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The Gazette KCRG
Posted July 5, 2011
Santorum offers himself as ‘best contrast to Obama’

MARION – For conservatives, 2010 was a goal-line stand.

By and large, Rick Santorum said, conservatives, with a majority of the U.S. House, have been successful in stopping the Barack Obama agenda from becoming reality.

Rick Santorum

“But we haven’t moved off the one-yard line,” Santorum told a houseful of conservatives July 5. “If we don’t win this next election – I don’t care if we win the Senate, I don’t care if we have a greater majority in the House — if we don’t defeat President Obama, that ball is going to cross the goal line.”

What’s at stake, the former Pennsylvania Republican senator said, is not just ObamaCare, is not just more spending, it’s something bigger. The 2012 presidential election could be the turning point for freedom.

Santorum, 53, who is seeking the 2012 Republican nomination for president, made the case that he’s conservatives’ best hope not only for the nomination, but to defeat Obama.

He’s considered a long-shot because he hasn’t raised the money Mitt Romney has – or Tim Pawlenty or Ron Paul or Herman Cain – and he hasn’t moved appreciably in the polls. That’s nothing new for Santorum, he told 40 to 50 people gathered on the screened-in porch of Rob Gettemy’s Marion home.

He’s never been in a race he was expected to win, Santorum said.

“I’m the underdog in this race, but I’m light years ahead of where I was in my other races,” he said. “When people say, ‘Rick, you don’t have much of a chance,’ I say I’ve got them where I want them.”

He has a plan, however. Santorum, who brought his oldest son, John, along on this visit, has visited 19 Iowa times for a total of 33 days. Intensive one-on-one campaigning can pay off in Iowa, and in a few weeks, he plans to move his entire family to Iowa.

“We’re going to go all in” to prepare for the Iowa GOP straw poll Aug. 13 in Ames “and crack the glass ceiling the media has set for me,” he said.

Gettemy, his host, sees the race for the GOP nomination as still very fluid. A number of the Republican hopefuls have reached out to conservatives, but he doubts anyone can claim to be the conservative banner at this point.

“There’s a great field of candidates and I could vote for virtually any one of them,” he told his guests. Santorum, Gettemy said, has more experience, especially in foreign policy.

Santorum also has experience as the outsider. He sees the nomination fight as a race between the Republican establishment and the conservative insurgents.

Some candidates’ flares may be flying higher and burning brighter right now, Santorum conceded, but “closer to the caucus3es, we’ll look better to a lot of people.”

“People in Iowa take their time to commit,” he said. Come Feb. 6, “I’ll be in a position to do well against the establishment candidate … and provide the best contrast to Barack Obama.”

Wednesday, Santorum will lay out his case against Obama’s economic policies and explain his plans for job creation at a jobs forum at Kirkwood Community College. His jobs plan calls for reducing the size and scope of the federal government, including passage of a balanced budget amendment, lower personal and corporate taxes, and lower regulatory burdens, and adopt an energy policy that utilizes oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear energy.

 

 

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