Santorum calls Romney "very desperate"

Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks during the Alabama Policy Institute 2012 Presidential Candidate Forum, March 8, 2012, in Mobile, Alabama. AP Photo/Eric Gay

AP Photo/Eric Gay

Updated 3:35 p.m. ET

(CBS News) CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - Following a neck-and-neck delegate haul in two states and three U.S. territories in Saturday's caucuses, Rick Santorum called the Mitt Romney campaign's attempt to paint the day as a victory for itself "very desperate for a man who supposedly has it in the bag."

While greeting supporters at an airport hangar here just moments before taking off for Mississippi, Santorum was responding to a reporter who cited a recent email from Romney's campaign that claimed Santorum "fell short of making a dent in Mitt Romney's already large delegate lead." Of the day's primaries, Santorum won Kansas; Romney won Wyoming, Guam, the Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Earlier in the evening, keynoting a Cape Girardeau Lincoln Day Dinner here, Santorum thanked Missouri, whose nonbinding primary last month helped thrust Santorum well into the top tier. The state's official caucus is March 17.

"What happened during the primary here and the caucuses in Minnesota and Colorado, gave the country an opportunity to take a second look," Santorum told about 500 people at Ray's Plaza Conference Center here. "And we have battled since then. Ever since that vote, we have supplanted the other candidates in the race as being the alternative to the establishment candidate. And we have finished first or second in almost every state since.

"We had a good day earlier in the state of Kansas!" he continued to massive applause. "Depending on news reports, we're gonna pick up anywhere from 33 to all 40 of the delegates in Kansas. So when Mitt Romney inaccurately states that I have to win 55 percent of the delegates or something like that in order to win, well, we're off to a pretty good start, aren't we?"

Santorum raised $85,000 on Saturday, his campaign told National Journal/CBS News.

A spokesman also confirmed a story by Politico reporting that many of the conservative leaders who coalesced behind the former Pennsylvania senator during January's South Carolina primary, including James Dobson and Tony Perkins, have pledged to collectively raise $1.78 million for Santorum.

At a subsequent stop on Sunday in Tupelo, Miss., Santorum said he is convinced he can make inroads in Mississippi and Alabama despite Newt Gingrich's strong showings in the South.

"Congressman Gingrich is trying to stake his claim here," he said. "But we think that the folks in Mississippi and Alabama are going to vote for the conservative who represents their values, that can present the best contrast to President Obama, and make the kinds of changes that I think the people in the South would like to see: Limited government and strong national security, someone who has the experience to be commander in chief, someone who's gonna get energy prices down, who's gonna open up the gulf and allow us to explore for oil and gas there more than we are now to get those prices down."

Santorum also repeated his desire to have the GOP contest become a two-man race and expressed confidence he could prevail if the party enters what some consider a nightmare scenario -- a brokered convention.

"The establishment is trying to force a moderate Republican from Massachusetts down the throats of the American people, and if we have to go to a convention, we'll win at a convention. I have no doubt about that," he said.

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