GOP Rivals Criticize Santorum

Surging into top-tier contention, Republican Rick Santorum came under sharp criticism from rivals hoping to slow his momentum two days before Iowa's kickoff caucuses. The former Pennsylvania senator defended his record in Washington and cast himself as the most electable conservative alternative to front-runner Mitt Romney.

Polls showed Romney poised for a possible victory Tuesday in Iowa and Texas Rep. Ron Paul not far behind. Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann tried to make their case Sunday to peel conservative votes away from Santorum, whose meticulous campaigning across Iowa and wooing of social conservatives appeared to be paying dividends at the finish line.

"He's got a spending problem, he's got an earmark problem, he voted eight times to raise the debt ceiling in the United States Senate," Perry said on "Fox News Sunday."

Bachmann noted on the same broadcast that Santorum was soundly defeated when he ran for re-election in 2006, losing by a 59-41 margin to Democrat Bob Casey.

Santorum's campaign debuted a TV ad in Iowa that portrayed him as "a trusted conservative who gives us the best chance to take back America."

Joining rivals on the Sunday talk shows, Santorum was pressed to say whether he believed Romney had conservative values. Santorum said any of the Republican candidates would be more conservative than President Barack Obama.

"The question is, are those values ones that you can trust when they become president of the United States?" he told NBC's "Meet the Press."

Santorum defended his support for home-state spending projects, or earmarks, saying he was elected in part to bring federal money to Pennsylvania.

"I don't regret going out at the time and making sure the people of Pennsylvania - who I was elected to represent - got resources," Santorum said. But, he added, "I voted for some things that I look back and say, `Why the heck did I do that?'"

Santorum planned several campaign stops in western Iowa later Sunday.

Romney, who attended services at a Mormon church in West Des Moines, was set to appear in Atlantic and Council Bluffs as he works to maximize the edge he holds in critical areas rather than risk underperforming in places where more ardent conservatives are leery of his faith and shifting positions on social issues.

A new Des Moines Register poll found Romney with 24 percent support among likely voters in Iowa while Paul had 22 percent. Santorum place third with 15 percent, followed by Newt Gingrich, with 12 percent, and Perry, with 11 percent. Bachmann had just 7 percent support.

The poll's margin of sampling error for the full four days was plus or minus 4 percentage points. For the last two days, it was plus or minus 5.6 percentage points.

The poll showed Santorum gaining ground and Paul slipping a bit as rivals hammered him on his noninterventionist foreign policy views.

Paul, who spent the weekend at his home in Texas, stood firm on his contention that the U.S. should not bomb Iran if the country is developing a nuclear weapon.

"I would say that we just need to be more cautious. I think if we overreact and participate in bombing Iran we're looking for a lot more trouble," Paul told CNN's "State of the Union."

Santorum said that if he were president, he would bomb Iran's nuclear facilities unless they were opened for international arms inspectors.

Gingrich, battered by negative TV ads from rivals and a pro-Romney super political action committee, was fighting to stay in contention after topping the field in Iowa just weeks ago.

"Romney would buy the election if he could," the former House speaker told reporters after attending Mass in Des Moines with his wife, Callista.

Gingrich said he was encouraged by one finding in the new poll - that 41 percent of voters could change their mind about who to support.

Indeed, with many factors at play, the dynamics can shift rapidly.

Yet two things were clear on the final weekend before the caucuses: The yearlong effort to establish a consensus challenger to Romney had so far come up short, and Romney's carefully laid plan to survive Iowa may succeed because conservative voters had yet to unite behind one candidate.

Bachmann redoubled her effort woo evangelicals Sunday.

She took to the pulpit at Jubilee Family Church in Oskaloosa, where for more than 30 minute she guided the congregation to several favorite Bible passages and shared her testimony for giving herself over to God as a teenager in Minnesota.

"The Holy Spirit cleansed me and gave me a peace I'd never before had in my heart," she said

Perry had no campaign events planned after attending church in West Des Moines. He was to travel to Greenville, S.C., the day after the caucuses, bypassing next-up New Hampshire, which holds its primary Jan. 10. He intended to participate in two debates in New Hampshire next weekend.

Campaigning alone in New Hampshire, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman said it would be that state that sends a message about which candidate is most electable. He is skipping the Iowa contest and has made modest inroads in New Hampshire after months near the bottom of the polls.

