CHARLESTON, S.C. – With less than 48 hours until the South Carolina primary, GOP presidential candidates are hustling about to win over the state's many still undecided, if not conflicted, Values Voters.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum stopped in Mt. Pleasant, S.C., this afternoon to try to convince undecided voters why he is their best option. But before speaking to voters, Santorum presented Family Research Council President Tony Perkins with a sweater vest – now a Santorum trademark.
FRC along with The Heritage Foundation are sponsors of the Values Voter bus tour. Santorum spoke at the bus tour's stop in Mt. Pleasant.
"I would encourage voters to look for core convictions," said Santorum to Values Voters. "It's one thing to talk about values; it's another to live them – to walk the walk. Plus they need to look for someone who is not afraid to lead."
An excited Santorum added, "We had now won one election and can make it two with the help of South Carolinians."
Earlier this morning, Santorum received the good news that Iowa GOP officials have determined that he edged out former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the Iowa caucus by over 30 votes. Moreover, influential evangelical leader, Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, endorsed him this morning.
But Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who bowed out of the Republican race Thursday morning, announced he was throwing his support behind former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
"Today I am suspending my campaign and am endorsing Newt Gingrich for president of the United States," said Perry. "Newt is not perfect, but who among us is. The fact is there is forgiveness for those who seek God. And I believe in the power of redemption for it is a central tenet of my Christian faith."
Gingrich is finding himself being forced to spend some of his precious time answering questions about his second wife, Marianne Gingrich, who is expected to reveal some potentially embarrassing information in an ABC interview that will air after Thursday night's CNN debate.
Undecided voter Karen Wheeler of Beaufort, S.C., is leaning toward Santorum and compared the South Carolina primary to the recent Italian cruise shipwreck. "I think character counts with cruise ship captains and politicians," Wheeler said.
"Would I forgive the captain of the ship who deserted his passengers? Maybe, in time, but I wouldn't want to ever go on a cruise with him at the helm," said Wheeler, insinuating that Gingrich is the captain.