Rick Santorum Points To Fundraising As Proof Of Staying Power

Jan 24, 2012 12:23am

ABC News’ Shushannah Walshe and Russell Goldman report:

TAMPA, FL — Rick Santorum made a brief trip to the spin room after the NBC News/National Journal debate — the only candidate out of the four remaining to do so — and said his campaign raised $170,000 on Sunday.

Although short of a brokered convention, Florida will most likely continue to be a winner takes all state Santorum says he’s not “wasting time” campaigning here instead of moving on to other states like Nevada which votes next or the Super Tuesday states.

“I’m not wasting time if you guys put cameras in front of me and you talk about what I’m saying … this is a national race and we are going to be around for a long time in this race,” Santorum told reporters. “We are going to be working in a lot of different states and as we — as I said today if you were waiting for something to happen in this race wait for tomorrow, wait for the next day, this race is going to change. People have been up, people have been down and I’ve been here.”

He said the money raised means supporters “want us to stay in the race.”

“They understand that the other two candidates have serious problems and when hopefully people get a chance to calm down and focus on the real issues … we feel that we stack up very, very, very well,” Santorum said. “And hopefully the people of Florida will take a step back, take a look at not just who the media is talking about, and flapping their gums about but who in fact is the best person to beat Barack Obama and we think that’s me.”

He pledged that he wouldn’t change his message for the less socially conservative state of Florida, but he would focus on some of the issues that are “unique” to the state.

“I’m excited about that because I’ve had experience dealing with all those issues whether it’s Cuba, whether it’s off shore drilling, whether it’s the environmental issues here that Florida has to deal with, whether it’s the diversity issues,” Santorum said. “These are all issues I’m very comfortable with because I come from a state that has a lot of diversity too.”

The former Pennsylvania senator will campaign in the state tomorrow flying around to several cities in the central and west coast regions of Florida before heading to Virginia on Wednesday to fundraise after a campaign stop in the morning in Naples.

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