Santorum calls Romney “desperate,” downplays wins

February 13, 2012

Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum on Sunday called recent attacks by his rival Mitt Romney “desperate,” as the two face off in an increasingly contentious battle to become the party’s White House nominee.

Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania and social conservative known for his staunch positions on abortion and gay marriage, is competing to be the conservative alternative to Romney, who faces resistance from Republicans skeptical of moderate stances he took when he was governor of the liberal state of Massachusetts.

Asked about Romney’s recent efforts to highlight times when Santorum sided with Democrats while in Congress, including votes to raise the federal debt ceiling, Santorum appeared amused.

“For him to suggest that I’m not the conservative in this race, you know, you reach a point where desperate people do desperate things,” Santorum said on ABC’s “This Week.” He also downplayed recent victories for Romney, who won the nonbinding Maine caucuses as well as a straw poll at a major conservative conference in Washington over the weekend.

Santorum also suggested Romney won Saturday’s Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll by busing in supporters and giving them tickets.

“I don’t try to rig straw polls,” he told CNN. When asked if he thought Romney rigged the CPAC vote, Santorum said, “Well, you have to talk to the Romney campaign and how many tickets they bought. We’ve heard all sorts of things.”

The straw poll was conducted among CPAC attendees, a group of party activists from across the country. It is strictly symbolic but does show Romney’s organizational strength and demonstrate he is capable of appealing to conservatives who have lacked enthusiasm for him.

Santorum and Romney have increasingly focused on each other since Santorum emerged as a viable challenger to front-runner Romney. Santorum swept nominating contests in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado last week, after having narrowly won the Iowa caucuses in January.

Santorum’s campaign has accused Romney of authoring “Obamacare” for passing state health care legislation that eventually served as a model for Obama’s controversial health care reform. Romney has repeatedly said that if elected president he would repeal it.

Watch Santorum’s comments, via ABC:
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Photo Credit: REUTERS/Sarah Conard (Santorum gives a ‘thumbs up’ at  primary night rally in St. Charles, Missouri)

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Thank you republican party for making it easy for our President to win, AGAIN! you guys are i_iots!

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