Ron Paul: Santorum is "desperate"

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul addresses people inside Warriner Hall at Central Michigan University Saturday evening, Feb. 25, 2012 in Mt. Pleasant, Mich. (AP Photo/The Saginaw News, Brittney Lohmiller) Brittney Lohmiller

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul addresses an audience inside Warriner Hall at Central Michigan University Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012 in Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
AP Photo/The Saginaw News, Brittney Lohmiller
MT. PLEASANT, Mich. - Ron Paul on Saturday laughed off remarks made by fellow GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum earlier in the day speculating that Paul and Mitt Romney have a backroom running mate deal going.

"I don't know what all that meant," Paul chuckled backstage of a rally he held here at Central Michigan University. "No, we've never had a conversation, anything like that ... but he's a family person, I've known him for five years, so it is a little bit different. But I don't agree with [him on] hardly anything, probably."

Santorum has openly speculated that Paul and Romney are working together. He vented his frustration at multiple events on Saturday that "in 20 debates, Ron Paul never attacked Mitt Romney." During last week's debate in Arizona, Santorum said, "I felt like messages were being slipped behind my chair."

Paul admitted to reporters that he's never "volunteered" an attack on Romney during a debate, but said he "answered the questions when they asked me." He said Santorum's sudden gripe about the issue shows that he's "desperate."

As for the Texas Congressman's attack ads, which have been harsh on Santorum but absent on Romney, particularly in Michigan, Paul said that "right now the anti-Romney candidate is Santorum, so I have to get his votes, as I did at one time with Gingrich."

Though Saturday marked Paul's first day campaigning in Michigan, more than 2,000 students and other supporters greeted him with signs and chants at what was billed as a "Soldier, Airmen, and Sailors for Ron Paul" rally. Paul has been polling third in the state, behind Santorum and Romney.

Asked about his expectations, Paul said his campaign isn't shooting for a specific percentage threshold, but bragged that he holds the second-highest number of "firm delegates" so far of any of the candidates.

"I feel good, but I'm realistic," he said. "And this is our first trip up where, so we expect to do well but I don't have any precise predictions. But we have a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of supporters, and I'm encouraged when I come to a meeting like we had here tonight."

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