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Rick Santorum confident that surge will last beyond Iowa [Video]

January 03, 2012|By Michael A. Memoli
  • Rick Santorum is interviewed on ABC's "Good Morning America" Jan. 3, 2012.
Rick Santorum is interviewed on ABC's "Good Morning America"… (ABCNews.com )

Reporting from Manchester, N.H. —

Rick Santorum's last-minute surge has him just hours away from what might be a stunning top-three finish in the Iowa caucuses, and even with a resource-starved campaign, the former senator vows it's only the beginning.

"I would say we've done this on shoestring, but that would be insulting shoestrings," he joked on ABC's "Good Morning America" Tuesday.

Santorum says he'll campaign aggressively in all of the upcoming primary states, even as other rivals plan to skip New Hampshire and move on to a likely showdown in South Carolina.

"I've spent more time in New Hampshire and done more events than anybody but Jon Huntsman. And the same thing with South Carolina," he said. "We feel very, very good that we've got the organization. And money is coming in better than it's ever come in. And when we do well tonight, we suspect we'll have the resources to be able not just to compete in New Hampshire, but to compete all the way through."

The University of Minnesota's "Smart Politics" project noted this morning that every presidential candidate who's won the Iowa caucuses has won at least one other state nomination contest. Should Santorum win, they say, he would be the first "one-hit wonder" in the 40-year history of Iowa.

Of past Republican caucus winners, Bob Dole won the fewest subsequent contests in his 1988 run. 2008 winner Mike Huckabee won seven other states.

As he ramps up his campaign, Santorum is preparing for new attacks from his rivals. He responded to Rick Perry's latest salvo on his record of supporting earmarks during his congressional tenure.

"You know, Rick Perry hired people to go and get money for the state of Texas," he told ABC. "When you're a representative of Congress and in the Senate, your responsibility is to fight for your state. What happened was abuse that led to higher spending. And then, we put an end to it and we rightfully did so."

He also said he plans to continue hammering Mitt Romney over his support for a healthcare mandate in Massachusetts.

"The biggest issue in this campaign is going to be the size and scale of government, and the biggest signature issue is healthcare," he said. "We cannot put up a presidential candidate who is in, basically, in the same place as Barack Obama on government-run health care."

michael.memoli@latimes.com
twitter.com/mikememoli

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