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Santorum: I’m More Electable Than Romney, Paul Santorum: I’m More Electable Than Romney, Paul Santorum: I’m More Electable Than Romney, Paul Santorum: I’m More Elec...

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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field / CAMPAIGN 2012

Santorum: I’m More Electable Than Romney, Paul

The former Pennsylvania senator attributes his new third-place stature in Iowa to his on-the-ground work in the state.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum is now in third place in Iowa, according to a new poll.(Chet Susslin)

December 28, 2011

Fresh from his sudden rise in an Iowa poll, Rick Santorum on Thursday had harsh words for the two Hawkeye State front-runners, contending that Rep. Ron Paul’s foreign policy would “leave an enormous void around the world” and that Mitt Romney has “been all over the map” on too many issues.

Less than a week before Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses, a CNN/Time/ORC poll showed Santorum in third place with 16 percent, with Romney at 25 percent and Paul at 22 percent. The poll saw Santorum gaining considerable ground while Newt Gingrich, who had previously led in the state, saw his support collapse to 14 percent.

In an interview on CNN, Santorum attributed his new status to his dogged  visiting of all 99 Iowa counties to compensate for a lack of money and organizational support. “Hard work pays off,” he said.

 

He said that Paul, who is seen as having the best organization in the state, has given too many voters pause with his laissez-faire foreign policy views, which include withdrawing troops at U.S. bases abroad.

“My concern is that Ron Paul would walk in there, day one, pull our troops back and leave an enormous void around the world,” Santorum said. “He can do that day one without congressional approval. He can, as commander-in-chief, move our troops anywhere in the world, disengage from every place from Europe to the Middle East, China; abandon the Straits of Hormuz, pull the Fifth Fleet back.”

Meanwhile, the former Pennsylvania senator said, Romney has not been consistently conservative. He cited the former Massachusetts governor’s views on overhauling health care and cap-and-trade proposals aimed at reducing greenhouse gases. “There's a whole laundry list of issues where Mitt's been all over the map,” he said.

Although Romney is often described as the Republican most likely to win over Democratic and independent voters in a general election, Santorum said Romney has never won an election in which he campaigned as a conservative and went after those crucial voting blocs.

“I've run as a conservative in a blue state of Pennsylvania and won two elections,” Santorum said. “Yes, I lost one in an election year where everybody lost [2006], but in the election years that were contested, that are going to be more like 2012 than 2006, those are the elections I won in Pennsylvania, and we can win them again.”

Santorum also took a swipe at Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Rep. Michele Bachmann, both of whom have played up their “outsider” status in being eager to take on the Washington establishment.

“What we've seen is experience is a valuable thing,” he said. “We had the president, who came in with little experience.… If you look at the track record, I got a lot of things done when we were in the Senate.” He added that even though he disagrees with the policies of President Lyndon Johnson –- a former Senate majority leader –- he said Johnson was “a pretty effective president. He was able to understand the dynamics.”

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