Iowa the make-or-break state, Santorum says after debate

All paths to victory for Rick Santorum go through Iowa, the former Pennsylvania senator said Tuesday after the CNN debate.

Asked about his campaign strategy his efforts in the early states, Santorum told reporters in the spin room that Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses was priority No. 1.

"I have to do well in the first state," Santorum said. "If I don't do well in the first state, the third state doesn't matter."

Santorum has consistently focused during the campaign on Iowa, where he hopes his message will appeal to the state's wide swath of socially conservative voters. And in a shot to Herman Cain, Santorum announcing Monday he was adding two staffers to his Iowa campaign, including Tina Goff, who previously headed Cain's Iowa efforts.

Santorum placed fourth in the August straw poll in Ames, Iowa and is hovering around 5 percent in the polls in the Hawkeye State. But even a second or third place finish in Iowa could provide a boost of momentum that would help carry Santorum into the other early states.