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Santorum: GOP better off with Obama than 'Etch A Sketch' Republican

The Daily Rundown's Chuck Todd talks about Rick Santorum's comments to a crowd of supporters, in which he said President Barack Obama is better than Mitt Romney.

 

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- Rick Santorum today suggested it would be better to stick with President Obama over a candidate that might be "the Etch A Sketch candidate of the future” -- a shot at chief rival Mitt Romney.

"You win by giving people the opportunity to see a different vision for our country, not someone who’s just going to be a little different than the person in there," said Santorum. "If you’re going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk with what may be the Etch A Sketch candidate of the future.”

For the second day in a row, the former Pennsylvania senator brought an Etch A Sketch on the trail as a prop to remind voters of Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom's response to a question about whether Santorum is pushing Romney too far right to win over moderate voters in a general election. "Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes," Fehrnstrom said Wednesday on CNN. "It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again."

The comment gave plenty of ammunition to Santorum and Newt Gingrich, both of whom have made the well-known children's toy a staple of their stump speeches.

Speaking at the USAA headquarters here, Santorum showed optimism about his chances in the delegate rich state of Texas. He told the crowd the primary would not be over by the time the Lone Star State votes on May 29.

"It's the second-biggest delegate prize, and you're going to have an important role. This race will not be over when Texas is coming around," he said.

Santorum's viability hinges on picking up a majority of the 155 delegates that will be up for grabs here. When asked about his path to the nomination, Texas plays a key role.

Still, the GOP hopeful avoided calling on Newt Gingrich to leave the race, though senior campaign advisers have said the former House speaker remaining in the race is cutting into their vote totals and that they would like to receive the former House speaker's support.

Santorum said his campaign has been in contact with both the Gingrich and Romney campaigns, though he declined to give specifics of the conversations.

"I’m worried about being a candidate. I’m not worried about anything else right now,” Santorum told reporters who asked about the nature of the conversations.

Accompanying Santorum on the trail today was billionaire-backer Foster Freiss, who is a chief contributor to the pro-Santorum Super PAC Red, White and Blue Fund. They will attend a fundraiser in Dallas on Thursday afternoon.

*** UPDATE *** The Romney camp responds with this statement from the former Massachusetts governor: “I am in this race to defeat Barack Obama and restore America’s promise. I was disappointed to hear that Rick Santorum would rather have Barack Obama as president than a Republican. This election is more important than any one person. It is about the future of America. Any of the Republicans running would be better than President Obama and his record of failure.”