SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Rick Santorum put Newt Gingrich in his crosshairs for the second day in a row, calling the former House speaker "arrogant" for suggesting that he and Rick Perry should drop out of the race in order to let conservative voters coalesce around the Gingrich campaign.
At an event here this morning, the former Pennsylvania senator criticized Gingrich for saying that "it would be helpful" if Perry and Santorum, two rivals for the same slice of the conservative electorate, dropped out.
"The hubris, and I might even go so far as to say the arrogance, of Speaker Gingrich to suggest that I don't have the experience to run a campaign to win a national campaign, having won four elections in four heavily Democratic districts and states, having defeated two incumbent Democrats," Santorum said, using the same two buzzwords -- "hubris" and "arrogance" -- as he did around the state yesterday.
Santorum noted that Gingrich's Congressional victories came in a heavily Republican district while Santorum won in areas of Pennsylvania that are traditionally less friendly to Republicans.
Santorum referred to more recent electoral victories on Tuesday, saying that he thought it ironic for Gingrich to be calling for his ouster when Santorum fared better than Gingrich based not only on votes but the amount of time and money spent campaigning in each state.
"New Hampshire... Let me see," Santorum said, facetiously racking his brain in front of reporters after an event in Lexington. "Oh yeah, I finished fourth, ahead of Congressman Gingrich who finished fifth even though he had the New Hampshire Union-Leader endorsement and spent millions of dollars in New Hampshire and I campaigned there for five days and spent twenty thousand dollars."
(Santorum actually finished fifth in New Hampshire with 49 fewer votes than Gingrich).
"So I guess that now that you've lost your first two races to me, that I'm the one that should get out of the race because I won the first two races," he said, referring to Gingrich.
The speaker's comments arose later Tuesday night after a business forum in Columbia, where Santorum talked about them for several minutes while waiting for his car outside the hotel where the forum was held.
"Newt's comments are..." he began, shaking his head. "...out of left field. Ugh. I would never ask someone to get out of the race. I mean, where do you come off telling someone that support me after you beat me twice and support me because I'm the better guy and I can win the race."
Santorum also took a shot at Mitt Romney yesterday after being asked to comment on Romney's revealing that his effective income tax rate is 15 percent.
While he did not overtly claim Romney was paying too little, Santorum did say he thought he was paying more than Romney's percentage.
"I don't know what my effective rate of tax is but I'm fairly confident it's a lot higher than 15 percent," he said.