Inside Politics

Santorum braces to move beyond Iowa

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum is courting young voters as he seeks to surprise his rivals with a strong showing in the state's leadoff precinct caucuses.

Santorum was set to join a couple of other candidates at a Rock the Vote event in suburban Des Moines on Tuesday, one of a series of events looking to get high school students involved in the presidential campaign.

The event is being sponsored in part by Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, who has endorsed Santorum and has been traveling with him. Schultz called Santorum the most consistent conservative in the field, a point Santorum hammers on the campaign trail.

Heading into Tuesday night's caucuses, Santorum sounded increasingly confident and vowed to be in the race past the first votes of the 2012 presidential campaign.

"I feel very good about where I am," he said. "We're going up. I feel very good about New Hampshire. They like this kind of politics too."

"We're going to do very well tonight," Santorum said in an appearance Tuesday on ABC's "Good Morning America."

"Ten days ago we were in last place in the polls and people asked me why I didn't get out," he said. Santorum said voters in Iowa are "looking for the candidate they can trust, and that's why we're moving up in the polls."

He acknowledged fundraising problems but said that a strong showing in Iowa should help significantly on that front. So far, Santorum said, "I'd say we've done this on shoestrings, but that would be insulting shoestrings."

Santorum said he's ready to move on aggressively to New Hampshire, South Carolina and other early voting states, saying "the biggest issue in this campaign is going to be the size and scale of government and the biggest signature issue is health care."

Closing his campaign in Iowa Monday, Santorum returned to his major themes.

"I'm asking you not to settle for someone who might be able to win the election, but it might be a pyrrhic victory," he said. "We are not looking for executive experience, we are looking for a commander in chief."

His campaign events were increasingly jammed as the campaign peaked. In suburban Des Moines, he had to give two speeches because all his backers couldn't fit into a single room.

"I've not seen crowds like this," he said.

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