Rick Santorum, the come-from-behind winner of the 2012 Iowa caucuses, hit the road again in Iowa.

With his first campaign stop Thursday after announcing his 2016 presidential candidacy the day before in Pennsylvania, the former U.S. senator visited the Iowa Machine Shed, where he gave a relatively brief seven-minute stump speech.

Then, he spent an hour and 10 minutes taking questions.

Then, he went outside and greeted a line of people.

Santorum is far behind in the polls, and most pundits give him little chance of winning the Republican presidential nomination. But much like in 2012, he began his Iowa effort underestimated, yet meticulously working to gain support.

Santorum echoed his announcement speech in saying Thursday that he would emphasize the people left behind in today’s economy.

“What’s the path to help these folks that feels like no one’s really talking about them?” he asked.

He blamed the size of government for stifling the economy and said unskilled foreign labor has taken all the new jobs in the U.S. Santorum has called for curbs on legal immigration.

Santorum said government needs to be smaller, and he drew applause when he called the Internal Revenue Service a “political organization.”

Later, however, he said he was worried about “anti-government rhetoric” and argued there is a place for government.

“Government's not evil. Government can be evil,” he said, but added, “Government’s us."

Santorum is part of a large and growing Republican field, and some of his 2012 supporters have moved on.

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Still, campaign aides say he will work aggressively in Iowa and he will go to all 99 counties.

Vivian Martin of LeClaire, who said she supported Santorum in 2012, is not sold just yet. That’s not unusual early in a caucus cycle. Still, she said she continued to be impressed with Santorum.

“He just seems sincere,” she said. “He sounds like he has a plan."

Santorum also said Thursday that, if elected, he would defeat the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. And he told reporters afterward that he backed the Patriot Act, major parts of which are scheduled to expire June 1.

Sen. Rand Paul, who also was in Davenport on Thursday, has argued against bulk collection of telephone records.

“I don’t like bulk collection,” Santorum said, and technology changes may make such programs unnecessary. But he added, “we know people are trying to harm us and that having access to this information is helpful. That says it all."

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