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Monday
Jan092012

Protesters Surround Santorum and Family After Final NH Pitch

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- Rick Santorum had his final rally Monday night before Granite Staters start voting Tuesday morning in the first-in-the-nation primary.

Supporters and press mobbed the candidate as he made his way around the packed restaurant and bar. As he exited his final primary eve event, he was surrounded by a mix of protesters from the Occupy movement and Ron Paul supporters.

As he walked out of Jillian’s in downtown Manchester, his staff surrounded him and the protesters tried to form a circle around the former Pennsylvania senator. They chanted, “Bigot, bigot!” and “Shame, shame!” as he made his way to his car.

Police and security were on hand and during the crush one member of the candidate’s entourage got shoved to the ground, as did one of the protesters.

Santorum smiled as he walked the short distance from the restaurant, but a serious scuffle ensued, and his wife Karen had a frightened look on her face. Two of his children, Elizabeth and Daniel, followed closely behind. His other children, including his 3-year-old daughter Bella, who has a rare genetic condition, are already in South Carolina.

Just minutes before, he gave his closing pitch to supporters, telling them this may be his “ending rally” in New Hampshire, but promised to be back “in the fall as the nominee.”

“This is your moment,” he told New Hampshire voters, before railing into the president.

“If Barack Obama is re-elected, America as we know it will be gone,” Santorum said. “We will be a country that is no longer independent.”

He asked supporters to “go out and vote for someone” who believes in the state motto, “Live Free or Die.”

“This president does not believe and establishment Republicans don’t believe much of it either,” Santorum told the crowd of about 150. “‘You are the ‘Live Free or Die’ state; tomorrow prove it. Go out and vote for someone who believes in that motto … and you will shake up not just this country but this world.”

He said earlier Monday that he would be “ecstatic” with a number-two showing Tuesday, but polling has both Mitt Romney and Ron Paul ahead of him in the state.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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