Election 2012
3:00 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Santorum Urges Wisconsin Supporters To Vote

Transcript

DAVID WELNA, BYLINE: I'm David Welna in Ripon, Wisconsin. Rick Santorum got a big welcome yesterday from a pair of singing sisters as he campaigned in nearby Oshkosh.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMEN: (Singing) Yes, I believe Rick Santorum is our man. Yes, we believe...

WELNA: Santorum urged the several dozen people who showed up to take the day off from work today, take their friends to the polls and pull off another primary day surprise.

RICK SANTORUM: You have the opportunity to shock the world. Everybody expects that with all the establishment and all of the media singing this song about, well, this race is over, it's over, it's over, less than half the delegates have been voted for. We're not even at halftime in this race.

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: We (unintelligible) Rick! We (unintelligible) Rick!

WELNA: Here in Ripon, supporters lined the curb as Santorum visited what's billed as the founding site of the Republican Party. A contingent of college Democrats from Ripon College belted out a slightly different chant.

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: Don't pick Rick! Don't pick Rick!

WELNA: Don't pick Rick is the same message the Romney campaign's been sending out. Santorum acknowledged he's been outspent by Romney and that Wisconsin's been an uphill struggle.

SANTORUM: No one said this would be easy, when you're going up against the money and the machine. I think it does – it is, it is, you know, it's reflective, you know, it's reflective of the fact that, you know, the way Governor Romney has been able to win states is to drive down turnout by turning off voters and alienating people and getting historically low turnouts.

WELNA: Santorum is telling his supporters that an expected low turnout in this open primary means each vote will count more today. He's gone bowling, eaten cheese curds, and quaffed beer here to bolster his image of a regular guy - the kind rural and working-class Wisconsinites can trust, because today's vote could be the most crucial test yet of his viability.

Michael Biundo is Santorum's campaign manager.

MICHAEL BIUNDO: You know, some polls have us down 10, some polls have us at seven. I think we're going to do well.

WELNA: Still, Santorum has already moved on to his home state of Pennsylvania, girding for its primary still three weeks away.

David Welna, NPR News, Ripon, Wisconsin. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

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