Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum (Jim Young/Reuters)

LENEXA, Kansas -- Rick Santorum is trying to turn the tables on the Romney camp’s suggestion that it would take an “act of God” for Santorum to come out ahead in the GOP delegate race, telling reporters here at his first campaign event since Super Tuesday that Mitt Romney must now believe that he’s God’s chosen candidate in the race.

“What won’t they resort to try to bully their way through this race?” Santorum asked reporters after addressing more than 200 supporters at a graphics company. “If the governor thinks he’s now ordained by God to win, then let’s just have it out.”

Hitting a familiar theme for his underdog campaign, he cast the dynamics of his race against the former Massachusetts governor as “the man versus the machine -- they’ve got the machine and they’ve got the insiders and the big money, and we’ve got the people.”

And one day after several of his top advisers suggested that Newt Gingrich should leave the race to make way for a two-man Romney-Santorum contest, Santorum told reporters that to the contrary, he supports the former House speaker remaining in the race.

“If they’re doing so, they’re not doing so with my knowledge, let’s just put it that way,” Santorum said when asked about his aides who have called for conservatives to drop their support for Gingrich.

He continued: “Are we asking people who are tea party folks to join us? You bet. Do we want them not to support Newt? Yes. We want them to support me. I want Romney voters to support me; I want everyone to support us. That’s what we’re running for. But no, if someone from my campaign is putting out that message, you’re either misinterpreting it or it’s certainly not coming from me and I don’t support it.”

The event was Santorum’s first since winning three of 10 Super Tuesday states. Gingrich won one, while Romney swept in the other six states, including the hard-fought swing state of Ohio.

Romney’s campaign laid out in a briefing earlier Wednesday in Massachusetts that both Santorum and Gingrich face a tough road ahead to clinch enough delegates to win the nomination.

Gingrich’s camp, meanwhile, has argued that if anyone should drop out, it should be Santorum; spokesman R.C. Hammond took a jab at the former Pennsylvania senator’s record on Wednesday, contending that Santorum is drawing away the “moderate vote” from Romney.

While Santorum senior adviser John Brabender and other top supporters have suggested that now is the time for conservatives to coalesce behind Santorum, the candidate himself has repeatedly stopped short of doing so.

“I’m not saying I don’t want him to get out. If he wants to get out, I’m all for him getting out,” he said jokingly of Gingrich. “I’m all for Mitt Romney getting out. I’m for everybody getting out. I wish that President Obama would just hand me the thing. But that’s not going to happen.”

Santorum is returning to Kansas on Friday for a pair of events ahead of the state’s GOP caucuses on Saturday. Gingrich, who had previously been contesting the state, announced Wednesday that he instead plans to focus his energy on Mississippi and Alabama, two Deep South states that hold contests next Tuesday.

“I think the fact that Speaker Gingrich decided not to compete here probably gives you an indication of where conservatives are lining up already in the state,” Santorum said. “And if you have conservatives behind you in Kansas, you’re probably doing okay.”