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Iowa Catapults Santorum into Presidential Race

(Credit: KDKA)

(Credit: KDKA)

Jon Delano Jon Delano
Jon Delano is a familiar face on KDKA-TV, having been the station's...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Iowa Republican caucus voters gave Rick Santorum’s campaign for president a huge boost.

“It was vintage Santorum,” says Allegheny County Republican chairman Jim Roddey.

Roddey told KDKA Political Editor Jon Delano that Santorum specializes in coming from behind.

Delano: “Why do they underestimate him?”

Roddey: “Usually he doesn’t spend a lot of money. He doesn’t have a big flashy campaign. It’s usually a door to door, grassroots kind of campaign, and he works behind the scenes.”

Santorum came within just eight votes of beating Governor Mitt Romney.

“It feels great that the people of Iowa responded to a message of, ‘Let’s build this economy from the bottom up,’” Santorum told KDKA Radio this morning. “Let’s put everybody back to work, not just those on Wall Street but folks who built this country.”

Roddey says Santorum is the latest weekly flavor.

Roddey: “It was Rick’s time to come to the front.”

Delano: “But can he last?”

Roddey: “I don’t know. It remains to be seen in both New Hampshire and South Carolina.”

Santorum is confident and he credits this region with making it all possible by first electing him to the House and Senate.

“I wouldn’t be here and have this opportunity to speak for a lot of folks whose values I share, and I think there traditional American values.”

Santorum is now off to New Hampshire with his strong socially conservative message critical of government.

“We sort of stand on the sidelines and don’t do anything to support marriage, support families, support the kind of society that gives us the best chance of keeping government limited,” Santorum said today.

Roddey, who has already endorsed Mitt Romney, is not sure Santorum’s pro-life, pro-family, pro-faith campaign will work everywhere.

“It’s an important part of the Republican Party, but it’s not as important in every state as it is in Iowa,” says Roddey, “and I think New Hampshire will be a very different animal.”

But Santorum has a different take.

“New Hampshire people understand that. That’s not Christian conservative. That’s understanding that values are not a separate issue in society — that people’s morality is detached from every other aspect of life.”

But Roddey worries that Santorum’s approach will not attract independents and Democrats to the Republican candidate.

“He lost a campaign here in Pennsylvania because he was far too strident and because he was far too dogmatic about his beliefs. He just didn’t leave room for any disagreement at all.”

But Santorum says he’s just reflecting his Pittsburgh roots of faith and family.

“I am hopeful that that message that I learned growing up in southwestern Pennsylvania will be the values that will be reflected on the national ticket.”

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