POLITICS

Rick Santorum Takes 'Long, Long' View After Last Place Finish In Nevada

02/05/2012 10:07 am ET | Updated Feb 05, 2012

WASHINGTON -- After finishing in last place in the Nevada caucuses on Saturday, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) laid out his strategy for the remainder of the Republican presidential primary contest on Sunday.

"This race is a long, long way from being over," Santorum said on "Fox News Sunday" in response to a question from host Chris Wallace. "We believe if you look at the national polls, our numbers are moving up continually."

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won the Nevada contest with 48 percent of the vote. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich came in second with 23 percent, and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) finished third with 19 percent. Santorum, who didn't do much campaigning in the Silver State, garnered just 11 percent of the vote.

But Santorum cited a recent Rasmussen poll that shows him beating Barack Obama in a national contest by 1 percent, and he dinged the leading candidates as "flawed." The Gingrich campaign, Santorum said, is "not up to the task," and Romney's top talking point -- that he has private-sector experience -- doesn't qualify him to lead the country.

"All he talks about is being a CEO, being a CEO, and being a businessman," Santorum said of Romney. "I am not sure that is the best qualification for being president of the United States. ... I don't believe the president runs the economy. He creates an environment of he can work with Congress to improve the atmosphere, but the president of the United States is commander in chief and executes the laws and tries to motivate the American public to make changes that are necessary. It's not necessarily a CEO position.

"And Governor Mitt Romney doesn't create the contrast we need to beat Barack Obama," Santorum continued. "We give away the health care issue if Mitt Romney is the nominee. We give away cap and trade. We give away the Wall Street bailouts. All of these big government interventions in the private sector and you would think that a CEO businessman would oppose the government intervention at the obtrusive level that they are. He sided with big government, not with business. Again, he undermines his own credibility."

On Tuesday, Republicans will vote in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri. Santorum said he'd do better in the upcoming contests because the other campaigns' organizations won't be as strong as they were in the first five primaries and caucuses.

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