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Santorum emphasizes roots in Ohio pitch

 

MIAMISBURG, OH -- On the eve of Super Tuesday, Rick Santorum is portraying himself as the the overachieving underdog who has fought for and sacrificed for every success of his candidacy.

"I come to the people of Ohio as a candidate who shouldn't be here, shouldn't be here if you looked at any political expert and you look at the money that's been spent and the air time that's been given," said Santorum. "But we're here for a reason."

In his first of three stops throughout the state today, the former Pennsylvania senator emphasized his blue collar roots and the tremendous financial disadvantages his campaign has faced versus rival Mitt Romney.


"I'm someone who's been out there delivering that message against all the odds, all of the odds. Outspent in every race I've run in, in every state. Outspent sometimes 6, 7, 8 to 1, as we are in the state of Ohio, as we were in the state of Michigan. By all rights, we shouldn't be in this race. If I had the opportunity to have a 6 to 1 spending advantage, given where we are in this race right now, this race wouldn't be close," he said.

Santorum's lead in Ohio, seen as the biggest prize of all the Super Tuesday states, has been dwindling in recent polls. The latest NBC News/Marist poll shows Santorum with the support of 34 percent of likely GOP primary voters, with Romney on his heels at 32 percent.

Santorum has been criticized for going off message in the days leading up to last Tuesday's Michigan primary, leading to speculation that his lack of focus cost him in the Wolverine State and has cut into his lead in Ohio.

But today, he largely shied away from talking about the social issues that have drawn most of the media scrutiny, and instead focused on the hardships he and his family has face during his quest for the White House.

"I walked away from all of the jobs that I had and all the money that I had. We're living basically spending down our savings. That's not necessarily the best thing to do when you have three kids heading into college in the next couple of years, but this country is worth it," he said.

It is Santorum's family history, as the grandson of a coal miner who grew up outside Pittsburgh, that has helped him resonate with Midwestern voters, and almost allowed him to challenge Romney in Michigan. Those were the points he pushed in his closing argument today.

"Growing up, having to fight for everything you got, is exactly the kind of person that we need to have...You got to earn it. You got to fight for America. And thats how you win this election," said Santorum.