Nightly News   |  January 04, 2012

Santorum surged in spite of bare-bones campaign

Rick Santorum had a strong finish in the Iowa caucus, but he still faces an uphill climb. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> became about the money and the organization he will need. as they say in the big leagues , welcome to the nfl. andrea mitchell is part of our team that traveled overnight from iowa to new hampshire. andrea, good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, brian. rick santorum today had a bare bones campaign and despite that managed to surge to a virtual tie, but now he's got to prove he can really deliver. [ applause ]

>> oh, you're doing it!

>> 99 counties. 381 town hall meetings . 36 pizza ranches. [ laughter ]

>> reporter: a your ajourney in a pickup truck, not a fancy campaign bus . for months almost nobody showing up. santorum seemed at time it is rodney dangerfield of candidates, having to clamor for attention.

>> i know those of us at the end don't get a lot of questions.

>> reporter: partly the blue collar appeal he said makes him more electable than mitt romney . it's how he got to the senate from pennsylvania .

>> i won because i went out and worked in the communities like i grew up in. butler, pennsylvania , a steel town.

>> reporter: in the house, then the senate for 16 years, santorum lost re-election in 2006 . partly because he was too conservative for pennsylvania on social issues. but his life story , seven children including a special needs child, was perfectly in tune with iowa's evangelical voters.

>> there is another little girl who's not here tonight. she's our little angel . that's isabella maria.

>> reporter: he connected when he defended their decision to bring home another child, a premature infant who died in the hospital william.

>> we brought him home, showed him to our children. we wanted them to know they had a brother and who he was.

>> reporter: already santorum 's unscripted style is forcing a change in the romney campaign. the romney staff quickly pulled uh down their candidate's teleprompter for romney 's appearance moments later. now he could be a real threat. santorum will face a barrage of attacks from republican rivals and democrats. to scare south carolina republicans democrats already dredged up this old santorum ad.

>> i'm even working with hillary clinton to limit inappropriate material in children's video games .

>> reporter: santorum budgeted only $37,000 for tv ads in south carolina and new hampshire compared to romney 's $1.5 million in those states. tonight santorum aides tell nbc news they raised $1 million in the last 24 hours alone. they hope that's the start of a truly competitive campaign. brian?

>> andrea mitchell , part of our team on the ground in