MEMPHIS, TN— Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum made a quick stop in Memphis on Sunday but he wasn't campaigning. Instead, he and his family attended mass Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, and then he made an appearance at Bellevue Baptist. Before he left he tried Memphis famous barbecue, at Corky's. There was a standing ovation and cheers from people at Corky’s Barbecue on Poplar Avenue in East Memphis.
"I went to a couple church services and got a chance to meet some folks and had some real authentic Memphis barbeque, can't beat that,” Santorum told the media after he ate some ribs.
Memphians thought it was an odd stop for Santorum.
"I'm surprised he came to Memphis being such a strong democratic showing here," said a Memphian Mike Schlachter.
"I didn't even know he was coming,” said Corky’s pitmaster Robert Boyd. “It was a surprised to me."
Others embraced the presidential candidate.
"We thought it was great. I shook his hand,” said a supporter Linda Maclin.
"He has good Christian values," said another supporter Sharon Grissom.
"Seemed like a very nice guy and what I've seen on TV he's going to be a great guy if he can get the nomination,” said supporter Dennis Grissom.
The former Pennsylvania Senator is leading the polls in Tennessee heading into the GOP primary on Tuesday. When it comes to campaign contributions he's far behind Governor Mitt Romney. According to the Federal Election Commission Santorum collected $2,700 in campaign donations in east Tennessee. Romney collected $263,000.
"I don't call a lot of folks and ask for endorsements. That's not the kind of campaign we're running. We're running the insurgent campaign he's running the insider campaign,” Rick Santorum told abc24 news.
As far as the issues Santorum criticized President Barack Obama for not opening up American oil resources to help lower gas prices. He also talked about changing the education system.
"We need to get education that is customized for every kid in America. We settle for so much less because the bureaucracy controls education system in this country,” Santorum said.