TAMPA, Fla. – Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum clearly has not moved beyond his loss in the Republican presidential race.
Judging by his remarks to the state delegation to the GOP convention Thursday morning, Santorum is still working through the stages of grief. He spent a great deal of time reminiscing about the successes of his primary insurgency, and arguing that his campaign showed the way for Republicans to reach working-class voters – though he did praise Mitt Romney and urge the delegates and party activists to work hard to carry the state.
“We ran a campaign that we won on a lot of fronts, and we rallied people and brought people out,” Santorum said. “It was an amazing effort, I have to tell you.”
He was the last of a series of not-Romney conservative candidates standing at the end of the primary season. Santorum dropped out of the race in mid-April when it became obvious he would be outspent by a huge margin and was in danger of losing the Pennsylvania primary to Romney.
“Do you realize that after we won three states, every primary election since then the exit polls were wrong, they were wrong in every one?” Santorum said. T “Everyone said we were going to lose or not win as much as we did. The worst was Mississippi and Alabama. The Drudge Report reported that Romney won, and we won…What happened? It was going on in state after state after state. Well, we didn't do any polling, we couldn't afford to do any polling, so we didn't really know what was happening. We just kept working.”
After it was over, Santorum said he was meeting with the Romney campaign to offer his help and found that its polling picked up a surge of support for him among voters who went to vote after 5 p.m.
“They were working people, people who couldn't get out of work, who were punching the clock,” Santorum said. “Those are the people we need to reach. They’re the key to this election….so I want to say we are going to dedicate the next two months to get out and talk about those messages…to do my best to try to communicate to those people who are feeling left out – all over the state of Pennsylvania. There’s a lot of ‘em.”