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Santorum: Let Gingrich, Romney Destroy Each Other Santorum: Let Gingrich, Romney Destroy Each Other

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

Santorum: Let Gingrich, Romney Destroy Each Other

Candidate says he's content to stay out of battle, will campaign outside of Florida.

photo of Rebecca Kaplan
January 23, 2012

VENICE, Fla. – As Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich spend the opening days of this state's primary campaign pummeling each other in speeches and attack ads, Rick Santorum is in no hurry to pile on.

“Sometimes, sitting on the sidelines watching two people destroy each other creates an opportunity in and of itself,” Santorum told reporters on Monday as he toured PGT Manufacturing, a window-making plant here.

“As we saw in South Carolina, the race changed dramatically in a matter of days, in a week; and we’ve got better than a week here before the Florida vote and lets just see how this race starts to evolve. We’re here, we’re going to be talking about the issues that are important to the state of Florida, to the country.”

 

But the former senator from Pennsylvania isn’t putting all of his chips in the Florida basket. He told reporters he won’t be spending all of his time in the state but will be focusing on the contests in Nevada, Colorado, and Mississippi, all of which take place in the week following the Florida primary.

“We’re looking at this as a race that’s going to go well beyond Florida," he said, "and so we want to make sure that we’re in those states and laying the groundwork in those states.” 

Santorum is banking on the long-shot possibility that Florida will switch from a winner-take-all system to awarding its delegates proportionally, which would allow him to pick up some support from a state where is not expected to win.

“It’s winner-takes-all unless its not,” he said. “There’s an opportunity in some congressional districts, maybe, to pull of a surprise here and there.”

The entire 2012 GOP primary race, he added, is a cautionary tale. “If there’s one thing you can predict about this race," Santorum said, "is that you can’t predict about this race.” 

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