “3 a.m. test” is understanding whether a leader has the judgment and wherewithal to respond effectively in the event of a crisis. I also think President Obama has proven himself quite adept in this department. Can even the most rabid, unhinged conservative think of an instance in which a crisis arose and Obama wasn’t ready to address it?

For that matter, Santorum “will be up” when “that phone call comes at three o’clock in the morning”? Why? Shouldn’t he be asleep at 3 a.m.?

The former senator thinks he’ll be awake because he’ll be up on current events. That’s very nice, but I think the purpose of the 3 a.m. exercise is to consider what a president would do when he or she is caught off guard with an unexpected development.

I get the sense Santorum is having a conversation with voters that only he understands.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.