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  • by small government? Location: enc on Jan 3, 2012 at 05:24 PM
    Get ready, ladies, Santorum thinks the government has no place in business, but they have the right to outlaw birth control! "Small government"? I don't think so! Just "small interference in a few controlling the rest of us"!!
  • by Iowa Location: enc on Jan 3, 2012 at 04:48 PM
    Out of the last 6 caucuses, Iowa has chosen the ultimate candidate 2 times! I don't think this is a record which supports anyone getting too concerned over.
  • by Curious-to Snake Location: enc on Jan 3, 2012 at 04:22 PM
    You are constantly calling either Obama or Carter the "worst" presidents. Where does Nixon stand with you. A crook, caught and forced to leave office in shame, but you seem to ignore him completely. It would be interesting to know how important those kind of actions are to you-not too interesting, but your standards are a little scued!
    • reply
      by Obama Snake Oil Co on Jan 4, 2012 at 10:39 AM in reply to Curious-to Snake
      Since I work from facts this will give you an idea. All one term presidents have one thing in common...they fell below 50% early into their first year. This approval shows where and what most Americans, not just Dems and Rebubs...all of us, think. Nixon was a crook, Wilson was a communist, Carter a whimp with loser economics.....
      • reply
        by and... on Jan 7, 2012 at 10:51 AM in reply to Obama Snake Oil Co
        It's gonna be too funny when the other guys put Mitt "the white OBAma" as the Gop King Klown and you will have to back him. One of the many problems you have wearing a tinfoil hat. Let the GoP Klown show continue...Newt will continue with his book tour after dropping out from a sad show in SC. Next stop for th Cain Bus tour - Faux News
    • reply
      by and... on Jan 5, 2012 at 05:31 AM in reply to Curious-to Snake
      Nixon is up there next to George duBYa "two war" Bush
  • by Lavon Location: Goldsboro on Jan 2, 2012 at 04:58 PM
    Can you imagine Ron Paul getting that call at 3am. My God the poor guy would have a heart attack. LOL!
    • reply
      by obamanot on Jan 2, 2012 at 06:09 PM in reply to Lavon
      No way lavon, not a heart attack.He could get away from it all and go play some golf and or just bow down to other dictators.You are comparing a fruit to the same fruit.That is why I do not like Ron Paul or the Demander and Thief!
      • reply
        by Chris on Jan 2, 2012 at 07:01 PM in reply to obamanot
        Tell me Obamanot who do you support ? It cant be Gingrich or Bachman who helped pass the Patriot Act or Romney "care" or Santorum that want to basically wage war against a country that wants a nuclear weapon. Tell me what gives us the right to have a nuclear program and not them. And dont tell me its because they supposedly want to wipe israel off the face of the earth. if you belive what the media is telling you then there is a serious problem. You metioned earlier about NDAA and the bill of rights being used as toilet paper. So tell me which candidate is as firm of a believer in the Constitution and the bill of rights by following them to the "T" as Ron Paul.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Jan 3, 2012 at 03:12 AM in reply to Chris
          He is not going to reply, just full of hot air. I think he has some kind of man love thing against Obama.
  • by WhyILoveobama on Jan 2, 2012 at 03:37 PM
    While the libterdiral media was asleep this New Years the king amabo passed into law (MDAA law) that the US military can detain any american citizen for any amount of time without a trial for any reason he totaliy doing away with your costitutional rights.Special thanks to John McCain that liberal idiot was in on this too!They dont care!If you have a websight,comment on facebook that you dont like whats happening and you critize too much than you have a crosshair on your back!They will detain you just cause the king amabo said to.
  • by Lavon Location: Goldsboro on Jan 2, 2012 at 09:53 AM
    Ok it's January and the Republicans still hate their candidates. I mean what's going on here? Is this all you guys have to offer? The way it's looking for the Repubs they still might not even have a candidate in 2016.
    • reply
      by Chris on Jan 2, 2012 at 11:06 AM in reply to Lavon
      There is a candidate, and he is rising. Silently. Ron Paul 2012!!!
      • reply
        by Desperate times means Desperate measures on Jan 2, 2012 at 11:57 AM in reply to Chris
        The only way Ron Paul will rise is if the others continue to stink so bad, and they will. Bottom of the Barrel.
        • reply
          by Chris on Jan 2, 2012 at 12:45 PM in reply to Desperate times means Desperate measures
          If Ron Paul is the bottom of the barrel then the rest are oysters, lower than whale stinky !
      • reply
        by citizen on Jan 2, 2012 at 12:01 PM in reply to Chris
        oh yeah thats perfect...hey i got it,i'm a republican and i'm searching for a candidate and all i see are morons and people with no morales,they won't work...oh we can win with a racist...ron paul...if thats the best the republicans can do...i think this will be ralph naders election to
