- The Washington Times - Monday, February 27, 2012

Rick Santorum pushed back Monday against Mitt Romney’s constant needling of the former Pennsylvania senator’s “take one for the team” comment during last week’s Republican presidential debate in Arizona, dubbing Mr. Romney the “most liberal guy” in the GOP race.

Mr. Santorum said during the debate that a number of votes he cast in Congress reflected his loyalty to the party rather than his personal preferences. Mr. Romney, locked in a tight battle with Mr. Santorum in the Arizona and Michigan primaries Tuesday, repeatedly has criticized Mr. Santorum’s defense as a failure of leadership.

“I’ll tell you what team I was on. I was on George Bush and the Republican conservatives’ team, and I have a voting record that backs it up — a 90 percent conservative voting record,” Mr. Santorum said Monday in an interview with The Washington Times-affiliated “America’s Morning News.”

“The audacity of Gov. Romney, one of the most liberal guys to run for the Republican nomination, the most liberal guy to run for the Republican nomination in this race … that’s why he’s not doing well here in Michigan. There’s no credibility; there’s no authenticity. He is whatever he needs to be to win,” Mr. Santorum told hosts John McCaslin and Dana Mills.

The former senator, who has won GOP contests in Iowa, Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota, said he was just glad to be in contention in Tuesday’s primary in Michigan, a state where Mr. Romney was born and where his father once served as governor.

“I’m just pleased to be in the race here,” Mr. Santorum said. “This is a state, obviously, it’s where Gov. Romney is from. He grew up here, his family is deeply entrenched in this state, and he won this state going away four years ago. … The fact that we are neck and neck in this race is a real testament to the message of growth.”

He added, “That message is resonating, and hopefully it will put us over the top.”