Rick Santorum Gives Final Pitch to Voters in Iowa

Jan 3, 2012 1:00am

ALTOONA, Iowa — A large crowd of voters — many enthusiastic supporters — plus a mass of cameras and reporters turned a Rick Santorum event into a chaotic scene, but there was no doubt where the interest was.

The former Pennsylvania senator spoke to voters in a side room of the campaign favorite, Pizza Ranch, Monday evening. Last week, there would be no need to occupy the entire restaurant, the side room would be enough. Monday, the day before Iowans kick off the voting process the entire restaurant was packed and cameras swarmed the candidate.

Standing on a chair and using a bullhorn, Santorum gave voters waiting for him in the main part of the restaurant, who were not able to hear him, his final pitch.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow night, but this has been an amazing experience,” Santorum said to the crowd of about 150. “The people of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina have not only made me a better candidate, not only will they make be a better president, but they’ve made me a better person.”

He told Iowans to, “Trust what you’ve seen and heard … You want to be first? Lead.”

He repeated what he’s been stressing all week: don’t vote for someone just because others say they are electable.

“They may not be able to do what American needs to get done and that’s a victory that will feel very empty,” Santorum said, wearing a gray sweater vest. “It will not be Pizza Ranch pizza, you will walk out of those caucuses hungry. Walk out of those caucuses like you just ate at a Pizza Ranch buffet.”

Santorum added: “You will not only shock this country, but you will shock the world.”

It was the last of five events in a day where every event was packed with voters, political tourists, and a crush of reporters and cameras.

While leaving the Hotel Pattee in Perry, Iowa — his second event of the day – Santorum said his campaign, despite their financial disadvantage, does have the ground game in New Hampshire to compete there.

“We are going to do better, we are going to move up that ladder and if we can finish in the top three or four that would be a good finish for us,” Santorum told ABC News.

Mitt Romney’s SuperPAC, “Restore Our Future,” has spent three million dollars in the state on advertising, most of it targeting Newt Gingrich directly. When asked how he would handle being on the receiving end of the onslaught of negative ads his rivals have had to endure, Santorum answered, “I’m not Newt Gingrich. I feel pretty comfortable that their attacks will ring hollow coming from where they are coming from.”

He stressed that despite his conservative stances he will be able to appeal to more moderate voters citing his wins in Pennsylvania and that voters trust him.

“People tell me, ‘I don’t agree with everything you say, but I trust you,’” Santorum said.

Throughout the day he stressed electability, but in Perry without being asked he mentioned working with Democrats, including Barbara Boxer and Hillary Clinton.

“When I agreed with her, I worked with her,” Santorum said referring to Boxer as a way of criticizing President Obama for not working across the aisle. “We’ve got to set it aside because we have a country to run.”

At Santorum’s third event of the day in Boone he told the crowd that voters were receiving robo-calls that said he wasn’t tough enough on preserving the second amendment.

“Believe it or not, someone is out there making robo-calls saying I’m against the second amendment! Whoever that is — Ron Paul — whoever that is,” Santorum said, pointing his finger directly at the Texas congressman. “If Ron Paul got his way, there’d be no gun manufacturers in this country.”

At that moment a protester and supporter of Paul’s shouted that Santorum was “lying.” The candidate didn’t pause and the protester soon left.

The event was also in a Pizza Ranch, Santorum’s third for the day and by their count 33rd Pizza Ranch stop, It was so tight and warm a woman fainted and was receiving medical attention.

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