Appearing on CNN's State of the Union today, Rick Santorum told host Candy Crawley that his loss yesterday to Mitt Romney in CPAC's annual straw poll was because he didn't pay for votes. From Politico:

"Well, you know, those straw polls at CPAC... for years Ron Paul has won those because he trucks in a lot of people, pays for their tickets, and they come in and vote and they leave. We didn't do that, we don't do that. i don't try to rig straw polls."

Pressed further on whether or not he felt Romney had rigged the poll, Santorum said, "You have to talk to the Romney campaign and how many tickets they bought, we've heard all sorts of things." And on ABC's This Week, Santorum said his focus is on the upcoming votes in Michigan and Arizona, suggesting a win in those states would make the nomination a "two-man race." He also dismissed Romney's accusations that Santorum is a "long-time Washington insider who pursued home-state projects," The Washington Post reports, saying of Romney, “You reach a point where desperate people do desperate things."

Sarah Palin took some backhanded swipes at Romney, as well. Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Palin called him a "great candidate" before throwing his conservative record into question:

"I trust that his idea of conservatism is evolving, and I base this on a pretty moderate past that he has had, even in some cases a liberal past," Palin said. "He agreed with mandating on a state level what his constituents needed to be provided, needed to purchase, in the way of health care, and Romney care which of course was the precursor to Obama care. Now that’s a problem."

And on CBS's Face the Nation, Ron Paul just expressed bewilderment at Romney's CPAC claims of being "severely conservative."

"I think I share your interest in that, because that was the first time I’ve heard that definition, so I guess Mitt will have to tell us exactly what it means. Obviously, he means he’s a serious conservative, and he was trying to defend himself, or portray himself as such, but I don’t know exactly what he was meaning by that."