Rick Santorum delivered a stark warning to South Carolina voters Saturday, telling them Mitt Romney is a sure loser in November if he becomes the Republican presidential nominee.

“Don’t buy all this baloney that we need a moderate to win,” Santorum told about 200 people gathered at Tommy’s Country Ham House in Greenville. “We need someone with strong core convictions who is going to appeal to the voters in the states we need to win and that’s not him. That’s us.”

Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, has trained his fire on Romney at stop after stop as he campaigns across the Palmetto State ahead of the January 21 primary.

But his sharp criticisms seemed to carry a fresh sense of urgency Saturday.

“The establishment is trying to ram down the people of South Carolina’s and everybody else’s throat Gov. Romney, as if he is inevitable,” Santorum said.

He said Barack Obama would “destroy” Romney in the general election because he does not represent a “bold and courageous” contrast to the president.

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