The Corner

Santorum Looks Forward

Grand Rapids, Michigan — At Rick Santorum’s election-night party, the mood became subdued as the election results rolled in and it became clear that Mitt Romney had pulled off a win.

But Santorum chose to focus on the positive in the beginning of his speech. “A month ago, they didn’t know who we are. They do now,” Santorum told the crowd assembled, who cheered him on.

“We came,” Santorum continued, “into the backyard of one of my opponents in a race that everyone said well, just ignore, you have really no chance here, and the people of Michigan looked into the hearts of the candidates, and all I have to say is, I love you back.”

Santorum’s speech touched upon many of his key themes — such as manufacturing and market-oriented healthcare — but he also took time to stress how his mother had worked when he was a child, perhaps trying to push back against the media narrative that he opposes working moms. He also struck a curious note on entitlement programs, saying “we will end entitlement programs at the federal level, give them back to the states and cut them dramatically to save money.” His campaign said details on that proposal would be rolled out in coming days.

“We’re thrilled we did as well as we did in Michigan,” says Santorum spokeswoman Alice Stewart of tonight’s results. “This is Mitt Romney’s backyard. He outspent us more than six to one. He’s got tremendous name ID and [he’s] from here; his dad was governor here. Two weeks ago, we never thought we’d be anywhere near this close.”

Santorum, she adds, will stay on course, not making any dramatic changes to his message or organization. “He’s the best retail politician in the race,” Stewart says, noting the campaign plans to visit Super Tuesday states such as Ohio, Georgia, and Tennessee. Policy-wise, she says, Santorum will concentrate on his “Made in America” theme, focusing more on his energy and regulation policies. And Santorum will begin more directly targeting Obama on the trail.

Katrina Trinko — Katrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

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