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Rick Santorum In New Hampshire: Congress Should Take Obama To Court For Recess Appointments

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BRENTWOOD, N.H. -- Rick Santorum, flying high off his personal victory in the Iowa caucuses, met with voters at a nursing home in New Hampshire on Wednesday night, telling them not to settle for a "pyrrhic victory" and to eschew the conventional wisdom of who is "electable."

"Fifty percent of all the money we've raised to date was raised today," he said to loud applause, basking in his finish just eight votes behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in Tuesday's Iowa caucuses.

Santorum met with a packed room of voters and reporters at the Rockingham County Nursing Home for 90 minutes, which included a 10-minute response to a question about Social Security. Santorum took several digs at his fellow candidates -- most notably Romney, the frontrunner in New Hampshire -- but saved his sharpest barbs for President Barack Obama.

Santorum sharply criticized the president for recess-appointing Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau -- although he called it the Consumer Financial Services Commission -- and two Democrats and one Republican to fill vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board.

"When Congress refuses to act and as a result hurts our economy and puts people at risk, I have an obligation as president to do what I can without them," Obama said in a speech in Shaker Heights, Ohio, explaining his actions. "I have an obligation to act on behalf of the American people."

"What the president did was wrong," said Santorum.

"Pretty scary stuff," he added. "I hope that the United States Senate does what they're supposed to do, and they should go and even take the president to court. This is not something that the president should get away with."

One man yelled, "Impeach!" in response.

The labor relations board lost its quorum yesterday as the term of board member Craig Becker came to an end -- essentially crippling the agency that was unpopular with conservatives. Although the recess appointments will probably be challenged legally by business groups, the president's move could allow the board to continue operating without disruption.

Republicans say Obama may have violated the Constitution with his recess appointments, arguing that the Senate was in a "pro forma session" and therefore not technically in recess.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also said Obama's move raised legal questions, adding that the NLRB appointments were "particularly egregious" because the president didn't nominate Block and Griffin until two days before lawmakers left town for the holidays in December.

However, two constitutional advisers to President George W. Bush argued in 2010 that presidents are allowed to make recess appointments despite pro forma sessions, writing, "[T]he Senate remains in 'recess' for purposes of the recess appointment power, despite the empty formalities of the individual senators who wield the gavel in pro forma sessions."

Obama has made 28 recess appointments, compared with 61 by President George W. Bush at the same point in his term, according to the White House.

"I can tell you, you may not agree with me on every issue, and I suspect you don't," Santorum said as an attempt to win over the votes of the people in the room on Wednesday, several of whom told The Huffington Post they were considering backing Romney. "But what you know is that I agree with me on every issue."

New Hampshire State Rep. Randall Whitehead, a Republican from Nashua who has been a Santorum backer for nine months, said he thinks winning the state will be a steep uphill climb for the former Pennsylvania senator. But a "strong showing" would be a victory for Santorum, Whitehead said.

"It's been very frustrating for us to be working so hard for all of these months and have him so low in the polls and not get the recognition he deserved, by the media and in the television debates," Whitehead said. "He had to fight and claw to get a word in here and there. Now, this is just a dream come true. It's full. We're in the middle of nowhere. It's a very cold night out there. It's a wonderful thing."

(Video above via Patch)

The first sentence of this article has been edited for clarity.

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