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Santorum: ‘This Is The Most Important Election In The History Of Our Country’

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Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Rosemont. (Credit: CBS)

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UPDATED 06/08/12 11:13 a.m.

ROSEMONT, Ill. (CBS) — Conservatives heard from a host of potential vice presidential candidates at a gathering in Rosemont Friday, and all seemed emboldened by Gov. Scott Walker’s victory in the Wisconsin recall election.

As WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) was among the speakers at the Conservative Political Action Conference meeting at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

“It is now our watch,” said the onetime presidential hopeful. “It is now our time.”

Santorum said he is energized after Walker beat back a recall effort, saying the victory bodes well for a Republican victory in the presidential race.

“This is the most important election, maybe, in the history of the country. The fact that I’m no longer in the presidential race doesn’t change that,” Santorum said. “This is still the most important election in the history of their country, and I can tell you I feel a little bit better about that election since what happened Tuesday up in Wisconsin. God bless them up there.”

Santorum’s appearance came after an announcement that he is forming the new “Patriot Voices” organization.

He told Fox News Channel that the group will support presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and ensure he is elected president, CBS News reports.

At the conference, Santorum said the purpose of Patriot Voices is to mobilize conservatives committed to faith, family, freedom and opportunity.

“We’re asking you to put on the cloak of citizenship – going out and making a difference. We’re doing that with PatriotVoices.com. I’m going to do that as I travel around the country campaigning for people who share those values, who are committed to make a difference,” Santorum said.

The group is an IRS-designated 501c4 focused on social welfare and allowed to participate in political activity. CBS News reports it joins the fray of outside groups that can raise unlimited funds by individuals and corporations.

Patriot Voice is seeking to attract 1 million members to “transform America’s political landscape,” CBS News reports.

Santorum, who dropped out of the presidential race in April, said on “Fox and Friends” that Patriot Voices will fill a void and talk about issues few are addressing, CBS News reports. His new organization will focus on American “culture and how it’s being changed by this administration, whether it’s religious liberty or life.”

The former Pennsylvania senator also said he will focus on “people left behind,” CBS News reports.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal are also on the roster at the CPAC. Both have been mentioned as possible running mates for Romney.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is also set to speak at the CPAC convention.

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