        • reply
          by Anthony on Jan 2, 2012 at 07:18 PM in reply to citizen
          Ron Paul is the only candidate that wants to pardon ALL non-violent drug offenders... Pretty racist of him huh? Seriously ask yourself how much it would help the Black community if we end the war on drugs.
      • reply
        by Lavon on Jan 2, 2012 at 12:04 PM in reply to Chris
        Ron Paul will never be a Republican nominee for President and why? Because he's too old and he's a racist
        • reply
          by Chris on Jan 2, 2012 at 12:39 PM in reply to Lavon
          If you can prove without a shadow of a doubt that he is racists then link me where it has shown he is a racist. Do not link a media outlets post or video either. This man is the most peaceful and humble man you could possibly ask for. What some supposed letters that the media is harping about from thirty years ago were not endorsed by Ron Paul, in case you havent noticed, other than these "letters" the media cannot pull any "dirt" on this man. He is honest and has kept his word for over thirty years. Look him up, and do not rely on what the Associated Press media outlets have to say or wont say about Dr. Ron Paul.
      • reply
        by Sorry Chris on Jan 2, 2012 at 12:21 PM in reply to Chris
        Are you kidding me?That guy is like one of those can't stop shaking,nerves tore all to pieces little lap dogs.You hav'nt noticed him in the debates?Body language goes a long ways.He is way too nervous.
        • reply
          by Chris on Jan 2, 2012 at 12:44 PM in reply to Sorry Chris
          No joking here pal, this guy shakes because he is trying to hold back not because he is scared. Videos of Ron paul from twenty and thirty years ago are amazing. He was very aggressive about his views. Now probly because of his age he has calmed down alot. He shakes just like any angry person will do. When i get worked up i shake and he simply cannot get the point across to the American people- we are slaves we are not free and if we dont do something NOW us and our children and so on will suffer the consequences. Liberty or Death ! Dont Tread On Me ! Thats what our fore fathers fought for !!!
      • reply
        by Ron chance... on Jan 2, 2012 at 02:05 PM in reply to Chris
        Chris, sorry but your guy is a Racist.If he is the front runner, he will NEVER survive his past about the book and his comments on Civil Rights. Sorry.
        • reply
          by Chris on Jan 2, 2012 at 04:54 PM in reply to Ron chance...
          Like I mentioned earlier, Link me hardcore evidence where he has made derogatory comments toward any race creed or sexual preference. The Man has supported and continues to support all forms of Americans. The Civil Rights statements you are refering to unfortunately are that of the media taking statement way out of context. His statements are refering to government and what was done in the civil rights act as being un-constitutional. Basically the act empowered minorities when all Americans are suppose to be equal. If yours mine and our fathers grand fathers and great grandfathers had of been patriots and follwed the constitution instead of living like sheeple and following what the almighty sheperd told them we wold not even deemed a civil rights act neccessary. People would have been free ! And that is all he is fighting for now, is true freedom. Read dont be lead by the media and dont let others tell you what to think or persuade you to think freedom is bad, live breath think and act like true free Americans. This is what our country was founded on ! Sic Semper Tyrannis !
      • reply
        by Lavon on Jan 2, 2012 at 03:19 PM in reply to Chris
        Chris, It's ok to be a Ron paul supporter but to be in denial and think that that old fool would ever be President is just plain dumb. How many times is he going to run for president and lose before you realize he can't win?
        • reply
          by Chris on Jan 2, 2012 at 05:02 PM in reply to Lavon
          Consistancy, he is and has been the most consistant candidate. What other choice is thier Lavon? Have you read the constitution. You say Paul is a racist, but have you read and understood the bill of rights, read every section of it. If what you read in the Constitution doesn't make you angry then you cannot be for freedom, or the values that this country was founded on. It is not possible to listen to these candidates and be a firm believer in the Constitution.
      • reply
        by John McCain on Jan 2, 2012 at 04:23 PM in reply to Chris
        Ron Paul is to old! Got one word for him....Alzheimers. Just waiting to see him respond to that News Letter on the national stage!
        • reply
          by Chris on Jan 2, 2012 at 05:46 PM in reply to John McCain
          Thats it? He's old? How bout the issues?
      • reply
        by To Chris on Jan 3, 2012 at 04:24 PM in reply to Chris
        Oh, I hope you are right! He'll never get the nomination, but I hope he runs on a 3rd ticket!!
        • reply
          by Chris on Jan 3, 2012 at 08:57 PM in reply to To Chris
