March 10th, 2010
09:01 AM ET
5 years ago

Santorum fights back in Iowa

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Rick Santorum defended his record as a pro-life politician Tuesday night.
Rick Santorum defended his record as a pro-life politician Tuesday night.

(CNN) - Rick Santorum is fighting back against charges that he's a "pro-life fraud."

The former senator from Pennsylvania, and possible 2012 Republican presidential candidate, appeared before an influential Christian group in Iowa on Tuesday night and spent much of his speech defending his record of opposition to abortion rights.

"There are a lot of people who vote pro-life. There are very few people who stand up and fight pro-life. There is a reason for that. You pay a price if you stand up in the foxhole and fight for pro-life instead of just voting for pro-life," Santorum told the Iowa Christian Alliance, according to Iowa news reports and confirmed by a Santorum spokeswoman.

The abortion issue came about after an anonymous recorded telephone message began hitting some Iowa households Monday afternoon attacking Santorum ahead of his Des Moines appearance. In the 40-second call, an unidentified female voice blasted Santorum as "a pro-life fraud" because of his past support for former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman and Republican-turned Democratic Pennsylvania Arlen Specter, both of whom support abortion rights.

Santorum, an ardent opponent of abortion rights, campaigned for both lawmakers during his two terms in the Senate. He has said publicly that he regrets backing then Republican Specter, who switched to the Democratic Party last year.

"I was wrong in retrospect," Santorum said Tuesday night regarding his support for Specter's 2004 re-election effort.

The recorded telephone message urged voters to contact Santorum at the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, where he is a senior fellow, "and ask him to apologize for his longtime support of radical pro-abortion politicians."

It is unclear how many people have received the message, a recording of which was provided to CNN Tuesday by an Iowa Republican.

The Republican said that even though he had a "perfect pro-life voting record" in the Senate, "the comment about being a pro-life fraud could have applied to me, as it does, unfortunately, to many pro-life legislators."

Santorum, who lost his 2006 re-election bid, is slated to make more high profile appearances in the coming months. He's scheduled to speak at next month's Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, joining other possible 2012 GOP White House hopefuls. He'll also make his first visit this cycle to New Hampshire, another crucial early primary state, when he keynotes the Cheshire County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner on April 30.


Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Rick Santorum
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. NVa Native

    Santorum is from that backward region of Pennsylvania that we call Palabama.
    He is the typical red-neck fear and hate Repub who believes (or at least wants you to believe) that only he and his religion of choice have a rights, and will blurt out anything that pops into his small and very smooth brain.

    March 10, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  2. marty

    Suffice it to say that Rick Santorum speaks out of both sides of his mouth, one of the reasons he was soundly trounced when he lost his Senate seat in Pennsylvania. Re: abortion, I can't recall Mr Santorum speaking out against the impregnator, nor has he offered any solutions or suggestions towards holding the impregnator accountable. However, I have heard his 'man on dog' theory many times.

    March 10, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  3. KARYN

    I love it when they eat their own.

    March 10, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  4. chris

    Santorum is a wacko. I will never vote for him and I'm a Republican.

    March 10, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  5. David

    Pro-life. Santorum ardently supports war, thinks it's a great idea for everyone to have guns, and supports the death penalty. Like most who claim to be pro-life, Rick Santorum is not pro-life at all. He's just anti-abortion. Then again, he voted against funding for educational programs designed to reduce unintended teen pregnancies, as well as a wide range of welfare and minimum wage increase initiatives, so apparently doesn't care how many unwanted babies are born into the world or whether they're well cared for, only that we make sure they're born into those unfortunate circumstances. He doesn't want to take care of them, he just wants them born. Then, when they grow up in poverty and crime, he'll pay for them to be in prison, or just execute them.

    March 10, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  6. rita

    Conservatives should give this guy some slack. If he is not conservative enough for them, then no one is. They will especially love his vehement denial of civil rights for gay American citizens. That is his true calling card.

    March 10, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  7. Michael

    He was voted out in Pennsylvania for a reason. He cannot seperate church and state for one thing. When he was campaigning years ago he once commented that he would like to see the retirement age pushed back to 70. He was against a funding that would have helped certain children with a cretain medical condition. Then someone in his family acquired that condition and suddenly he was for the funding. As a freshman senator he had the lragest staff which is surprising since his party touts smaller government. The only thing worse tha Santorum on the republican ticket would be Palin.

    March 10, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  8. kd

    Santorum running for gov in Pennsylvania? So sorry, Pennsylvania

    March 10, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  9. kd

    Santorum running for prez? So sorry, US

    March 10, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  10. bts

    Can someone please explain to me how "smaller govt", you know, the kind that doesn't take away our rights, can morph into the kind that tell us what to do with our bodies? Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that an oxymoron? If the average kindergartener can tell that that logic is flawed, why can Repuplicans?

    March 10, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  11. stop the nonsense

    On an issue that should be between a woman, her doctor and her heart, is what he's sorry for. Not for being part of the problem that got us in ththe financial conditions we now face. Not for the war that has bankrupt us. Not for voting to kill 10's of thousands in that war. Not for being part of a party that visably hates gay people. Not for helping big business get rich at the expense of the middle class.
    I'm amazed at priorities of politicians and conservatives.

    March 10, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  12. Patriot

    Forget "Pro-Life" fraud.....Santorum is your regular run of the mill TOTAL fraud....I hope they nominate him....

    March 10, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  13. Liz

    Being 'pro-life' is nothing to brag about. it says you think you know better than someone else what is best for them. it is the height of hypocrisy for proponents of smaller, out-of-people's-private lives government to be so radically in favor of the ultimate government interference, in women's own bodies and health care decisions. i wonder how many adopted children mr santorum has living his house today. if the answer, as it is with most anti's, none, then he is just another hypocrite for 'life.' and if he's so pro-'life' why isn't he fighting for the health care reform bill that will save 40,000 REAL lives a year? oh, that's right, he's only for potential life, not the people who are already here.

    March 10, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  14. ran

    The abortion issue has no business in our politics and those who run on it are there for personal reasons and not to do the peoples business.

    That being said the only way now is to have a constitutional amendment allowing abortions and that should end this unneeded debate. Abortions should be determined by each individual not by our government.

    March 10, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  15. Gregory

    This is great to see. The GOP now is having a loyalty oath, a purity test. Very few will pass. The fringe is hijacking the GOP. So much for the good ole days of moderates and compromise. If you don't support the teabag agenda completely you are a socialist. If you seek consensus and compromise you are a traitor. This is all great news for the Dems.

    March 10, 2010 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  16. Allison

    Ugh. Too bad this pic doesn't show his Nazi jackboots. Get out of my business, Mr. Santorum!

    March 10, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  17. David Johnston

    Remember he once took his dead baby home to play with. The only work he ever did around the house was he once carried the laundry basket for his wife. We in Pennsylvania foot the bill for his kids schooling in Va.

    March 10, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
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