Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Sunday dismissed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's win in the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll by insinuating the vote had been rigged.
On the third an final day of the conference, CPAC announced Romney had beaten Santorum, 38 percent to 31 percent. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Congressman Ron Paul trailed with 15 percent and 12 percent respectively.
"Well, you know, those straw polls at CPAC -- as you know for years Ron Paul has won those because he just trucks in a lot of people, pays for their ticket, they come in a vote, and then they leave," Santorum explained to CNN's Candy Crowley. "We didn't do that. We don't do that. I don't try to rig straw polls."
"Do you think that Gov. Romney rigged it?" Crowley asked.
"Well, you have to talk to the Romney campaign about how many tickets they bought," Santorum replied.
"Somebody is telling you that they think Mitt Romney's team, at least, paid for folks to go and vote for him at the straw poll," Crowley observed.
"That's standard procedure at all of these straw polls, that campaigns that want to win go out and recruit people and provide free tickets for them to come and vote," Santorum explained. "And there's nothing wrong with that, and that's absolutely a strategy. We just think just don't think that's a good use of our resources. Gov. Romney obviously may have a different idea."