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Santorum: 'We Did it Again!' Santorum: 'We Did it Again!'

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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field

CAMPAIGN 2012

Santorum: 'We Did it Again!'

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Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum gives a thumbs up during his election night party, Tuesday, March 13, 2012, in Lafayette, La. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)  (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

LAFAYETTE, LA— Shortly after news outlets called Alabama’s presidential primary race for Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator took the stage in front of a packed Hilton hotel ballroom here and declared with a grin: “We did it again!”

The former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, whose upstart campaign was launched with a surprise victory in Iowa, claimed wins in two Southern states he often calls “Newt Gingrich’s backyard,” and where the former House speaker was staking a comeback. Though Santorum hadn’t yet been projected the winner of Mississippi, his other spoil on Tuesday, he hinted at the prospect of yet another upset.

 

“I don’t think there was a single poll that had me anywhere close to winning Mississippi, not one,” Santorum said. “And yet I knew when I was traveling around, whether it was all the way up in Tupelo, the passion in their heart. They understood how important this race is for themselves and their families and for the future of our country.”

Billing his campaign as “ordinary folks doing extraordinary things,” Santorum made the bold prediction that “we’re gonna win this nomination before that convention” in August by earning the necessary 1,144 delegates, an extraordinary feat, given Romney’s already enormous lead.

Earlier in the day, Santorum said that Gingrich should get out of the race “because clearly the vast majority of the votes that he is taking are coming from me.”

 

In his remarks on election night, Santorum also disputed rival Mitt Romney's view that Romney's march to the Republican nomination is inevitable. “He spent a whole lot of money against me for it being inevitable,” Santorum said, referring to a super PAC supporting Romney that accounted for 65 percent of all ad spending in Alabama and Mississippi.

Still, he said, the results “greatly exceed” his expectations. Asked how they change the race, he said, “As I’ve been saying, this adventure’s going to be a two-person race, and when it does, the conservative will win.”

Romney did not make an election night appearance, and instead issued a statement congratulating Santorum on his twin victories.

He added, “I am pleased that we will be increasing our delegate count in a very substantial way after tonight. Ann and I made a lot of new friends in Alabama and Mississippi and we look forward to campaigning in those states in the general election. Because of their support, our campaign is on the move and ready to take on President Obama in the fall.”  

 

Santorum flies next to Puerto Rico, followed by campaign stops in Missouri and Illinois over the weekend.

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