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Santorum Visits Birthplace of Republican Party

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(RIPON, Wis.) -- Rick Santorum paid a visit to the town described as the birthplace of the Republican Party on Monday as he made his final stop in Wisconsin before the state's primary on Tuesday.

“We came to where the Republican Party first met,” Santorum told reporters in Ripon.  “From the beginning to the end of the beginning if you will.”

Santorum toured the Little White School House, where a group met in 1854 and decided to form a new political party -- the Republican Party -- though other towns across the country, such as Exeter, N.H., have also staked claims to being the true birthplace of the party.

But as he visited the school house, Santorum was greeted outside by loud protesters, who nearly outnumbered the supporters who gathered to see him.  The protesters carried bright colored signs and chanted phrases like “Don’t pick Rick!,” “Lincoln was a liberal,” and “Gays are people too.”

Earlier in the day, Santorum claimed the negativity emanating from the Romney campaign lowers voter turnout, but explained to reporters that his campaign will overcome it and bring voters to the polls.

“Maybe $5 to 10 million of spending on top of your head running negative ads, driving down turnout might have something to do about it,” he said.

“We’re working at it.  You know, look, no one said this would be easy when you’re going against the money and the machine.  But I think it does, it is reflective of the fact that, you know, the way Gov. Romney’s been able to win states is to drive down turnout by turning off voters and alienating people and getting historically low turnouts, and winning in that fashion by running an overwhelmingly negative campaign,” Santorum said as his wife, Karen, started to speak.

“As Karen said, just barely keeping his head above water at that.  So we feel like, you know, the longer we’re in this thing the stronger we’re getting,” he said.  “You know we won 11 states now.  In states where we are only outspent two or three to one we generally win, so you know that’s not bad.  That’s pretty good.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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