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Santorum: Establishment Republicans are in a ‘panic’

Chris Moody, Yahoo News
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Rick Santorum talks to reporters while campaigning in West Bend, Wisconsin. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

WEST BEND, Wis. -- As more conservative leaders within the Republican Party show public support for Mitt Romney--most recently Rep. Paul Ryan and tea party favorites Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint--Rick Santorum insisted that the endorsements were a sign that the party establishment was in a "panic."

"I think from what you see, there seems to be a panic among the Republican establishment of everybody sort of coming out of the woodwork to say the things they're saying today," Santorum told reporters here Sunday. "It makes me feel like we're actually doing pretty well here in Wisconsin."

Earlier Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stopped short of endorsing Romney during a CNN interview, but said it was time for the primary to draw to a close so the party could coalesce around Romney. "I think he's going to be an excellent candidate," McConnell said. "And I think the chances are overwhelming that he will be our nominee. It seems to me we're in the final phases of wrapping up this nomination.

Santorum responded, saying it was clear that he was making Republicans "nervous."

"A lot of people must be concerned we're going to do really well on Tuesday, so I'm encouraged by all this," he said. "It shows that the establishment is getting nervous."

He added: "I'm confident we'll have a good day on Tuesday."

Santorum had just finished eating lunch with his family at a small brewery along the Milwaukee River, where he washed down a plate of fried cheese curds with three sample sized beers, including a "Feelin' Lucky" Irish stout.

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