WINDHAM — Only two days after a stunning finish in Iowa, presidential hopeful Rick Santorum brought his call for limited government and a return to family values to Windham High School last night.
It's the former Pennsylvania senator's conservative message, integrity and sudden surge in momentum that some New Hampshire voters say will help propel him to the top of the pack in the state's primary Tuesday.
"I think when people hear him and see him, he makes a very good impression," said Judy Bourret, 49, of Pelham. "I'm very hopeful."
Although nearly an hour late, few people if any left as they awaited Santorum's arrival. He gave a 15-minute speech before answering questions from a six-member panel and the audience for an hour and a half.
Santorum touched on everything from the need to restrict the role of government to the need for the United States to stand up to Iran. He also reflected on his close second-place finish in the Iowa caucus, losing to Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by only eight votes.
"We're picking up," Santorum said. "I do feel very well how we are doing here. ... "Eight votes is a pretty big win as far as I'm concerned."
Some of the more than 600 people who packed the school auditorium walked out saying they think his success will continue.
They especially liked his Christian principles, straightforward approach and vow to reform government.
"He's a very strong family values candidate," said Josef Ozer, 47, of Windham. "I like Santorum, I like his momentum."
So does Tom Hitchcock.
The 71-year-old Salem man is still trying to decide who to vote for Tuesday. So is Ozer.
"I still haven't made my choice yet," Hitchcock said. "Santorum is really an upstart. He is a morals man, which I feel is a plus."