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rick santorum in new hampshire Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum speaks to a crowd of voters outside of Homestead Grocery and Deli in Amherst, New Hampshire, on January 7. (Photo courtesy Chloe Conway)

Election 2012: Santorum Pitches Candidacy

Former Senator meets voters, recalls Reagan before New Hampshire primary

By Chloe Conway | January 10 , 2012

Former Senator Rick Santorum has made more than 30 trips to New Hampshire during his campaign for the Republican nomination. On Saturday, Santorum held five events and spent the day speaking to as many people as possible in the southern tier of the state. Most of the campaign stops were town hall-style gatherings and meet-and-greet events.

One of Santorum's stops was at Homestead Grocery and Deli, a small country store in Amherst. He stopped in the deli, grabbed one of their famous sandwiches, and went to work. He greeted about 100 patrons inside the store, then headed outside to meet the crowd that could not fit inside.

The Senator stepped up on a picnic table to deliver his speech. He spoke to a crowd of about 250 people, including undecided voters and media from as far away as Japan and Belgium.

His message to the crowed emphasized the importance of New Hampshire in this election.  

"People in this state are active and involved in politics as any state in this country, Santorum said." That is why I have always defended New Hampshire as the first-in-the-nation primary. Because you take this responsibility seriously and you step up and lead when your country needs you. And I remind everybody who says, well, 'New Hampshire is politically more to the center than you are,' that we stand up for the Reagan principles. We stand up for strong national security, limited government, lower taxes, and strong families and faith as a foundation to our country. That is what New Hampshire stands for."

Throughout his speech, Santorum continued to tie the importance of New Hampshire to his message.

"This is the most important election of your lifetime," he told the crowd. "Fundamental freedom is at stake. We have a man in the White House who sees America differently than the people here."

Santorum was speaking about President Barack Obama, of course. He made the point over and over again that it was important for New Hampshire voters to choose a Republican candidate "who is a clear contrast with President Obama."

He also repeatedly recalled the era of Ronald Reagan to emphasize how important the 2012 election is.

"The last time we had a critical election was in 1980 when the economy was tittering and our respect around the world was at a low point," Santorum said. "New Hampshire stood up. Moderate New Hampshire stood up and took bold measures because they knew that's what America needed. So my charge to you is stand up and do what America needs. Think Reagan. Vote Santorum!"

Santorum and the other Republican candidates have faced tough questions from both voters and the media. This Kid Reporter asked the Senator after his event if he thought asking candidates tough, unexpected question is a good thing and if it helps the political process.

"Absolutely. That is one thing I love about New Hampshire, you don't know what is coming at you," Santorum told the Kids Press Corps. "Usually, though, it's high and hard."

ELECTION 2012

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Chloe Conway is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.

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