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Rick Santorum: Ron Paul is ‘disgusting’

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Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum dropped the gloves against Texas Rep. Ron Paul this morning.

“Ron Paul is disgusting,” Santorum told a handful of Fox News reporters Tuesday morning.

Santorum has been gaining on Paul in Iowa polls heading into today’s Iowa caucuses. He blamed the Texas congressman for robocalls running in the state that claim Santorum supports abortion rights and opposes gun rights.

Charlie Riedel

AP

Republican presidential candidate former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks at a campaign stop at Pizza Ranch in Boone, Iowa, Monday, Jan. 2, 2012.

It’s a page from the playbook of former House speaker Newt Gingrich , who has been lambasting his rivals for going negative.

Paul, meanwhile, has aggressively attacked his rivals in ads. And on Monday Paul called Santorum “very liberal ... ”He spends too much money. He wasn't leading the charge to slash the budgets and vote against big government.”

The Paul campaign would not confirm or deny releasing the calls without hearing one, but campaign chairman Jesse Benton told The Fix, “it sounds like Rick Santorum can't take the heat and is wilting under scrutiny.”

The other Republican candidates have kept Paul at arm’s length, criticizing his iconoclastic views on foreign policy and drug legalization. Gingrich said that he would not support Paul as the Republican nominee. But Santorum’s comment is a more personal attack then we’ve seen before. It must be caucus day.

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