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Rick Santorum: 'This Race Is Wide Open'

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RICK SANTORUM

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Political observers may have anointed Mitt Romney the current GOP frontrunner following recent polls, but presidential hopeful Rick Santorum says it’s too soon to tell who will win the Republican nomination.

“I think this race is very early. I think this race is wide open,” Santorum told reporters Monday, just hours before he’d face Romney and other 2012 contenders on stage for New Hampshire’s first debate. “You don’t have a candidate that’s, you know, anywhere near a strong plurality. That tells you that this race is wide open and we’re going to treat it that way.”

Santorum swung by a luncheon panel on “issues that matter to conservative voters” at The New Hampshire Institute of Politics, sponsored by The Heritage Foundation, Josiah Bartlett Center and Americans for Prosperity. The former Pennsylvania Senator shook hands with prospective voters and briefly spoke to reporters about his game plan for tonight's CNN-sponsored debate.

“What I found in talking to New Hampshire voters is that people like to hear what you’re all about and want to know more about you and your positions,” Santorum said. “That will certainly be the emphasis, to try to get out my record, my experience and my plans -- and that you can trust what I say is what I’ll do.”

Santorum continued that “one of the most important things to get across” on Monday is his consistency on issues. “I think that’s a real strength for me that is not a strength for some of the other candidates,” he said.

However, Santorum stopped short before naming names when asked which candidates in particular haven’t been reliable.

“I think that’s pretty obvious which candidates have not necessarily been as consistent in the past as I have,” he said.

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