          I hope you are saying this to vote Ron Paul on the third ticket, but he has been pretty adament that he will not run imdependent.
    • reply
      by obamanot on Jan 2, 2012 at 05:53 PM in reply to Lavon
      Come on Lavitra.Is this guys all you have to offer?Maybe we should offer the biggest debt,the biggest deficit,the most people on food stamps ever,major lying on the unemployment rate,- zero job growth,While still in hawaii or asia as he called it the other day amabo passed a bill that give the military authority to detain American citizens indefinitely and without criminal charge.Our bill of rights no longer exists under this Demander and Thief!Thanks McCain for backing this also.
  • by pete Location: grifton on Jan 2, 2012 at 08:31 AM
    The big three who committed fraud in the fannie mae and freedy mac scheme now work for the Obama re-election camp(over 300 million paid to them in bonuses when they left).I think it's been confirmed you don't need a brain to be a dumb-o-crat.this country can't survive 4 more years of this unamerican president.when a serviceman die's in the line of duty the president would send his condolances not anymore The big zero now passed it on to the sec of defense as he has refused to do it.
    • reply
      by Republicans are the same on Jan 2, 2012 at 10:09 AM in reply to pete
      BOTH partys are bought and paid for, and to not admit such is just plani stupid. The numbers do not lie, unlike career politicians from BOTH partys. The middleclass has shrunk/stagnated x 30 yrs!! BOTH partys have engaged in deficit spending. Ron Paul is the only one that has addressed spending issues!! We have bases all over the world! Japan, Europe, etc!! Defense needs to be cut by at least 50%. We have not been in a war since WWII that truly involved our national security, hey Vietnam, Iraq, those are conflicts from BOTH partys!! It will not make any difference who is elected in '12, as NIETHER party has addressed our problems e.g. 29 million unemployed, 3 trillion in unfrastructure needs, etc. Until we can get folks elected that will represent constituents and NOT special interests, things will only get worse. WAKE UP and admit it. BOTH partys are for sale!! CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM NOW!! Let's take our country back from the lobbyists and return it to the citizens!! Return the US to a democracy!!!
    • reply
      by for petes sake on Jan 2, 2012 at 11:55 AM in reply to pete
      Was Newt Gingrich one of them? Oh, he was just a 1.6 million dollar Historian. (winky wink)
  • by taxman Location: washington on Jan 2, 2012 at 08:07 AM
    Just another flaky Repugican politician. Ho hum.
  • by 40some on Jan 2, 2012 at 05:54 AM
    Paul stays above the fray. Santorum wants to bomb Iraq. That'll play to the muslim hating war hawks. Has noone else but Paul stated his plan of action on this? Makes me wonder what their plan of action would be if they were president.
  • by Obama Snake Oil co Location: Washington on Jan 2, 2012 at 05:02 AM
    Why you Obama voters think you have a stake in this election is besides me. You blew it by voting in the worst president in the history of America, second only to Jimmy Carter.
    • reply
      by obamanot on Jan 2, 2012 at 05:48 AM in reply to Obama Snake Oil co
      Yeah,these descendants from moon crickets really come out on this discussion board when they fear for amabos resignation.
    • reply
      by Really? on Jan 2, 2012 at 07:10 AM in reply to Obama Snake Oil co
      You can be delusional all you want, but if you only listen to anti-Obama news sources, you only hear what you want to hear. He may be vulnerable, but there's no way he's the non-entity you think he is. He's strong in 2012, and if Republicans insist on nominating a right-wing loon, Obama will get four more years. When will you learn that those who talk most about God from the "pulpit" of politics are the ones to trust least? Talk about snake oil - yikes!
      • reply
        by Obama Snake Oil Co on Jan 4, 2012 at 10:41 AM in reply to Really?
        Good luck with that....dahbrogottago....
    • reply
      by Madea on Jan 2, 2012 at 08:14 AM in reply to Obama Snake Oil co
      Ha Ha, If the Dems did not have a "stake" in this election, why on earth are the Republicans running scared? They are digging at the bottom of the barrel to find a candidate to run against Obama. Every time one of the front runners are exposed as the Clowns they are, Obama's numbers increase. Maybe you guys better hurry up and find that Generic Clown you been ranting about.
      • reply
        by Obama Snake Oil co on Jan 4, 2012 at 10:42 AM in reply to Madea
        Excuse me, when popularity and approval numbers fell below Jimmy Carters...that is no increasing unless you are in the GOP...please learn math. Oh, 22% approve of him now...
    • reply
      by Lets be honest on Jan 2, 2012 at 08:21 AM in reply to Obama Snake Oil co
