Santorum and Gingrich woo conservative meeting in Camp Hill, Pa.

Two of the four candidates vying for the Republican presidential nomination are touting their limited government bona fides to a conservative activists’ convention in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. 

For former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, the first order of business was accounting for his failed reelection bid in 2006, when he was beaten by Democratic challenger Bob Casey.

The loss casts a shadow over Santorum’s chances in the state, but the resurgent candidate frames it differently. He says it helped him get out of Washington.

“The greatest gift from a political point of view was that distance, was being able to look from the outside in at what was going on,” said Santorum.

Newt Gingrich, lacking the comeback-kid air of Santorum, also addressed the small-government initiate. The former House Speaker says he has no incentive to get out of the Republican presidential race if he still has a chance of keeping Mitt Romney from getting the party’s nomination.

“The truth is, Romney doesn’t have it locked up yet,” said Gingrich, “and until Romney has it locked up, it’s not locked up.”

When Santorum was asked to respond to growing pressure from Republicans that he duck out of the race, Santorum replied, “What pressure?”

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