Former Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan doesn’t think Rick Santorum has a shot at defeating Mitt Romney for the GOP presidential nomination.

I don’t think he’s going to beat Mitt Romney, Buchanan said in an interview with The Hill. “If Romney wins 35 percent [in New Hampshire], who’s going to be able to say he didn’t meet expectations? He wins Iowa when he wasn’t favored initially, and wins New Hampshire.”

Buchanan predicted a quick knockout for Romney after Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary.

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Its almost over, he said. If Romney wins New Hampshire and wins it pretty well, I don’t know anybody who’s won the first two who’s gone on to lose the nomination. And looking at the rest of the field, who’s going to beat him at this point?

Buchanan’s comments are interesting because, as in Santorum’s case, he ran as an insurgent conservative against more establishment candidates in 1992 and 1996, when he pulled off a huge upset in New Hampshire by besting eventual nominee Bob Dole.

But he said Santorum has a much bigger hill to climb in the Granite State than he did, and is a long shot for the nomination.

What Santorum, Gingrich and Perry all wanted desperately was a one-on-one me and Mitt’ showdown,” Buchanan said. Santorum has Newt [Gingrich] up there, [Jon] Huntsman betting everything on the state, Ron Paul, and now [Rick] Perry won’t drop out. They’re siphoning off all these pools of voters who are going for the guy running against the front-runner.

Santorum came within a handful of votes of winning Iowa’s Jan. 3 caucuses, but Romney has worked New Hampshire hard and holds large double-digit leads over his opponents in the New England state, which will hold its primary on Jan. 10.

Buchanan, who like Santorum is Catholic and a hard-line social conservative, said Santorum should focus more on economic issues in New Hampshire to try to close the gap with Romney.

They all know he’s the social conservative — they’ve gotten the message on that, Buchanan said.

I’d hammer on the fact that the middle and working class are the people that have been shafted … I’d just go hardline American working class and middle class: ‘These aren’t the folks who got bailed out, everyone in Middle America is paying the price.’ I’d talk that message of the Occupy [Wall Street] guys that there is inequality. The people of New Hampshire love that and the argument has the ancillary benefit of being right.