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The Gazette KCRG
Posted November 15, 2011
Santorum extending appeal beyond social conservative base

Republican presidential hopeful Rick santorum spoke to about 20 people at the Lawrence Community Center in Anamosa Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011. (James Q. Lynch/SourceMedia Group News)

ANAMOSA — Rick Santorum says he’s working harder in Iowa than any other candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Despite bottom rung standing in polls of likely caucusgoers, the former Pennsylvania senator thinks he’s making progress.

“I get pigeonholed as social conservative,” he said during a noon hour stop at the Lawrence Community Center in Anamosa Nov. 15. “But I can and do want to talk about other issues.”

That hasn’t gone unnoticed by Dennis Mulford of Anamosa, who said he “probably back the most conservative candidate” in the Jan. 3 precinct caucuses.

“He’s been around the block,” said Mulford, who is a member of the 9-12 Project, a tea party group.

Jenn Jones said Santorum is getting a lot of second looks from her fellow tea party members as they learn he has an agenda that extends beyond social issues.

“The interest is growing, according to Jones, Santorum’s Jones County precinct captain. “A lot of people think he’s simply a social conservative, but they’re learning that he’s a full-range conservative.”

Santorum spoke about his concerns that Iran is developing nuclear weapons and the threat that poses because the country is governed by a “radical theocracy. Noting that President Obama once referred to Iran as a “tiny country” that did not pose a serious threat, Santorum outlined a plan for preventing a nuclear Iran.

Santorum, who served eight years on the Senate armed forces Committee, called for reinstating full funding for the Iran Freedom and Support Act, which he authored. He also called for working with Israel to determine the proper military response, including the authorization of targeted airstrikes on Iranian nuclear facilities.

Although Santorum also addressed taxes, the economy, Obama’s vacation schedule and the threat of domestic terrorism, he came back to social issues in the end.

“Everything we’ve seen in this country over the past few years, the economic problems, was because people did things that were not consistent with the values that made this country great,” Santorum said.

He attributes to the failure to teach values.

“We don’t teach (virtue) and the institutions that do teach it, I would make the argument, the left is trying to assault it every day to destroy, which is the church and the family,” Santorum said. “Unless we have families that are stable, that can raise and support children and inculcate them with virtue and faith, we’re not going to be successful in the long-term.”

Santorum continues his tour of Iowa today: 8 a.m., Happy Joe’s, Clinton; 10 a.m., DeWitt Community Center; 12:15 p.m., Scott Community College Student Life Center, Bettendorf; 3 p.m., The Vineyard, Muscatine; and 7 p.m. house party in Cedar Rapids.

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