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Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum Shifts Focus to Missouri

Michael Calhoun
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Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum speaks outside St. Charles Community College on January 30th, 2012. The auditorium was full, so many supporters waited outside to see Santorum. (KMOX/Michael Calhoun)

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum speaks outside St. Charles Community College on January 30th, 2012. The auditorium was full, so many supporters waited outside to see Santorum. (KMOX/Michael Calhoun)

Election Returns

COTTLEVILLE, Mo. (KMOX) – Rick Santorum is shifting his sights away from Florida and to the Midwest, with a speech at St. Charles Community College and an interview with KMOX talk show host Mark Reardon.

“When I stepped off the plane, I thought I was in Florida!” Santorum said, to chuckles from the crowd. “What a beautiful day. I know this is a typical day in St. Charles County in January.”

The room was filled with an estimated 200 supporters, many of them waving signs in support of the Republican presidential candidate’s sick daughter, Isabella.

In his remarks, Santorum didn’t stray far from economic issues.

“I’m happy that our wages are more here” compared to those of overseas workers, he said. One of his main proposals was to eliminate corporate taxes on manufacturers and, instead, institute a 35-percent tax on companies’ overseas earnings.

He also touched on the need for public school reform and more community college programs. On the matter of human rights, working conditions and piracy in China, Santorum said that he would enforce existing laws and regulations.

The audience gave one standing ovation, for his vow to move forward on the Keystone oil pipeline.

Early in the speech, after being overwhelmed by microphone feedback and having the lights in the auditorium go dark, Santorum joked that perhaps the Obama administration was at work.

While shaking supporters’ hands, he told reporters that he does not plan to leave the race and that he still believes he could make a showing in Florida. He did not mention Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich by name, adding that “we can do better than the politics we’ve seen in this race.”

And he indicated that Missouri is important.

“The values of the people here and of the voters in the primary are very constant with our values. We saw that just north of the border in Iowa, and we think the strong Midwestern values are going to reflect well on us,” he said.

Missouri’s primary is next Tuesday, but the state’s delegates will be decided by a caucus on March 17th.

Outside were several dozen supporters who did not make it into the college auditorium. Santorum grabbed a bullhorn and gave them a brief pep talk, listing off some upcoming states with primaries and vowing to give it his best effort.

Santorum was scheduled to attend a town hall meeting in Nevada at 7:30 p.m. on Monday.

KMOX © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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