Rick Santorum told Pennsylvania delegates that this fall's debates will be crucial and he predicted that they could count on Mitt Romney to take an aggressive approach to President Obama.
"I debated Mitt Romney. I can tell you, he is no John McCain. He is not going to pull punches,'' said the former presidential candidate. "He is going to go right back at Barack Obama just like he went right back at me,'' he said.
While praising the man who defeated him in the primaries, Mr. Santorum appeared to question the tactics of the last GOP nominee.
"[It] is going to be a blood bath, and that's what we need,'' Mr. Santorum told the delegation as they tackled their eggs and coffee. "I know all of us, four years ago, just pulling our hair out, four years ago because, why don't you just stand up to the fraud of what his man believes in, who he, is what he wants to, and what he has been doing to this country.''
"I know how important these debates are, they were everything the primary ... people paid attention.''
This fall, he said, "They're going to watch these debates. Watch Mitt Romney. He will do us proud. He will do us proud tonight, we need to step up in Pennsylvania.''
Whether a reflection of their interest in the former senator, or a measure of how late the delegates had been out partying the night before, the turnout for the breakfast was noticeably smaller than it had been the day before when New Jersey governor Chris Christie addressed the Pennsylvanians.
Mr. Santorum was followed by Gov. Tom Corbett, who denounced the president's energy and environmental policies.
"Barack Obama is trying to put Pennsylvania out of business,'' he charged.
Mr. Corbett told the delegates what they had heard repeatedly from the DoubleTree Hotel stage this week, that, polls to the contrary notwithstanding, Pennsylvania remained in play in the presidential race. He also urged them to work to defeat Sen. Bob Casey, although he didn't mention the name of Mr. Casey's opponent, businessman Tom Smith.