Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum has been doggedly traveling the state for months, inviting Iowans to make an “in person evaluation” of his candidacy.
“Iowa has a special obligation this time around because was it not for Iowa, we wouldn’t have the president we have today,” Santorum often tells audiences, “so you gave us Barack Obama, now it is you opportunity provide the antidote to Barack Obama.”
During a recent appearance in Des Moines, a Principal Financial employee praised Santorum for his “diligence” in visiting all 99 Iowa counties.
“I applaud that,” the man told Santorum and the candidate replied that his travels had been “a lot of fun.”
The man shot back: “Depending on the county. Just kidding. I’m not running and I can say that.”
The audience started laughing and Santorum replied: “Some of the counties, you think, ‘Why would you want (to go there)?’, have been some of the more interesting places to go.”
Santorum recounted his visit to Kay’s Kafe in Corning for a meeting with five potential caucus-goers. In the middle of the conversation, a Time magazine reporter who is the author of the book “Primary Colors” walked into the room.
“That’s just Iowa. I mean, you can be in this little town in the middle of nowhere in the eyes of the world and, you know, it’s where things are happening,” Santorum said. “It’s where America is making their decision, right here, starting here.”
Santorum is the only candidate in the race to have the endorsement of a statewide elected official. First-term Secretary of State Matt Schultz, a former Council Bluffs city councilman, backed Mitt Romney four years ago.
Just last week Santorum got a personal endorsement from Bob Vander Plaats, the three-time Republican candidate for governor in Iowa
“He has been a stalwart and a soldier for the sanctity of human life and God’s design for the family in one-man, one-woman marriage,” Vander Plaats said during a news conference.
According to Vander Plaats, Santorum could be the “Huckabee” of 2012. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was the winner of Iowa’s 2008 Caucuses.