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TSPR Local

O'Malley, Santorum Hold Events in Burlington

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Jason Parrott
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TSPR
Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Former Gov. Martin O'Malley (D-MD) are trying to prove the pundits and experts wrong in the Iowa Caucus.

Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley (D) and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum (R) are on opposite ends of the political spectrum. But they brought similar messages to southeast Iowa this week: they need Iowa residents to prove the pundits wrong and help them shock the political world.

O'Malley visited Burlington for about an hour Sunday afternoon, speaking to about 40 people at a local union hall. He said he's enjoyed his time on the campaign trail because he learned a lot from the people of Iowa, though he said the most common question he has received on the trail might surprise people.

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Credit Jason Parrott / TSPR
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TSPR
Martin O'Malley (D-MD) stumps in Burlington Sunday afternoon

  "They ask, 'How are you going to heal the divisions in our country?,'" said O'Malley, answering, "Which one of us has the best chance? I believe Republicans are not our enemies. They are our neighbors, our families."

O'Malley pointed to his executive experience as Mayor of Baltimore and Governor of Maryland as proof he can do just that. He also said he has the drive to build on the accomplishments of President Barack Obama.

"With new leadership, we can build upon the good things President Obama has done and make our economy work so people can get ahead if they work hard," said O'Malley, "That's what my candidacy offers... a track record of bringing people together and getting things done."

O'Malley touted his 15 strategic goals he would work to accomplish if elected. They include comprehensive immigration reform, debt-free higher education within 5 years, equal pay for equal work, and greater investments in infrastructure.

O'Malley also used his visit to encourage people to not follow what the polls say and to caucus for him on February 1. He said he is gaining in support and just needs more people to buy in.

"There was a poll that had us at 10%, so if we keep increasing at this pace, who knows. I want to do as well as possible. If we beat expectations in Iowa, we can shift the dynamic of this race nationally," said O'Malley.

Rick Santorum put it even more bluntly during a visit to a cafe in downtown Burlington. He told the crowd of roughly 20 that he needs help if he is going to shock the world.

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Credit Jason Parrott / TSPR
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TSPR
Rick Santorum (R-PA) campaigns in Burlington Monday night.

  "I think we just need to break out of the pack," said Santorum. "I'm doing what I can do, local media will pick us up and the folks here who will go out and talk to their friends and neighbors and show up at the caucus. We signed up a lot of people today, including two people who were Democrats who said they would change parties to caucus for us."

Santorum spoke for about 20 minutes on three topics: making the U.S. the #1 manufacturing nation in the world, promoting the benefits of the nuclear family in terms of the economy and education, and taking the fight to ISIS. He touted that he had been mentioned in ISIS publications as an "enemy."

"ISIS knows who I am because I know who they are," said Santorum. "If you want to defeat ISIS, you need to put someone in the White House who has been fighting and understanding and winning by putting sanctions on Iran and sanctions on Syria. People say, 'Why are you in the race?' Because I bring something to the table that no one else does."

Santorum said the pundits might forget that he won the Iowa Caucus four years ago but he said the people have not forgotten, adding that he expects many people to make up their minds that night.

Neither Santorum nor O'Malley is speaking to crowds as large as those drawn by opponents Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders. But they are quick to point out that you don't win in Iowa with big crowds and fancy speeches. They said you win by looking people in the eye and getting them to trust you enough to caucus for them on February 1.