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Santorum campaign portrays Michigan loss as success

"We were tremendously satisfied with the results last night," said Santorum's national press secretary, Alice Stewart, on CNN's "Starting Point" Wednesday. "We came into a state … that was Mitt Romney's backyard. Tremendous name ID. His father was the governor. Tremendously outspent, more than six to one, and we gave him a run for his money."

Stewart also pointed to the election rules in Michigan, where the state's 30 delegates are awarded on a proportional basis, giving Santorum the opportunity to pick up delegates despite losing the overall contest.

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"This is not about necessarily about who came in first here, it's about who's walking away with the most delegates, and the numbers are still being crunched," she said.

Stewart blamed Santorum's drop in the polls over the last couple of weeks in Michigan on being outspent and out-advertised by GOP opponent Mitt Romney's campaign.

The stakes for Romney in Michigan, a state where he has deep roots and his father served as governor, were higher than in any previous state thus far in the primary contest except for New Hampshire.

Romney also beat out Santorum in Arizona's Tuesday primary, a winner-take-all delegate contest.

When asked if she thought Santorum's losses were a result of controversy surrounding his comments on college education, religion and contraception, Stewart blamed the media for discussing those issues and said the former Pennsylvania senator was focused on the economy, national security and energy on the campaign trail.

"Those are the issues that people listen to, those are the things that they're concerned with, and that is what helped him to come into a virtual dead heat with Mitt Romney in his own home state," Stewart said.

She also defended the campaign's use of robocalls that blasted Romney and urged Democrats to vote in favor of Santorum, saying it was "absolutely not" a mistake.

Stewart said the use of similar tactics might be considered as the campaign moves forward.

"The key is we've always said we need to appeal to conservatives and also Reagan Democrats, and Rick appealed to them as a conservative," she said.