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Santorum not concerned about polls that say he's trailing

October 26, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Polls have consistently shown Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum trailing Democratic nominee Bob Casey in his bid for a third six-year term, but the candidate was talking about the influence he would wield if he is re-elected and Republicans retain control of the Senate.

"I can't say that I am," the Republican said when asked if he was concerned about his polling numbers. A Rasmussen poll of 500 likely voters Oct. 5 showed Casey leading the incumbent 50 percent to 37 percent.

"We've been the target of some pretty hardcore negatives on the part of my opponent and some of the very hostile liberal groups out there," Santorum said. "My opponent has not run one single positive ad in this campaign. Not a single one statewide."

"We know in the last couple of weeks (before the Nov. 7 election) people are going to start focusing, not on who the president is, or what's happening around the country, but who they want to represent them over the next six years."

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"Having someone with the ability to get things done for the community ... and is in the position as the future majority whip of the United States Senate to deliver for the area is an important aspect," Santorum said. "I think people are realizing it and that's why the numbers are closing and our people are energized."

Santorum pointed to the ceremony at Letterkenny Army Depot Tuesday marking a $5.5 million improvement to ammunition storage bunkers as one of the things he has helped accomplish.

"People know why they want to vote for me. My opponent has only given them reasons to vote against George Bush if he were on the ballot," Santorum said of Casey, the state treasurer, who will be in Chambersburg on Monday to meet with supporters at the Franklin Fire Co. social hall.

Campaign advertisements also are focusing on national security issues in the remaining days, he said.

"We talk about his position against a missile defense system ... We talk about his position against bunker-busting bombs in case of having to destroy a nuclear capability," he said.

"We have to be energy secure, and China and Cuba are drilling 50 miles offshore, taking oil out of the gulf and my opponent won't let us drill 100 miles offshore. I think that's a legitimate issue," Santorum said.

The candidate also defended his support of warrantless wiretaps to intercept communications from suspected terrorists overseas to people within this country.

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