Santorum kicks off Pa. campaign in Carnegie



The clouds of Tuesday's three primary losses failed to darken the outlook of former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum as he expressed optimism for his presidential campaign during a lunchtime stop at a Carnegie diner today.

"I feel very, very confident that there's a lot of strength and support in Pennsylvania," Mr. Santorum told reporters a day after former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney defeated him in Republican primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

Mr. Santorum has shifted his attention to the April 24 primary in Pennsylvania, which he represented in Washington for 16 years.

Santorum kicks off Pennsylvania campaign in Carnegie

Rick Santorum stopped at Bob's Diner in Carnegie to talk politics as he continues to pursue the GOP presidential nomination. (Video by Amanda King; 4/4/2012)

"We're going to be all throughout the state over the next three weeks," he told reporters during an impromptu press conference in the parking lot before leaving. "We'll take a little time off for Easter, give [the staff] a chance to go home, be with their families over the holidays. But we're going to get out on the trail and work very, very hard here.

PG VIDEO

"We ran that kind of campaign when we ran for the Senate. You know, I hit every county, every year when I was in the Senate. Folks will see me and get a chance to interact."

Mr. Santorum's stop at Bob's Diner attracted an estimated 100 people -- including the throng of local and national media that accompany one of the leading candidates for a presidential nomination.

"We support all the candidates and they're all welcome," said diner owner Bob Marshall, who sat with Mr. Santorum and his daughter, Elizabeth, during their meal.

"It brings some attention, not only to my business, but I think it brings attention to the borough and to Western Pennsylvania. He's a big part of Pennsylvania, and he needs Pennsylvania."

Claire Giancola, 31, of Robinson, brought her three young children -- Isabel, 6, Andrew, 3, and Emily, 1 -- for a lunch of chicken fingers and fries and the chance to meet a man who might become president.

"I think he can do it. I think he's going to win Pennsylvania and keep going from there," said Mrs. Giancola, a lifelong Pennsylvania resident who met Mr. Santorum when she was a youngster.

"He's my favorite politician. My husband and I have been saying for years that if we could pick a person to be president, it would be Mr. Santorum, so we were thrilled when he decided to run."

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Dan Majors: dmajors@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1456. First Published April 4, 2012 10:30 AM


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