Perry zeroes in on Santorum
January 2nd, 2012
11:40 AM ET
2 years ago

Perry zeroes in on Santorum

Des Monies, Iowa (CNN) – Rick Perry continued to zing rival candidate Rick Santorum ahead of Tuesday's Iowa caucuses, in yet another sign Santorum's star is rising in the Republican presidential race.

The Texas governor, who has seen his poll numbers decline in the first-in-the-nation caucus state, pointed to weak points in Santorum's history including his double-digit loss to recapture his Pennsylvania Senate seat in 2006, poor national organization and past support of Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, who later switched parties to become a Democrat.

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"His … argument is 'I'm the guy that can win,'" Perry said of Santorum Monday on MSNBC. "He got beat by 18 points in his last race. I mean this guy has proven that he can't win races when it matters against a liberal Democrat."

Santorum has said his support of Specter was a mistake and defended his Senate and election records by touting his wins in the swing state of Pennsylvania. He also maintains he will have the ground game needed to compete after the contests in Iowa, where he has focused the bulk of his resources.

But Perry positioned himself as the only alternative to frontrunner Mitt Romney with the ability to capture a national election.

"I'm the only one of the social conservatives and the fiscal conservatives that are running that actually has the ability to raise the money, to have the organization, to run through and finish the primary process," Perry said. "Santorum and [Michele] Bachmann don't."

Monday's attacks followed a back-and-forth between the candidates over their records, which Perry perpetuated during a separate interview Sunday when he accused the senator of having a "problem" with spending and earmarks.

Santorum has become a target of sorts for other candidates following his recent rise in Iowa polling while he continues to vie for the socially conservative vote in the Hawkeye State. Romney compared him to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who Romney has characterized as a Washington insider on the trail Sunday.

The most recent poll of the 2012 candidates from the Des Moines Register showed Romney in the top spot with 24% followed by Rep. Ron Paul of Texas with 22%, Santorum with 15%, Gingrich with 12%, Perry with 11% and Rep. Bachmann of Minnesota with 7%. The poll was conducted Tuesday through Friday but results from just Thursday and Friday considered separately showed Santorum in second place with 21% and Paul third with 18% while Romney remained steady at 24%.

Also see:

Gingrich mulls strategy shift after Iowa


Leading Perry backers head to Iowa for final push


Bachmann: Polls not a good measure of support


Romney goes on offense


Filed under: 2012 • Rick Perry • Rick Santorum
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    Boy – does he ever look hung over. Guess the beer was flowing in from TX.

    January 2, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  2. Thomas

    Don't Governors have to work in Texas ?

    ENRON ENRON ENRON

    January 2, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  3. WhereIsPalin

    I think I saw him on the road while I was driving the other night. He was staring right into my headlights.

    January 2, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  4. Duke One

    Santorum said yesterday that he loves earmarks and stands by them ! No thanks, he's a typical big government establishment Senator. PERRY is the only anti Romney candidate with executive gubernatorial experience with a record of making things happen. We need a "doer not a talker". My vote is for RICK PERRY 2012 !!

    January 2, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. Ron

    OK. When this jumped into the race I told you he was a fraud. It took a few weeks, but he proved me right. Now, he thinks everyone has forgotten that he is a fraud. Well, for those who were on another planet, I'll say it again: he's a fraud.

    January 2, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  6. willie floyd

    Intelligence just isn't important to any voter who would vote for this dumbo.

    January 2, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  7. shoegazer

    All cattle,no hat......the longer this inept man stays in the race,well at least it will have it's comical side.Come on Rick,scrape whatever it is you have on the sole of your cowboy boots and head back to Texas.

    January 2, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |