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Santorum on Fox: ‘This race is a long way from being over’

After dismal finishes in the last three presidential nominating contests, Republican candidate Rick Santorum said today that he is looking to Tuesday’s Colorado and Minnesota caucuses to turn the race around.

“This race is a long, long way from being over,” Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, said on Fox News Sunday.

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Santorum came in last in Saturday’s Nevada caucuses, capturing just 11 percent of the vote with 71 percent of precincts reporting. He came in third in the South Carolina and Florida primaries, behind former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. But he has given no indication that he will drop out. Santorum is campaigning today in Minnesota. He goes to Colorado Monday.

Santorum said on Fox News that he believes Romney and Texas Representative Ron Paul had an advantage in the first five contests because both ran for president in 2008.

“Now we’re getting to the states where they don’t have the natural advantage, the time commitment, staff commitment to really build an organization like they did in these first five,” Santorum said. “I think we’re going to do very well here in Minnesota. I think we’re going to do very well in Colorado.” Santorum called Missouri, which holds a non-binding caucus Tuesday, a “key state,” and said he believed he would also do well there.

Paul, on ABC’s This Week, also showed no sign of exiting the race, despite his apparent third place finish in Nevada, with 18 percent of the vote. Paul noted that he will still get some delegates from Nevada. “We will still pursue our plan to go into the caucus states,” he said.

Paul campaigned in Minnesota Saturday and will return Monday. He said he believes there are a large number of people looking for “another option” besides the leading candidates. He said his goal continues to be to energize people and get as many votes and delegates as possible, while maintaining his true beliefs.

On Fox News Sunday, Santorum -- highlighting the case he has been making on the campaign trail -- attacked both Romney and Gingrich for not reflecting conservative values. He said Gingrich looks to government to do too much.

“A lot of the ideas that Newt comes up with, whether it’s a moon colony or personal accounts for Social Security in the face of a $1.2 trillion deficit, are not connected to fiscal responsibility, limited government, and doing things from the bottom up, from a free market and free enterprise point of view,” Santorum said.

Santorum called Romney a “uni-dimensional” candidate. “All he talks about is being the CEO...being the businessman,” Santorum said. He added that Romney “sided with big government” on issues including health care -- where Romney’s Massachusetts health care overhaul included an individual mandate -- and on cap and trade. Romney joined a regional cap and trade energy pact as Massachusetts governor, then pulled out.

Asked about the decision by breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure to revoke funding for Planned Parenthood –- a decision that was reversed after public outcry -- Santorum said the Komen foundation can support whatever it wants. But, he said, “I don’t believe that breast cancer research is advanced by funding an organization that does abortions.” The Komen foundation gives Planned Parenthood money to fund breast cancer exams.

Santorum, who is Catholic, also opposed the Obama administration’s refusal to grant an exemption to Catholic institutions from a requirement that health insurance plans cover contraception. Santorum said the church opposes birth control, and government is violating Catholics’ First Amendment rights.

Shira Schoenberg can be reached at sschoenberg@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shiraschoenberg.
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