Santorum's conservative record has some blemishes - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Santorum's conservative record has some blemishes

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum nearly won Iowa's caucuses with a message of fiscal conservatism and a muscular foreign policy.

But even conservatives look skeptically at Santorum's claims in light of his congressional record.

With campaigns by other conservatives dead or stalled, Santorum has emerged as the leading conservative alternative to Republican front-runner Mitt Romney. He is expected to face tougher scrutiny ahead of next Tuesday's New Hampshire's primary.

Santorum developed a reputation in Congress for his robust use of "earmarks," those measures slipped into expansive spending bills to provide money for home-state projects. With conservatives turning deeply critical of the earmark process in recent years, Santorum now opposes them.

As a member of Congress, Santorum advocated big government programs in education, transportation and benefits for low-income people.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

APNP-01-05-12 0207CST

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