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Post Show Thoughts: Santorum sees competitive race ahead

Rick Santorum thinks a Newt Gingrich exit from the race would create a "better opportunity to make sure that [Republicans] nominate a conservative," in the Fall. However, the former Pennsylvania senator stopped short of calling for Gingrich's withdrawal.

"I didn't ask Speaker Gingrich to get in. I'm not going to ask him to get out.," Santorum said.  He hopes that Gingrich's exit would galvanize Republican voters to unite behind Santorum as the lone conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. 

Santorum also made the case that the delegate math is not as steeped in favor of Romney as commentators make it out to be. "This isn't a mathematical formula. This race has a tremendous amount of dynamics," Santorum said.

He cited the fact that many of Mitt Romney's awarded delegates are uncommitted and can change to support Santorum. "These numbers are going to change dramatically," he said. 

Also, Governors Martin O'Malley (D-MD) and Bob McDonnell (R-VA) joined me to weigh in on the 2012 race. O'Malley panned the Republican field for focusing more on getting votes, rather than trying to fix the country's problems. 

"Let's be honest, there's been a lot more time spent pandering to the extreme right wing ideologues of the new Republican party than has been spent talking about jobs and economy," O'Malley said.

McDonnell, a Mitt Romney supporter who has been mentioned as a possible VP choice, attacked President Obama for bringing "division and malaise" to the country. When asked whether or not he wanted to be president, McDonnell responded "No. I got the job held by Jefferson and Henry. I love being governor of Virginia."

You can watch our entire program on our website, including our political roundtable that addressed the question of whether or not civility is gone in American politics today. I was joined by MSNBC’s Al Sharpton,  Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Washington Post’s EJ Dionne, and the Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan.

We'll be back next week. If it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press.