The former senator was notably more energized here than he was in going through a litany of rehashed policy proposals to a modest crowd last night at an event his campaign billed as a major speech.
Asked why he was so tough on Romney, Santorum told reporters after his address: "Fight fire with fire."
Before a middle-class crowd, Santorum also amped up his populist message.
He noted his Italian immigrant lineage, joking that his ancestors didn't drop any vowels at the end of his name
And he took a tough shot at President Obama's declaration that he'd like all Americans to attend college.
"What a snob," Santorum, an attorney, said to loud applause, warning of teens being indoctrinated "by some liberal college professor."
There was also an unmistakable shot at Newt Gingrich.
"The only person I sit next to on a couch is my wife, period," Santorum said, a reference to Gingrich's climate change ad with Nancy Pelosi.
When your party is full of paranoid caricatures and cartoon villainy, you run as a sneering, neurotic mustache-twirling heavy. You forgo the dog whistles and the coded language, and come out and say the President is an elitist snob for the view that everyone deserves a shot at college. Everyone knows somebody who not only doesn't deserve a shot at college, but probably doesn't deserve a shot at being outside of prison.
And Ricky's brand of apocalyptic fatalism goes right to the heart of the Republican message: those who are with us will share the spoils, those who are against us will share the wrath. For all of his talk that America is the bestest most super-awesome country ever in all of space-time, Ricky's message is "It's time to admit our vision of America is screwed with all these gay, brown, elitists and jettison the dead weight and start over."
They no longer want to be part of an America where a black man can be President. They're taking their ball and going home. But they'll loot the treasury on the way out and take all the good silver. The red state/blue state dichotomy ain't too different from the Blue and the Gray 150 years ago, to hear Ricky tell it.
And should he be the nominee, he'll get 60 million votes. Minimum. Just like McCain/Palin.
Never forget that.