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Government and Politics

Super Tuesday has good and bad for former Pennsylvania Senator
Santorum lost Ohio, narrowly; but declared himself a winner overall
This story is part of a special series.

Tim Rudell
The Nelles family from Weirton, WV. Rebecca, Magdalene (she's 7 months), and Kevin, are supporters of Rick Santorum
Courtesy of Laura Fong
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In The Region:

No where was Super Tuesday’s race for the GOP nomination for president closer than in Ohio.

Before election day, Rick Santorum had declared Ohio a key to his presidential hopes.

And in the hours Tuesday night before Ohio’s vote tipped ever so slightly in Mitt Romney’s favor, Santorum came to celebrate in Steubenville, Ohio. WKSUs Tim Rudell reports.

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Why Steubenville? What drew the former Pennsylvania senator and social conservative to this small city on the Ohio River, one of dozens devastated by the collapse of the steel industry, then beat up some more in the current recession.

Talking to the crowd of about 500 supporters in the auditorium at Steubenville, Santorum explained, “This is where we’re from…this area of south eastern Ohio, West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania, our roots…we’re people worked hard to build this country.”

The economy was a big part of the message from the GOP candidate. But he also wove that message into a bigger message, in which Santorum continued his criticism of what he sees as government’s greatest overreach – the healthcare overhaul. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is the beginning of the end of the end of freedom in America. Once the government has control of your life…they they’ve gotcha.”

In the week before Super Tuesday, Santorum often ignored his chief GOP opponent – Romney – in his speeches. And vice versa. But Tuesday night, Santorum targeted Romney as well as President Obama on healthcare – saying Romney not only passed a similar program while governor of Massachusetts but that he secretly advocated the same for the country.

Santorum said the national health insurance program is part of a government that doesn’t trust its people. But, this is a president who believes that he’s better able to do this than you are. That he will treat people more fairly than you will.

Rebecca and Kevin Nelles came to see Santorum in Steubenville from across the river in Weirton, West Virginia. “Certainly in the larger elections, his stances on life and family and all that play a big role for us.  Yeah, I trust Rick Santorum more than I trust the other candidates.  And I think he has the ability to energize the conservatives so that they’ll get out and vote. And, we win.” 

Although Santorum narrowly lost Ohio on Super Tuesday, he won in all areas of the state, except in the heavily urban and suburban clusters running through Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland. But the strongly Catholic Santorum lost one key constituency – Catholics.

Related WKSU Stories

A crowd waits for Santorum and poll results
Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Santorum, Romney contrast in claims and styles as they stump NE Ohio
Monday, March 5, 2012

Santorum stumps in Akron
Sunday, February 19, 2012

Santorum meets with conservative Christian group
Monday, February 20, 2012

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