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Rick Santorum makes hard-line pitch, wins backing of Miami's Latin Builders

Compared to Newt Gingrich, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania gave a more personal speech before the Latin Builders Association in Miami Friday, with a more explicit appeal to Cuban-American voters. 

Along with stump-speech pledges to lower taxes and rollback President Barack Obama's regulations, Santorum told the story of his grandfather, an Italian immigrant who worked in Pennsylvania coal mines until he was 72 years old.  

"Those were the hands that dug freedom for me in America," he said. He then praised Miami's Cuban-American community for its "passion for freedom." 

Santorum then vowed to take a hard-line against any alliance between Iran and Venezuela, which Santorum described as "Cuba Part B." 

Santorum's speech won over the builders. Following the forum, the LBA's board voted to endorse Santorum in the Republican primary.

 "We are most interested in supporting a candidate that is going to reinvigorate the economy," said Bernie Navarro, the LBA's president.

--SCOTT HIAASEN

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