Santorum: ‘When We’ve Run Establishment Candidates, We’ve Lost’

January 10, 2012 - 12:28 PM
Santorum 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is surrounded by campaign staff and security as he is heckled by Occupy demonstrators while leaving a campaign rally Monday, Jan. 9, 2012, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(CNSNews.com) In remarks directed at former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the current frontrunner in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania said Monday that the GOP lost past presidential elections when it nominated moderates such as John McCain, Bob Dole, and Gerald Ford.

During a stop at MaryAnn’s Diner in Derry, N.H., on Monday, a reporter asked Santorum how he planned to “fight the assertion that Mitt Romney is electable” and Santorum is not as electable.

“He’s run three times and lost twice. He’s run as a liberal, a moderate, and a conservative. I’ve run five times and won four, and every time in heavily Democratic, overwhelmingly odds against me, and I’ve won four out of those five races. Who’s the most electable?” Santorum said.

“I mean it’s an absurd statement that because a bunch of folks who are giving Mitt Romney money, who want to see the establishment candidate win, when we’ve run establishment candidates run, we’ve lost. We’ve lost with John McCain. We lost with Bob Dole. We lost with Gerry Ford,” he added.

“When we’ve run conservatives, you know, like Ronald Reagan … who went through a tough primary, we’ve been able to win, and that’s what we need. This is a party that understands ultimately that we need a strong conservative voice out there to be a strong alternative to Barack Obama, and we’re that alternative,” Santorum said.

“And over time, it’s not going to be this primary or the next, but we’ll have several races down the road. This field will narrow. It’ll be a one-on-one race, and it’ll be Mitt Romney against Rick Santorum, and we’ll win this race,” he predicted.