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CNN - Santorum on popcorn, candidates and Obama

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Location: Stuart, FL

By Adam Aigner-Treworgy

Speaking on the baseball field here at Community Christian Academy, Rick Santorum reacted to his Monday night debate performance in Tampa by arguing he had risen above the fray.

"I felt for awhile, I have to tell you, that I should have been selling popcorn for awhile because you know the two candidates out there going at each other," the former senator said Tuesday of the lively exchanges between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich during the debate. "Which just really points out the fact is we need to make this campaign against the president of the United States - about the worst president this country has ever seen, Barack Obama."

Repeating many of the arguments he made Monday night about his opponents' past support of health insurance mandates and the Wall Street bailouts, Santorum continued to work on convincing Floridians that he's the only candidate able to provide a clear contrast to Obama.

While Romney was giving an in depth "pre-buttal" to the president's State of the Union address Tuesday, Santorum only made a passing reference to the address, but he used that reference to lay into Obama's record in the White House.

"The president is going to give the State of the Union address tonight," Santorum said, pausing to allow the crowd to boo. "And what is the state of the union? Well, you are going to hear a bunch of flowery rhetoric and all this stuff about all the things he has done. But what he has done -- he has grown the tax burden on the American public through Obamacare, through Dodd Frank and through other bills.

"He has grown the size and scale of government to an unprecedented level. He has grown the deficit in this country to absolutely immoral lengths. He has increased the debt of this country to now the debt equals the entire size of the economy. He has lowered our bond rating. He has had double digit unemployment for the first time in decades in this country.

"He has governed over a housing market that he has continued to allow to decline and decay because he won't use free market principles to turn it around. This is a president who bailed out Wall Street, who is trying to take over the health care system, who has taken over the banking system., took over the student loan system, took over the auto companies. This is the most activist, big government leftist president that has ever served in this country."

Addressing a crowd of nearly 200 people seated and standing in the outfield -- many of whom were students at the school -- Santorum tried to focus more on President Obama today than his GOP rivals.

After the event, Santorum was swarmed by local reporters, supporters and a group of Ron Paul supporters -- of whom he said that Paul is "not campaigning here so I guess they don't have much to do."


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