Santorum: Voting for Romney is "malpractice"

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Sunday made the case that Mitt Romney fails to present a sufficiently "stark contrast" to President Obama, and says that if Romney won the nomination he would consider it "malpractice on the part of the primary voters."

"I think we need a stark contrast in this race, and Mitt Romney doesn't do this," Santorum said in an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation."

Blasting Romney as a "moderate-to-liberal governor of the state of Massachusetts," Santorum targeted the presumptive GOP frontrunner particularly for passing health care reform in the state during his tenure.

"The biggest issue that Americans are concerned about is this huge expansion and explosion of health care into 'Obamacare.' And Governor Romney's plan, as much as he'd like to say it's not, was the basis of 'Obamacare,'" Santorum said. "It is an absolute disaster. And to have the two of them up against each other on the issue that Americans are most - care most about, and for us to give away that issue with Governor Romney would be a case of, in my opinion, malpractice on the part of the primary voters in the states to come."

According to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, Santorum is currently tied with Ron Paul for third place in South Carolina, a little less than a week ahead of the state's Jan. 21 primary. The staunch social conservative has attempted to paint himself as the anti-Romney consensus conservative in the state, which is home to a large evangelical population.

"I've been someone who has been a strong, consistent conservative. That's the kind of contrast we need if we're going to take on Barack Obama and make him the issue in this race, not someone who can cloud the issues and make it difficult for us to make that decisive choice," Santorum said.

The candidate maligned the Republican establishment for "talking about the inevitability" of a Romney nomination, and argued that they see him as a "threat to the establishment."

"That's why you haven't seen them line up behind me," Santorum said, of the Republican establishment. "You have seen them line up behind the, you know, the moderate candidate who they would feel comfortable with. Well, America doesn't need someone to be comfortable with, as far as those folks are concerned."

Santorum presented himself as the candidate who could balance the budget, improve the economy, make America safer, and "have a strong moral foundation."

"I bring that to the table," he said.

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