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Santorum on Romney ad: 'Yuck'

 

FLORENCE, SC -- Rick Santorum has only one word to describe the pro-Mitt Romney Super PAC television ad now running in South Carolina and Florida.

"Yuck."

The presidential hopeful said today that the Restore Our Future ad -- which claims Santorum voted to allow convicted felons vote -- is dishonest.  "Now Gov. Romney has taken that and said Rick Santorum is for felons voting, and that is a lie," he told a crowd of nearly 150 people packed into Percy & Willie's restaurant.  "And by the way, I think there is only two states that don't allow that.  And so to go out and mislead the people of South Carolina as to what our record is on this, is just yuck."

Instead, Santorum said he supported a measure that would allow felons who have successfully completed parole to apply to have their voting rights restored.

The former Pennsylvania senator pledged to run a campaign based on integrity that would not "make claims about someone else that aren’t factually based." But he did not rule out going negative, the infamous pledge presidential rival Newt Gingrich made and has since broken.  It was negative ads from the Romney Super PAC that have largely been credited for Gingrich's drop in the polls.

"I know a lot of candidates have been very upset about Gov. Romney and his PAC and what he’s doing attacking, as you know, Gov. Romney and Congressman Paul have been running for now for three states, a pretty hard negative campaign, which I think tells you a little bit about what they think of their ability to appeal to people’s better sides that now they have to go out there and just hammer everybody out there," said Santorum.

"If you do it legitimately that's fine, if you do it legitimately. But repeatedly I think Cong. Gingrich has made the comment, made the point that Gov. Romney has not been accurate in what his assessment is," he added.

With a spike in the polls and yesterday's endorsement from a group of conservative leaders, the Santorum campaign will have deeper pockets than ever before.  The hit from Romney supporters shows he being taken seriously as a contender, but learning from Gingrich's fall in Iowa, there will be increased pressure for him to respond to the negative ads and mailers now beginning to flood the Palmetto State.

"I expect that from Barack Obama I don’t’ expect that from a Republican running for president," said Santorum.

"We are better than that."