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Santorum: Romney’s Health Care Plan ‘Worth Getting Upset About’

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(Jacksonville, Fla.) -- Rick Santorum came into the spin room Thursday evening after the GOP presidential debate in Jacksonville, Fla., and said he "felt like we had opportunities tonight that we haven't had in the past" because he only shared the stage with three opponents.

He answered questions on what was probably his most memorable moment of the debate, when he criticized Mitt Romney on his health care plan in Massachusetts and Romney interrupted an angry Santorum and said it wasn't worth getting angry at.

"Well yeah actually it is worth getting upset about.  You have Mitt Romney telling people that the government can force them just because they are alive that they have to go out and buy private insurance as a condition of living in a state or a country," Santorum said.  "It's not the way we do things in America and it does incite a lot of passion and in some people anger.  I don't think I was angry but I was very passionate."

Despite his louder tone, Santorum didn't think he sounded angry.  Instead, he said Romney said that because it was a "debate tactic."

"This is Mitt Romney, schooled debater trying to divert attention to the basic issues.  He supports something the vast majority of Floridians and probably the supermajority of Republican Floridians want nothing to do with and they don't want a candidate I believe ultimately who is going to have to go up against Barack Obama and give away the most important issue in this election which is freedom and liberty," Santorum said.

Another reporter asked if it was too little, too late to bring up Romney's health care plan, which has turned out not to be as big of an issue for Romney as initially expected.

"This is only the second time we've had four people in the debate," Santorum said.  "Part of it is when you have the opportunities and now with four people in the debate you can hear more from me and hopefully the people of this country now that they are hearing more will like what they hear."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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