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Santorum mixes academia into campaign trail pitch

By Philip Elliott

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Jan. 16 2012 1:31 a.m. MST

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum speaks in the Faith & Freedom Coalition Prayer Breakfast at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012. Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry also spoke at the event.

The Sun News, Janet Blackmon Morgan, Associated Press

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — Rick Santorum is running for president but his campaign speeches can sound like he's working toward tenure.

The Pennsylvania Republican quotes Irish statesmen and French historians. He traces word origins and explains Islam to the Christian conservatives who have great sway in South Carolina's GOP presidential primary. He recommends books, cites academic studies and doesn't shy from footnoting his own unscripted remarks. At times, Santorum's events more closely resemble a somber college lecture than a raucous political rally.

A long-time footnote in the race, Santorum is relishing his new relevance ahead of Saturday's first-in-the-South primary. His strong finish in Iowa elevated him for the moment as the chief conservative rival to Mitt Romney but he stumbled in the New Hampshire primary. Now he's looking to rebound in conservative South Carolina.

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