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Santorum After Ames Boost: ‘Voters Rallied Around Our Message’

While many strategists have predicted over the last week that the Ames Iowa straw poll would come down to Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Rep. Ron Paul or former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, the fourth place finish seemed up for grabs. For a campaign frequently self-identified to be depraved of mainstream media attention, Rick Santorum's fourth place finish in Saturday's Iowa straw poll comes as a major victory for the former Pennsylvania senator and his supporters. WSJ reports on the strong social conservative's biblical reaction to Saturday's results:

“'All I can say is I feel very good looking at the people above,' Mr. Santorum said, calling himself 'the fine wine candidate,' as in, 'we will age very well.'

And the other candidates? He said he had a good quip but it would get him in trouble. Suffice it to say, 'there are other vintages,' he concluded.

'You know what? David went in with Goliath and didn’t do so bad.”

Santorum said Saturday morning that a fourth or fifth-place finish would be enough to keep his campaign afloat.

"If we can crack the top five, maybe even fourth, that would be a good finish for us,"

In Santorum's speech in Ames this afternoon, the Republican presidential hopeful said he'll never back down from his focus on social issues, including opposing abortion and fighting gay rights.

Santorum said the GOP has to be about more than just cutting taxes and spending, going on to point out that those who want to ignore social issues don't understand the party and they don't understand Iowa.

Santorum told activists at the straw poll that "I will not back down" on pushing those hot-button issues. Santorum says his candidacy has been written off by much of the media. But he says he's campaigned for the state's leadoff caucuses more than any of his GOP rivals and will continue to do that.

Santorum has made more trips to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina than most of the other 2012 Republican presidential candidates. Following Saturday's encouraging finish, the Santorum campaign released a statement entitled 'Santorum Momentum Builds':

"The press and pundits had written us off and chose to ignore our message. But voters rallied around our message, that America will be great again if we elect a President who has the record of results through proven leadership. Today, the people of Iowa sent shock waves through the political establishment and our success though does not end here in Ames today, but moves forward to the Caucuses and beyond."

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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