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Reince Priebus Defends Rick Santorum Over Unemployment Rate Comments

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Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus expressed his support Tuesday for Rick Santorum, who said Monday that he doesn't "care what the unemployment rate's going to be," a statement he quickly clarified.

When discussing health care and the economy Monday in Moline, Ill., the former senator said, "I don't care what the unemployment rate's going to be. It doesn't matter to me. My campaign doesn't hinge on unemployment rates and growth rates. There's something more foundational that's going on here."

He told reporters minutes later, "Of course I care about the unemployment rate. I want the unemployment rate to go down. But I'm saying my candidacy doesn't hinge on whether it goes up and down. Our candidacy is about something that transcends freedom. It's not about Governor Romney's idea that he's going to fix the economy."

Priebus agreed with the sentiment Tuesday on CNN. "But I think that Rick Santorum's right. This election is about big things. It's about liberty and freedom. And we've got the two-year anniversary of Obamacare, that's coming," he said.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney seized on Santorum's comments Monday, saying, "One of the people who is running also for the Republican nomination today said that he doesn't care about the unemployment rate." He continued, "It does bother me. I want to get people back to work. I am concerned about those how are out of work."

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