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Rick Santorum on ballot troubles: We’ve had ‘very limited resources’

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Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum on Sunday defended himself against charges made by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s camp that Santorum has “flunked” the campaign organization test, arguing that he had “very, very limited resources” in the early days of the GOP presidential nominating fight.

GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum. (Steve Pope/Getty Images)

“Well, as you know, those delegates had to be filed in Virginia and all the way back in early part of December,” Santorum told Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace when asked about his inability to make the Virginia ballot. “And, you know, look, I’ll be honest, I mean, I was running across the state of Iowa and, you know, sitting in 2 percent of the national polls, with very, very limited resources, you know, we didn’t have the ability to go out.”

Santorum added that he has done “amazingly well for a campaign early on that didn’t have a lot of resources to go out and do things.”

“We got on a lot of ballots that people just thought we wouldn’t, and I feel very good that we got on enough, clearly enough to be able to win this nomination,” he said.

The Romney campaign noted in a conference call with reporters Saturday that Santorum is ineligible for 16 percent of the 391 bound delegates up for grabs on Super Tuesday, noting that the former Pennsylvania senator is missing out on 46 of Virginia’s 49 delegates and 18 of Ohio’s delegates as well as some delegates in Tennessee.

In addition, Santorum will also miss out on 12 delegates in Illinois and 16 in the District of Columbia because he failed to meet certain ballot qualifications.

Santorum, who is vying against former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) for the “anti-Romney” vote in the upcoming Super Tuesday contests, stopped short of calling for Gingrich to drop out of the race.

“I think Newt has got to figure out, you know, where he goes after Georgia and we’re going to see that I think we’re going to do well here in Tennessee,” Santorum said in the interview. “We’re going to do well in Oklahoma. I think we can do very well also in Ohio and North Dakota, I think we will come in second place in a lot of places, too.”

At several points in the interview, Santorum found himself on the defensive – first over his delegate strategy, but then on the question of his own charitable giving.

Asked by Wallace why he had contributed only 2 percent of his 2010 income to charity, compared with 14 percent for President Obama and 14 percent for Romney, Santorum acknowledged that “we always need to do better” but explained that it has been expensive caring for his daughter, Bella, who suffers from a rare genetic disorder.

“I was in the situation where we have seven children and one disabled child who we take care of and she’s very, very expensive,” Santorum said. “We love her and we cherish the opportunity to take care of her. But it’s an additional expense, and we have round the clock care for it and our insurance company doesn’t cover it, so I pay for it. And you know, that’s one of the things that, you know, you have to balance the needs of your immediate family.”

Wallace also asked Santorum about his “snob” comment regarding Obama and higher education, noting that Obama’s position on the issue was nearly the same as Santorum’s – both favor boosting the number of graduates from four-year colleges as well as vocational and technical schools.

“Well, again, maybe I was reading some things that — you know, I’ve read some columns where at least it was characterized that the president said, ‘We should go to four-year colleges,’” Santorum said. “If I was in error, I certainly — you say you haven’t found that. I’ve certainly read that. If it was in error, then I agree with the president that we should have options for people to go to variety of different training options for them.”

Santorum also dismissed criticism of his economic plan, which the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget says would add $4.5 trillion to the debt over 10 years.

“These are these organizations that don’t believe that when you reduce taxes, that you get more economic growth,” he said. “And I just don’t accept the economic models that they use. . . .They don’t use dynamic scoring. They basically say, if you cut things, you’re going to get less money, period. And they don’t accept the facts that the economy is going to grow faster. So, I just don’t accept the premise of their argument.”

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