The Iowa caucuses revived Rick Santorum's underdog presidential campaign. Now an influential assortment of Christian conservatives has moved to consecrate it.
On Saturday, the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania sewed up the endorsement from a coalition of prominent national evangelical leaders. And he has basked in the glow of their affirmation.
"Every (GOP) candidate and campaign greatly coveted this endorsement," said Hogan Gidley, Santorum's national campaign spokesman. "Once Rick Santorum received the endorsement, all the other campaigns dismissed it, (but) they all had emissaries in the room trying to get the endorsement."
Gidley predicted the endorsement would spark a late Santorum surge in Saturday's South Carolina GOP primary, similar to the push that saw him come within eight votes of winning the Iowa caucuses.
"We were this far down six days out of Iowa, too," Gidley said, alluding to Santorum's double-digit deficit in the polls. "But this kind of endorsement is the shot in the arm that awakens the activists and gets them behind the candidate they can relate to and trust."