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Santorum hits Romney on same-sex marriage, Perry on football

Alex Moe/NBC News

Rick Santorum speaks at Depot Deli in Shenandoah, Iowa Monday.

CLARINDA, Iowa -- Rick Santorum concludes a three-day swing of Iowa today, making seven stops in the Hawkeye State.

Santorum, who typically focuses his talking points more about himself, spent additional time talking about his GOP rivals and President Obama this trip.

"He has just conceded the Middle East to Iran,” the former senator from Pennsylvania told a crowd about President Obama’s decision to withdraw troops from Iraq. "He owns Iraq now. He owns Iraq,” because the president made a strategic decision there, Santorum said.

Santorum took a jab at Mitt Romney in Glenwood this morning, citing a contradiction in Romney’s stance on same-sex marriage from when he was governor of Massachusetts.

“Now for him to go out and say, I am for traditional marriage, when he went against the law and the constitution of Massachusetts in ordering those licenses,” Santorum said regarding Romney allowing same-sex couples to marry in his state while governor. “I have no idea how he says he will be strong and stand up to judges when in the one major case when he needed to stand up for religious liberty, the constitution, and the law of the land, he sided with judges in favor of same-sex marriage.”

At one point, Santorum even joked about why he rooted for Iowa State University over the weekend. "Rick Perry went to A&M, so that was an easy one," Santorum said.

By the end of today, the former senator will have visited 78 of Iowa's 99 counties. He promises to visit the last 21 by Thanksgiving, a month earlier than he had originally planned.

Although Santorum remains low in recent Iowa polls, his crowd sizes today were promising, and he remains optimistic about his chances here.

“We can win this. I have a lot of faith in the people of Iowa,” he told the crowd at J’s Pizza and Steak House.

Santorum returns to Iowa this weekend.