Tags: | santorum | win | iowa

Santorum: I Must ‘Exceed Expectations’ in Iowa to Stay in Race

Wednesday, 28 Dec 2011 08:32 AM

By Paul Scicchitano

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Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum acknowledged on Tuesday that he must “exceed expectations” in next week’s Iowa caucuses in order to stay in the GOP presidential race.

Appearing on News Radio 1040 WHO-AM in Des Moines, Iowa, Santorum added, however, that expectations for his campaign have not been high.

“My feeling is we have to exceed expectations,” he said. “And the expectations right now for us are pretty low based on a lot of the national polls. So I feel like we need to do well. We need to be right in the mix. Obviously, we’d love to win it. Our intention is to win it. And we’re doing everything we can to try and finish first. And somewhere in that middle of the pack and up we’d feel very, very good though.”

Pressed by host Jan Mickelson, Santorum agreed that a bottom finish would be unacceptable and a one-way ticket back to the keystone state.

“Look if I finish dead last — way behind the pack — I’m going to pack up and go home, but I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he declared.

Santorum, who has visited all 99 counties in Iowa, was critical of the two-month extension Congress passed last week to the payroll tax cut extension — just eight days before its scheduled expiration.

“There are a handful of Republicans that have taken the position of not extending this or not even doing it in the first place, but most have gone along with any tax cut is a good tax cut,” Santorum said. “I don’t think so, because I think it undermines the whole integrity of the Social Security system.”

Santorum said he opposes the extension — for two months or a year. ” I’m against it being extended at all,” he said. “Either Social Security is a separate system that’s off budget and we pay for it by payroll taxes or it’s just another welfare program. It’s one or the other.”

He also was critical of Virginia’s complicated election system, which resulted in only two of the seven leading GOP candidates being able to get on the ballot for the Republican primary.

“I mean it’s a tough state but it shouldn’t be at a point where the ballot requirements weed out the candidates,” he said. “What should weed out the candidates is the people of the state, not the ballot requirements.”

In the case of rivals Ron Paul and Mitt Romney, who met the signature requirements to have their names placed on the Virginia ballot, Santorum said that “I guarantee you what Romney and Paul did is they went out and hired a firm to go out and get signatures” at a cost he estimated to be around $70,000 to $80,000.

Santorum also insisted that at no time was he ever asked for money in exchange for the endorsement of prominent Iowa evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats calling allegations to the contrary as “sour grapes” on the part of his political rivals.

“I can say that I was very hopeful of getting the endorsement,” Santorum explained. “It was a very important thing for me and I walked out of that conversation feeling very good that I had a very good chance of getting that endorsement. So if money would have been a factor I wouldn’t have felt that good about the conversation.”

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