Santorum makes the case for Missouri
February 3rd, 2012
02:31 PM ET
3 years ago

Santorum makes the case for Missouri

Hannibal, Missouri (CNN) - Rick Santorum spent the day before Nevada's caucuses visiting Mark Twain's home town in Missouri. And he explained his rationale for focusing on the Show Me State whose presidential preference primary on Tuesday carries with it no binding delegates.

"People say the election Tuesday is just a beauty contest, a preference poll, and I say, 'you know what, there are a lot of folks who are looking at these polls across the country and making decisions across the country and deciding who they're going to vote for," Santorum said, arguing that a win on Tuesday could make him more appealing to undecided voters across the country. "This is a critical state. This is a must win state for a Republican if we're going to win the presidency."

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But more than just a momentum boost, Tuesday's primary is also a crucial test of Santorum's ability to galvanize the non-Romney vote. Newt Gingrich did not make the Missouri ballot, and so Santorum sees this state as a way to prove to a national audience that he's the best conservative alternative to frontrunner Mitt Romney.

"The interesting thing about Missouri is that there are only three candidates on the ballot," Santorum told a crowd of nearly 300 people at an armory on the banks of the Mississippi River. "Congressman Gingrich isn't on the ballot. So we have an opportunity to show what a match up between Mitt Romney and me would actually be like – if you have Rick Santorum versus Mitt Romney. You hear Congressman Gingrich say we need to have one conservative candidate as an anti-Mitt Romney. I don't buy any of that. Now we have right here in Missouri, you have Rick Santorum versus Mitt Romney and we'll see how will people vote. What we have found is that I am the only conservative alternative in this race to both Gingrich and Romney."

Missouri's 52 delegates will be awarded in caucuses held March 17, and while Santorum urged voters to turnout on Tuesday, he also reminded them he'd need their support in March as well. And reiterating what he sees as his major selling point on the issue of electability, Santorum also told the crowd Missouri is filled with the kind of blue-collar, former Reagan Democrats that he sees as crucial to a Republican victory in November.

"There's no more important state for Republicans, up and down the ticket than the state of Missouri," he said. "So what an opportunity to show what rural swing voters are going to do in this election."

This is Santorum's second trip to Missouri since heading out west in the days before the Florida primary. He has five events in Missouri on Friday, and while his schedule is in flux, he'll likely return at least once more before Tuesday.

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Filed under: 2012 • Missouri • Rick Santorum
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    A lot of republicans are looking at the GOP clown show, and vowing to stay home.

    February 3, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Women need to protect their reproductive rights, and just say, " No!" to the republican clown show.

    February 3, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  3. Phil in KC

    Once you get away from KC, St. Louis or Columbia, there are enough right-wingers and evangelicals that Santorum could do well here. I'm not sure what he hopes to accomplish except to prove that, in a beauty contest between him and Mitt, he can win. Big deal. The people who will come out for the caucus, when the real delegates are awarded, are a subset of those who will come out to a primary. People get all fired up about politics until you ask for 2 or 3 hours of their time. Then they suddenly become apathetic.

    February 3, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Republicans in congress think that job creation means overturning women's rights, reaffirming "In God We Trust," and defunding any program that will help the poor and middle class, while pandering to big oil and billionaires. The word "Conservative" is becoming a description for those who do not support the constitution.

    February 3, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  5. once upon a horse

    I grew up in Missouri and live there until I was 24 in St. Louis and I have to admit there are quite a few no so bright people in that state especially when you get outside of St. Louis and Kansas City and they would appeal to the likes of Rick Santorum. Remember Rush Limbaugh came from there and that's about all you need to know about Missouri.

    February 3, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  6. CBR

    Mr. Santorum is the only Republican candidate who has not strayed from his beliefs. I may not agree with him but I do respect the fact that he lives his beliefs. His stance against a women's right to choose does not agree with mine. That makes him a worthy adversary.

    February 3, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Mr. Frothy, the corrupt lobbyist, surely must be in this for the money, since he doesn't have a chance. Wonder how much of Rmoney's cash has hit his bank account.

    February 3, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  8. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Santorum reminds me of a kid who put his shoes on the wrong foot and is tangled up in his shoe strings. This guys a joke.

    February 3, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  9. amen

    i can honestly say in missouri we are tired of being broke and being talk to like we're idiots. Theres not enopugh idiots to vote for Santorum.

    February 3, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    The biggest strike against Sen. Santorum are far right wing views on abortion. That and his lack of understanding of the meaning of seperation of church and state. Nothing wrong with being religious. If you wish to indoctrinate other folks, then politics should not be a career path for you in this country. If fact, if Santorum were as religious as he would lead us to believe, then he know that that Christianity teaches you that religion and politics mix together like oil and water.

    February 3, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  11. T'sah From Virginia

    @Rudy NYC – Agree!!

    Obama 2012

    February 3, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |