Santorum decries 'smarmy' ads as 'outright lies,' demands removal

Rick Santorum blasted his Republican competitors for a series of commercials and mailers attacking his record in the Senate, calling the ads "gutter politics" and demanding their removal at a campaign stop Friday in Columbia, S.C.

"To have these kind of smear campaigns and these smarmy robocalls where they're out there putting out misinformation without any factual basis behind it, we can do better than this, folks," Santorum said according to the LA Times.

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The former Pennsylvania senator went on to accuse his opponents of hypocrisy.

"Bottom line is what we've seen is absolute hypocrisy on the part of Gov. Romney, who supported earmarks when he was governor; Gov. [Rick] Perry, who supported earmarks and in fact requested 1,200 of them; and Congressman Paul, who supported and actually got earmarks," Santorum said, according to NBC News.

Santorum said Mitt Romney was using his super-PAC "henchmen" to spread "disinformation" and that Romney and Ron Paul were "misrepresenting and outright lying to the people of South Carolina."

"For Gov. Romney's super-PAC to go out and lie to the people of South Carolina that I want to grant felons who are in prison the right to vote, that is simply wrong, factually incorrect," Santorum said.

Santorum, who has struggled to regain momentum after his narrow loss in Iowa, is still the preferred candidate of many evangelical voters in South Carolina. But he said he isn't sure whether the attack ads are influencing the polls.

"I don't know if they're taking a toll or not. To me, it doesn't matter. To me, what matters is putting the truth out there and seeing the hypocrisy that Gov. Romney has engaged in," Santorum said.

Santorum also shrugged off Jon Huntsman's exit from the 2012 campaign and subsequent endorsement of Mitt Romney.

"Moderates are backing moderates. That’s the bottom line. It’s no surprise," Santorum said. "I’m not surprised at that at all, and I anticipated that actually sooner than today."