Rick Santorum visits Cape Girardeau - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Rick Santorum visits Cape Girardeau

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(Source: Mike Mohundro) (Source: Mike Mohundro)
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS/AP) - Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum made his way to Cape Girardeau for a campaign stop Saturday evening.

He attended the Cape County Lincoln Day Celebration at Ray's Plaza Conference Center, and was the keynote speaker.

In an interview with Heartland News reporter Crystal Britt, Santorum wanted to thank Missourians for their support in his primary victory in the state last month.

"It was a tremendous boost," said Santorum.

He hopes that is the momentum he needs to come out on top during next week's caucuses in the state.

"I think we have the best chance of beating Barack Obama," said Santorum. "We present the clearest contrast and we present a vision for America that is upbeat and hopeful and positive and believes in free people and is not one that believes government in Washington has all the answers."

Santorum spent the earlier part of the day campaigning in Springfield, MO.

At a factory in Springfield, Santorum highlighted his victory last month in Missouri's non-binding primary. He also played up similarities between Democratic President Barack Obama and his Republican rivals, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, on health care and environmental issues. Santorum cast himself as the candidate best able to provide a contrast in the November elections.

For Saturday's visit, the Cape County Republican Women set up decorations all week, and put finishing touches on Friday.

The room had 700 chairs, and each one was filled since the event was sold out.

"I do not think he will be disappointed, by the welcome that he receives here from Cape County because we are very excited to have him and look forward to hearing him speak as our keynote," said Lisa Reitzel with the Cape County Republican Women.

U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson, (R) Cape Girardeau, said she invited Santorum to the event through email.

"I sent him an email to which he responded in an hour I invited him to come to our Cape Lincoln Day, and he said if it could work out he'd love to come and so from that became this big event that we're having," said Emerson. "The thing about Santorum that I like is that he doesn't play to the audience, in other words what you see is what you get, and he doesn't tailor his message accordingly and he doesn't say what he thinks you want to hear and I do think some of the other candidates are like that."

"I just think people want to be able to actually hear him and see him in person, I just think you can relate a lot more to him, like oh my gosh he's here in Cape County, and so we just want to try to make it so that everyone could attend that wanted to as much as possible that's why there's an event after Cape County Lincoln Day as well, to try to accommodate everyone," said Reitzel.

"We sold out tickets so quickly, and had to print more, and we are at capacity right now so I'm really excited about it, and I know others are as well," said Emerson.

Santorum also held a rally at the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport after the Lincoln Day event.

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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