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The Gazette KCRG
Posted January 2, 2012
Santorum says spot in top three would be “a good finish”

Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum greets supporters during a campaign stop at the Rising Sun Cafe, Monday, Jan. 2, 2012, in Polk City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

 

POLK CITY – GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum told an overflow crowd Monday that he is surging in the polls because Iowans “are doing their homework” and liking his ideas for charting a new course via a business friendly, limited government rather than listening to the political naysayers who doubt he can win the GOP nomination or defeat Democrat Barack Obama this fall.

Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator who has moved to top echelon of the 2012 Republican field heading into Tuesday’s lead-off Iowa caucuses, exhorted an overflow crowd of supporters and media at the Reising Sun Café to “be bold, step forward” in casting a vote for his candidacy at one of the 1,774 precincts where Iowans will gather to make their choices for president.

“I’m inclined to vote for Sen. Santorum. I think he’s the whole package,” said Brian Charron, 62, a Polk City registered nurse who was still undecided when he arrived at Monday’s campaign event. His wife, Marilyn, also said Santorum won her over with his speech and his answers to some wide-ranging questions.

Santorum said he is seeing that scene repeat itself as he making his closing argument to prospective caucus-goers.

“We feel very good about how things are going,” Santorum told reporters outside the Polk City venue, noting he stood at about 5 percent in public opinion polls 10 days ago. “There were a lot of people who came here undecided and we did move them. That’s what you’re looking for. You’re looking for that momentum. Caucuses are about intensity and momentum and I’m hopeful that what you’re seeing here is a lot of momentum and intensity and if we can finish in the top three, that’s a good finish for us.”

Addressing a crowd where media outnumbered Iowans, Santorum outlined his views on health care, bureaucratic overregulation, illegal immigration and tax policy – taking a dig at rival Texas Gov. Rick Perry by quickly ticking off the five deductions he would allow under his plan to lower individual income tax rates and then saying “You notice I didn’t hesitate on any of the five – I’m just saying.”

Santorum also fired a shot at Perry’s executive resume, saying: “We’re not looking for a chief executive officer for this country, we’re looking for a commander in chief.”

The Perry campaign fired back at Santorum on Monday, issuing an online ad called “Rick Santorum – Unelectable,” which highlighting the former senator’s record of supporting government earmarks during his years in Congress.

“Rick Santorum, a 16-year member of Congress, says he’s ‘very proud’ of the earmarks he supported,” said Perry campaign spokesman Ray Sullivan. “Americans won’t elect a Washington insider who will burden our children with even more debt to pay for pet projects like ‘teapot museums’ and ‘sheep institutes.’ Gov. Perry signed six balanced state budgets and is the only Texas governor to cut state spending since World War II. As president, Gov. Perry will restore fiscal responsibility by capping government spending, banning earmarks and balancing the budget by 2020.”

Santorum countered that as Texas governor, Perry has hired lobbyists “to fleece America” using the same earmark process he is criticizing in the online attack ad

At his Polk City event, Santorum also took digs at the media,, telling the Iowans in attendance “Do not defer your judgment to the pundits and to the polls. There’s a lot of pundits who are here and that’s why they’re not clapping. And by the way they weren’t here last week. They haven’t been at our town hall meetings and they haven’t been talking to Iowans very much. They talk to each other.”

Santorum, who noted the Polk City stop was his 367th town hall meeting as one of only two candidates to visit all 99 Iowa counties, said his Web site traffic has picked up in the last two or three weeks and his fundraising has picked up since he landed some key endorsement from leading social and evangelical conservatives in Iowa and tapped into the network that helped spur former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to an upset caucus victory four years ago.

“I know that a lot of pundits are going to write — whether it’s true or not, and I don’t think it is – they’re going to write, well, Rick Santorum is winning because of his social conservatism, which you’ve heard me talk a lot about this morning, that he’s going to win because of all of these rubes in Iowa who just care about babies and guns. The bottom line is the people of Iowa care about all of the issues,” he told the Polk City crowd.

U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, continues to be neutral in the 2012 caucus season, but told a CBS-TV interviewer that Santorum “has worked this state hard and I believe he will be rewarded tomorrow night.”

Santorum said his sudden rise could be attributed to “the people of Iowa doing their homework.”

“We were able to put this campaign together and do it on the basis of ideas and a track record,” he told reporters. “Elections aren’t about money anymore. Elections are about ideas and you can get a lot of information to a lot of voters right now without jamming the airwaves. I believe we showed that in this state.”

One Response to Santorum says spot in top three would be “a good finish”

  1. “Elections aren’t about money anymore. Elections are about ideas and you can get a lot of information to a lot of voters right now without jamming the airwaves. I believe we showed that in this state.”

    I really hope he is right about that, but more voters have to become willing to look beyond their TVs.

    Too many voters only consider the candidates placed right in front of them by the mainstream corporate-owned media, even though those candidates made themselves visible by taking legal bribes (campaign contributions). And then they complain about how the politicians they elect answer to the people whose money made those candidates visible.

    We should take the time to search for alternative candidates.

    I hate it when people dismiss a candidate early in the election cycle by saying “he can’t win”. We’re supposed to vote according to our beliefs. We limit our options if we look at who other people support, and on that basis join in to support one of those candidates. This should not be a popularity contest where we are afraid of backing a less widely chosen person.

    Some of us are not content to accept only candidates whom the influential people (whoever they are) say have a chance, nor to abandon those who allegedly have no chance. Some of us will not accept the usual bought-by-corporate-interests candidates who are presumed (so early in the campaign) by the corporate media to have the best chance of winning. ANY candidate has a chance of winning the Presidency if enough of we voters choose that person. The people we see on TV say who can win, but really WE decide.

    I hope Santorum and Ron Paul persist, despite being dismissed or ignored by the major media.

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