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Santorum makes whirlwind trip of states voting Tuesday

 

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -- Rick Santorum began what could end up being a very good day for his campaign emphasizing the importance of the Colorado caucus during the first of three campaign stops in three different states on Tuesday.

Santorum made stops in Colorado and Minnesota, which host caucuses tonight, and will end the day in Missouri, where voters head to the polls for a primary.  Signs indicate Santorum could do well in all three contests, possibly even win one, prompting Santorum to stress the importance of the three states and taking shots at other candidates claiming to not compete there.

"Colorado is a state that, four years ago, Gov. Romney won with 61 percent of the vote. He won and he campaigned hard here. He didn't pass it off like he's been doing the last couple of days and saying, 'Oh, well these are just non binding caucuses, they don't really matter much,'" said Santorum here this morning. "Well they mattered four years ago when he came out here and he campaigned in these very same states. You have an opportunity to reset this race, you have an opportunity to put the best person forward that can defeat Barack Obama tonight."

Missouri in particular has been dismissed by candidates and pundits as nothing more than a beauty contest. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will not be on the ballot there, and Tuesday's non-binding primary will be followed by a caucus next month. It's the state where Santorum has the best chance of winning and where Mitt Romney's campaign has downplayed expectations.

Though he may not officially win any delegates today, any victory for Santorum would be a much needed boast for a campaign struggling to remain relevant since a victory in the Iowa caucuses. Winning Missouri would allow Santorum to boast of a head-to-head victory against Romney, since Gingrich wasn't on the ballot. Along with breaking Romney's winning streak, it could help lend credibility to Santorum's argument that he is the best alternative GOP candidate to the former Massachusetts governor.

"We need to have a conservative alternative and my feeling is that Speaker Gingrich sort of had his chance in the arena and came up short in Florida and Nevada and now it’s our turn hopefully to get a one-on-one in Missouri," Santorum said on Monday at the Colorado School of Mines.

While the Romney campaign has been taming expectations with email blasts warning that their candidate cannot win every primary and caucus, Santorum is doing the opposite.

"If you're looking at the polls, today could be a very good day for the conservative cause," Santorum said.