      The Republicans have a problem and they know it. Here is the problem, anyone but Obama is not a winning strategy. You need a strong candidate. There hasn't been one in the GOP field. Before you start complaining about my political leanings , think about it. Put aside hatred of Obama and think rationally. Whether you like Obama or not, you need to have the strongest candidate possible. Whoever that should have been, that person isn't in this race. Romney is switches sides from hour to hour. Gringrich has been undisciplined and has a ton of baggage. Forgive me for saying so, but the lack of strong candidate is a good thing for Obama.
      • reply
        by To Lets be honest on Jan 3, 2012 at 04:34 PM in reply to Lets be honest
        I agree with your position, but I would also submit that a major problem with Romney is the southern evangelicals that the GOP has "courted". They do, in fact, believe LDS is a cult. It will not be easy for those pulpits to change their tunes. Just like with the TP-the GOP used them for strength, but now it is backfiring! Many will not be able, in good conscience, vote for a Mormon and the GOP knows it.
    • reply
      by Lavon on Jan 2, 2012 at 09:55 AM in reply to Obama Snake Oil co
      Snake Oil It's over for the Repubs next year and you know it. You can get up here and spew you partisan hatred all you want but I suspect somewhere in the back of your narrow mind, you know Obama will be reelected. So stop hating
      • reply
        by Chris on Jan 2, 2012 at 11:05 AM in reply to Lavon
        I strongly disagree he will not be re-elected. Americans are waking up and its a sleeping giant.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Jan 2, 2012 at 11:48 AM in reply to Chris
          Chris, you are right, Americans are waking up, and turning against to TeaParty and the REpublicans, did you ever wonder why their party members getting smaller and smaller? Support for the Tea Party -- and with it, the Republican Party -- has fallen sharply even in places considered Tea Party strongholds, according to an analysis of new polls.
    • reply
      by Chris on Jan 2, 2012 at 11:04 AM in reply to Obama Snake Oil co
      I am sorry i agree Jimmy Carter was no saint and bought and paid for like the rest, but this country went to h@#$ in a hand basket with Woodrow Wilson. Look up the year 1913 and basically how Wilson signed Americans over to the devil with the Federal Reserve Act. As well as establihing the 18th ammendment the same year which gave Congress the right to tax Americans basically whatever they deemed neccesary.
    • reply
      by citizen on Jan 2, 2012 at 12:05 PM in reply to Obama Snake Oil co
      lets see..he started no wars,thats right thats what republicans do...he didn't lie...oh yeah that was bush...oh yeah and he got binladen...oh yeah thats why bush spent 800 billion of our dollars and started 2 wars..
    • reply
      by and... on Jan 3, 2012 at 07:45 AM in reply to Obama Snake Oil co
      The worst president ever was George "two WAR" Dubya We have ended one of his WARS, now time to end the other. The DuByA / Carl R. war . Why the GoP Klowns are chomping at the bit to start a war with Iran? Anyone not wearing a tinfoil hat needs to remind them they shoud get in office first before trying to start the next GOP war.
      • reply
        by Obama Snake Oil co on Jan 3, 2012 at 09:45 AM in reply to and...
        Sorry, you are wrong but think of it this way? You voted for the worst president in the history of America....facts don't like, latest national telephone survey finds that 45% of Likely U.S. Voters favor the former Massachusetts governor, while 39% prefer the president. Ten percent (10%) like some other candidate in the race, and six percent (6%) are undecided Compared with the approval rating of recent US Presidents - during November of their third year in office - Obama is lagging behind, along with his role-model, one-term President, Jimmy Carter: G.W. Bush - 52%, Clinton - 53%, G.H. W. Bush - 55%, Reagan - 53%, Carter - 40%, Nixon - 49%, JFK - 58% and Eisenhower - 78%. In fact, President Obama's numbers are more concerning than those of non-elected President Ford, who zoomed to 71% upon replacing the impeached President Nixon, crashed to 50% upon pardoning Nixon and deteriorated to 47% following the 1974 midterm election, remaining at 45%-50% until his defeat in the November 1976 election.
        • reply
          by and... on Jan 6, 2012 at 07:50 AM in reply to Obama Snake Oil co
          even with you doing cut and paste from your Beck/ rush fanclub news letter , you still wear a tinfoil hat and Dubya Started TWO wars which we stil are paying for 10 years later. The Dubya- the worst president in history. Now if we can just get Carl off of the GoP payroll.
    • reply
      by To Snake on Jan 3, 2012 at 04:29 PM in reply to Obama Snake Oil co
      LOL- You think that is a "gimme" re: Carter. Well, it isn't. You see, looking back, as intelligent, educated people do, many issues blamed on Carter are now clearly understood to have been beyond his control. He will NOT go down as the worst president and you are just showing your ignorance by repeating it!
      • reply
        by Obama Snake Oil co on Jan 4, 2012 at 10:43 AM in reply to To Snake
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