Santorum: Only a conservative can beat Obama in November

Rick Santorum argued only a conservative can beat President Obama this fall, noting that every time the GOP has picked a centrist for its nominee, the party has lost the White House.

"We want a conservative nominee because that's our best chance of winning. Look at the races in the last 30 years [in which] we nominated a moderate — [John] McCain, [Bob] Dole, Gerald Ford," Santorum said Thursday night in Washington state, according to CNN. "When George [H.W.] Bush ran for reelection back in 1992, after raising taxes and increasing spending. They all ran as moderates. We all lost."

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On the other hand, Santorum added, every time the Republican Party picked a conservative, the GOP candidate won the presidential election.

"Every time we've run as a conservative, we've won," Santorum said. "Why? Because Americans want a choice. If it's a difference between somebody, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, you know what, this country is going to probably ... stick with the person they know. We need to have a sharp contrast. Someone who paints a very different vision for America."

Santorum has staked his presidential campaign on being the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney, who is viewed with suspicion by many on the right. 

The former Pennsylvania senator saw his campaign get a boost with wins earlier this month in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri. He and Romney took their fight to Michigan, where Romney won by three points in Tuesday's primary.

Now they've moved on to the 10 states that vote on March 6, Super Tuesday with Ohio being the biggest prize of them all.

The pro-Santorum Red, White and Blue Fund super-PAC is currently airing a television ad in Ohio making the case that Romney would lose a general-election contest against Obama for being too moderate.