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Santorum says Romney isn’t right

Romney responds by promoting work in business and Washington.

Rick rips romneys right at cpacEnlarge
Presidential candidate Rick Santorum arrives on stage with his family to address the 39th Conservative Political Action Committee today in Washington. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Without ever mentioning each other by name, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney jostled for position today by courting votes at CPAC in Washington.

Santorum called Romney’s background into question, calling his support of health-care reform in Massachusetts a “stepchild” to President Obama’s initiatives.

“We always talk about appealing to moderates,” Santorum told an appreciative crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference, CBS News reported. “Why would an undecided voter vote for the candidate that the party’s not excited about? We need conservatives to rally for a conservative, to pull with that excitement moderate voters, and to defeat Barack Obama in the fall.”

Romney answered by promoting his work in business and Washington, taking aim squarely at his new chief rival.

After two straight caucus wins in Florida and Nevada, Romney finds himself needing an edge against the hard-charging Santorum, who won Colorado, Minnesota and the Missouri primary.

“I fought against long odds in a deep blue state, but I was a severely conservative Republican governor,” Romney said, according to USA Today. “I have been on the front lines and I expect to be on the front lines again.”

Both are preparing for Saturday’s caucus in Maine.

More from GlobalPost: Santorum celebrates the only way he knows how

Santorum, while getting a supportive cheer from the audience, further drifted into controversial areas, however.

He said “this politicization of science called man-made global warming” is an attempt for government to gain further control over Americans, the Washington Post reported.

“They scare you to intimidate you to trust them and give them more power,” Santorum said.

He also called into question a recent announcement allowing women to take greater roles in combat.

He was forced to explain later on ABC News what he meant by “emotions” playing a role with women on the front lines. He backtracked by saying it would be men who would react emotionally to protecting women.

“So my concern is being in combat in that situation instead of being focused on the mission, they may be more concerned with protecting someone who may be in a vulnerable position, a woman in a vulnerable position,” he told ABC News.

But then he questioned a woman’s ability to weather difficult physical situations.

“You throw on top of that just simply physical strength and capability and you may be out there on a mission where it’s you and a woman and if you’re injured, the ability to transport that person back. And you know, there’s just, there are physical limitations,” Santorum said.

Romney attempted to remain focused on his experience.

“Leadership as a chief executive isn’t about getting a bill out of subcommittee or giving a speech – it’s about setting clear goals and overcoming constant adversity. It’s about sharing credit when times are good and taking responsibility for failure,” he said, USA Today reported.

More from GlobalPost: Santorum sweeps, Romney weeps

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120210/santorum-says-romney-isn-t-right