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Rick Santorum: I Feel 'Absolutely No Pressure At All' To Drop Out Of The Race

AP/The Huffington Post   First Posted: 01/22/2012 9:37 am Updated: 01/22/2012 11:56 am

WASHINGTON -- Rick Santorum says he's under no pressure to quit the GOP presidential race so conservative voters can coalesce around Newt Gingrich.

"Absolutely no pressure at all," he said on CNN. "I think people realize that Mitt Romney is now no longer the inevitable."

The former Pennsylvania senator told CNN's "State of the Union" that his campaign is building momentum even after a third-place finish in South Carolina. He says he expects to run well in Florida's Jan. 31 primary.

Santorum said the suggestion that conservatives will have to coalesce to beat former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is "objectively false."

Santorum pointed out that he beat Romney in Iowa and says Gingrich "smoked him here in South Carolina."

However, Santorum criticized Gingrich as a "high-risk candidate." "Not only is he wrong on the individual mandate, in other words government-mandated health insurance, which he supported for 20 years, he's wrong on the Wall Street bailout. He was wrong on global warming. He was wrong on the immigration issue. These are probably the four biggest issues the tea party has, which is really the conservative base of the Republican party now. And Newt's just not in the right place on those," he said. "And I think the more focus as we've now gotten down to three serious candidates, the less attractive I think Newt's going to be," he continued, marginalizing Ron Paul, who finished fourth in South Carolina.

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