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. dutch

    Santorum 1. The frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex. 2. Senator Rick Santorum.

    March 10, 2010 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  2. I WANT MINES

    H E Y RRRRRRRRIIIICCCCCKKKKKKKK

    SET DOWN there is just too much news footage on you for you to even try to make a come back just go away and save face for your kids

    March 10, 2010 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  3. Shawn

    These anti-choice fanatics are so annoying. Sorry, but obviously most Americans don't want to live in an oppressive, authoritarian state in which women are forced by the government to give birth against their will. So why don't you hypocrites start adopting some of the millions of unwanted children in America and stop trying to oppress everybody else? We're not interested in your backwards theocratic state.

    March 10, 2010 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  4. Dave Harris

    This is the problem when you hitch your wagon to a bunch of people who think they're waging holy war. Encouraging degenerate people to hate and threaten violence against anyone they imagine to be not holy enough is a dangerous undertaking. They may decide that you aren't holy enough, and they'll jump on you like a pack of wild dogs.

    March 10, 2010 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  5. Kitchen Police

    I think this lizard brain would look pretty sharp in a SS uniform.

    March 10, 2010 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  6. Larry

    Who cares if Rick Sanitation is not a "pro-life fraud". He is still a loser with a capital "L".

    March 10, 2010 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  7. Sarge in Florida

    If these people really studied their bibles they would see that "Jesus said to his followers. " Just because you follow me, does not make you better than the rest for you are with sin also. So people stop judging this is GOD' job, not a human being who claims to be a Christian. Because a true Christian does not pass judgement onto others.

    March 10, 2010 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  8. Dennis

    It's about time politicans stop standing up in front of the hypocritical right-wing christian lunies with their "whatever it takes" mentality and start listening to the average American voter. All we want is a level playing field with REAL honest and caring PUBLIC SERVANTS.

    March 10, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  9. T

    Go away.

    March 10, 2010 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  10. haren

    I watched Larry king, this guy Eric Masa is BIG TIME LIER.
    I think lying is a one of the nature of all CONSERVATIVE including Mr. Santorum.

    March 10, 2010 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  11. People's Voice

    I have an idea. Why don't you Republicans run a presidential ticket of Santorum and Palin?

    I can't tell you how excited that makes me because my comment would would be censored..

    March 10, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  12. Retread of GOP Agenda

    As an independent, I for one am tired of the GOP wasting precious energy on the topic of ABORTION.

    It is legal ... it is the law of the land ... MOVE ON to something that matters like out of control DEFENSE SPENDING.

    I like most people am disheartened by abortion, and as a man that didn't fight very hard against my college girl friend having an abortion, I'm regretful. [My regret is rooted in now realizing she was my soul mate and I should have married her.]

    But even with my regret, abortion needs to remain legal, safe and fully available without harrassment. The decisions around whether or not to have an abortion are deeply personal.

    We are a Pro-choice nation in just about everything we do. This is no different. I don't want some government takeover of my decision making.

    March 10, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  13. GI Joe

    He's just a fraud. Period. They ran him out of Pennsylvania, now they are sorry they took him in Virginia.

    Get rid of him – he just wants a cushy position with no work and great benefits at OUR expense.

    Fire him.

    March 10, 2010 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  14. Pete F

    Not quite certain which would be worse...Santorum or Palin in the White House. Interesting hypothetical. Who would utterly ruin us first?

    March 10, 2010 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  15. cspurgeon

    Ugh! another book. Whyo buys all these books? I don't see it. I see them all both dems andn repub on everyn talk and political show hawking their books and I see them all trying to be on NYT best seller but I haven't seen one I would buy and I read a lot. Just not interested in all these opinionated politicians or pundits..Someone must buy them. What do they all go out and buy each other?Oh well. here comes another repig book.

    March 10, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  16. Minnesotan

    I still think Dan Savage's definition of "Santorum" is the best way of describing little Ricky here.....

    March 10, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  17. ED FL

    Someone should question Santorum on his position about homosexual constituants. It might prove interesting if pushed real hard to clarify his personal position.

    March 10, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  18. Dis Gusted

    The hipocracy is so obvious. Another Republican president's wife admitted, after they were out of office, that she/they were pro-choice. However, while in office they claimed to be pro-life. Guess who?

    March 10, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  19. hampster

    Santorium was a Pennsylvania senator and the people of Pennsylvania knows he belongs in a Sanitarium not in politicas.

    March 10, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  20. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    BOO HOO HOO, I'm a pro lifer, BOO HOO HOO!!!!!

    March 10, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  21. John, Brooklyn, NY

    Gotta love it....the ideological "cleansing" (not unlike ethnic cleansing) and the tea bagger loony toons....are forcing the GOP to eat there young! Go at it, folks...couldn't think of a nicer group of people to go through the process of self-immolation.

    March 10, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  22. Sniffit

    "He doesn't hate the Constitution enough"

    "I do too hate the Constitution enough"

    "No you don't"

    "Yes I do"

    "No you don't"

    "YES I DO!!!!"

    March 10, 2010 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  23. Chris D.

    Why is the GOP campaigning for the Presidency already? Sheesh.....well it will be interesting and funny to see all of these players tear each other to shreds in the presidential primaries.

    March 10, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  24. A. Goodwin

    Santorm and the rest of the Republican's want to take this country back 30 years. I think not.

    As a country we should stop fighting about whether or not there should be abortion rights...and put that money toward educating young people (and people in general) to use other forms of birth control.

    Ah...but that's the problem right there...Republican's HATE education...they hate helping people (specifically the middle class)..and they CERTAINLY hate anything that goes against their values – even if it makes sense.

    We do not need teenagers running for back-room doctors....we need sex education!!

    March 10, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  25. joel palmer

    Santorum is mega ignorant and couldn't be re-elected in Pennsylvania when votors figured out how dumb he really is.

    Hopefully Iowa voters will be quicker stuides in assessing Rick's IQ which is only a little bigger than his shoe size

    March 10, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
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