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Santorum Slams Obama & Romney at CPAC, Receives Standing Ovation & Roaring Applause

"It's about government control of your lives and it's gotta stop."

Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, joined by his family, waves after speaking to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, Friday, Feb. 10, 2012. He is joined by his wife Karen at right. His wife Karen stands at his side at right. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Fresh off the heels of his major victories in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri, Rick Santorum sought to solidify himself as the true conservative option during his CPAC 2012 address today in Washington, D.C. Throughout his nearly-30-minute speech, he attempted to convince the audience that he's the candidate who best reflects their values. The Hill's Cameron Joseph called it "one of the strongest speeches of his presidential campaign."

While Santorum didn't mention Romney by name, he did target him for his purportedly moderate stances. Additionally, he slammed the former Massachusetts governor's comments about the poor and dismissed Romney as the candidate with "the most money to beat up their opponent and win the election." Additionally, he denigrated the health care plan Romney implemented in his state as "the stepchild of ObamaCare."

Santorum also had a message for many in the media and in conservative circles who have contended that the race is over and that Romney will be the eventual nominee: Don't fall for the argument that the party "need[s] to compromise" and "do what's politically reasonable and go out and push someone forward who can win."

"We will no longer abandon and apologize for the policies and principles that made this country great for a hollow victory in November," the candidate proclaimed.

"We won in 2010 because conservatives rallied," Santorum said, in reference to GOP victories during the midterm elections. "They were excited about the candidates who were put forth."

Watch Part I of his address, below:

And here's Part II:

Santorum also took Obama to task over the contraceptive mandate (which the president has now amended), telling the audience that it has little to do with women's health. As a result of his words, he received furious applause and a standing ovation.

"This is the kind of coercion we can expect. It's not about contraception. It's about economic liberty, it's about freedom of speech, it's about freedom of religion," he said. "It's about government control of your lives and it's gotta stop."

“Government will own you because you will have to pay tribute to Washington in order to get the care you need for your children,” Santorum said. “The major reason I’m in this race is because I believe Obamacare is a game-changer for America."

In an electoral race that is inching closer to the wire, Santorum's efforts to create a rift between himself and Romney -- the latter of whom many conservatives do, indeed, see as too moderate for their tastes -- may be paying off. The candidate is making a waves across America, as support for him seems to be ramping up. FOX News has more regarding recent poll numbers that show Santorum's increase in viability:

In interviews conducted on Monday and Tuesday nights -- immediately before the news of his victories -- Santorum received the backing of 17 percent of GOP primary voters. That was well behind Romney (35 percent) and Newt Gingrich (26 percent), and slightly ahead of Ron Paul (14 percent).

In interviews conducted on Wednesday and Thursday nights -- after his wins -- Santorum’s support nearly doubled, which put him tied at the top with Romney for those two days at 30 percent. That’s an increase of 13 percentage points. Over the last two nights, Romney also received 30 percent, a drop of 5 points. Gingrich came in at 16 percent, down 10 points. Paul’s support held steady at 15 percent.

Looking at the results from all four nights of this week’s interviewing, Romney retains his frontrunner spot with 33 percent, followed by Santorum at 23 percent, Gingrich at 22 percent and Paul at 15 percent.

Santorum delivered his address just hours before Romney was set to give his pitch to the conservative activists and journalists present at this year's event.

One last thing…
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