Republican candidate Rick Santorum says he feels “called” to run for president.

“You run because you feel like this is what you’ve been called by your country and by your God to do…and looking at the state that our country is in, I just felt like I needed to do something,” Santorum says. “I couldn’t sit on the sidelines.”

And Santorum is suggesting Iowans may want to skip over candidates who are “hiding” from the Iowa campaign trail.

“It should not go unnoticed that Governor Romney has decided he doesn’t want to participate in the Straw Poll and that Governor Huntsman who’s, you know, put a couple million dollars in his own campaign doesn’t even want to participate in the Iowa Caucuses,” Santorum says.

Huntsman is the former governor of Utah. Romney is the former Massachusetts governor who won the August, 2007 Iowa GOP Straw Poll and finished second in the 2008 Iowa Caucuses. Romney has out-raised his competitors for the 2012 presidential nomination and has more than $12.5 million cash on hand. Santorum has not released his latest fundraising tally. 

“We’ll wait and see if money is the determiner,” Santorum says. “If it was last time, you know, (Romney) would have been the nominee of the party.” 

Santorum made his comments Wednesday to a crowd of about 50 people in Cedar Falls.  

(Reporting in Cedar Falls by Scott Fenzloff of KCNZ Radio; editing by Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson.)