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Santorum predicts first or second in every Super Tuesday state

Completing a two-day Southern swing that wrapped up in Newt Gingrich's home state of Georgia, Rick Santorum predicted Thursday that he will win or place in each of next week's primary contests. 

"We're going to do well in every state," he told supporters at an Atlanta-area rally in an airplane hangar. "First or second, every state, right?"

(Of course, as readers and Twitter followers remind, Santorum isn't on the ballot in Virginia -- just Mitt Romney and Ron Paul are.)

The former Pennsylvania senator leads by a wide margin in Tennessee, where he campaigned yesterday, while Gingrich bests him by double digits in the Peach State. 

He implored Georgians to take his side in the state, hinting that a vote for Gingrich would ultimately be a boost to "moderate"  Romney, whom he says would follow in the footsteps of failed general election candidates like Bob Dole and John McCain

"Georgia needs to be a part of transforming this race," he said. "The good people in this race, people I admire, but this race is narrowing down and we need the people of Georgia to stand with the conservative to make sure that the Washington establishment doesn't again give us another moderate Republican who will not motivate our country and who will lose this election in the general election." 

Santorum also took aim at Romney for what critics called a high-speed flip-flop yesterday on the so-dubbed Blunt amendment, a measure pegged to the controversy over federal funding for mandated contraception coverage. 

After telling an Ohio radio host that he was "not going there" on an issue he said should be made by families, Romney's team quickly clarified that their candidate did support the bill and that he had been confused by the wording of the question that prompted his answer. 

Santorum appeared unconvinced by that explanation, telling supporters that "after [Romney's] consultants talked to him and then he came back, ‘Oh,' he said, ‘I didn't understand the question.'  Well, maybe he did and maybe he didn't." 

The Blunt measure narrowly failed in the Senate today. 

*** UPDATE *** The Romney campaign passes along this response: “Washington insider Sen. Santorum’s ‘gut reaction’ is to ‘take one for the team’ instead of standing up for what he says he believes in," Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said. "Rick Santorum plays for Team Washington, while Mitt Romney’s team is the American people.”