Santorum goes to dinner and comes up with a win

Posted: May 10, 2011

Woody Allen once said that "80 percent of life is showing up."

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum sure believes it. He was the only potential presidential candidate to accept the South Carolina GOP's invitation to its annual Silver Elephant fund-raising dinner Friday, a day after the first debate of the 2012 primary campaign.

The diligence paid off: Santorum crushed the opposition in a straw poll of dinner attendees. He took 150 of 408 votes, or 37 percent. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was a distant second with 15 percent (61 votes).

"America was founded great," Santorum said Monday on Fox News' Glenn Beck Show, reprising the message he carried to the South Carolina activists. He was blasting President Obama's recent pronouncement that the nation "wouldn't be great" without Medicare, Medicaid, and unemployment insurance.

In the straw poll, businessman Herman Cain was third, with 44 votes. Donald Trump got 29; Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Gov. Christie - who says he won't run – each won 22 votes. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich received 16 votes, the same as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas got eight votes; former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty had seven. Sarah Palin? She got six votes.

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