Santorum: Obama doesn't understand America
May 6th, 2011
09:09 PM ET
4 years ago

Santorum: Obama doesn't understand America

Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) – Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum had a ballroom packed with South Carolina Republican insiders all to himself on Friday night when he addressed the state party's annual fundraising banquet in Columbia.

Each of the previous night's presidential debate participants were invited to speak at the Silver Elephant Banquet, but only Santorum accepted, giving him a precious chance to court an influential crowd of GOP donors, legislators and activists in the early primary state.

"Half of life is just showing up," Santorum cracked after he took the stage. "So I'm glad I showed up tonight."

Santorum, who created a presidential exploratory committee earlier this week, pressed what is likely to be a central rhetorical theme of his campaign: American exceptionalism.

"We have a president who does not understand what American exceptionalism is," he said.

He faulted President Obama for telling an audience last month that America "would not be a great country" without the entitlement programs of Social Security and Medicare.

"Stunning," Santorum said. "America was born great. The president of the United States doesn't understand who we are."

He spoke of how the British Empire faded because "they accepted the mediocrity of state control."

"We face that moment right now," he said. "It is our watch right now."

Santorum was one of 16 potential candidates listed on a presidential straw poll ballot that was distributed by the state party. Results of the straw poll will be announced at the state GOP convention on Saturday.


Filed under: 2012 • Rick Santorum • South Carolina
soundoff (137 Responses)
  1. vwrtb

    The America I grew up in, corporations still offered pensions and good healthcare... people could afford college... a middle class job was found just down the street... unions were strong... and community meant something... but then came trickle down economics and globilization... shipping jobs overseas... union busting... and the great race to the bottom.... no sir... republicans dont understand america... have a good day...

    May 7, 2011 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  2. lynn

    In Santorum's opinion only the Grand Old Party knows what made America great, big wealth and big business such as in the 1700 and 1800's. The old barons employed workers for penny's a day and kept the workers living in poverty. When the people had enough and realized they made the big boys wealthy, demanding to be treated equally, did America become truly great.

    May 7, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  3. kyle

    Obama doesn't understand, we like giving oil crooks subsidies, rich people tax breaks, and letting Insurance Companies rob us blind.

    May 7, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  4. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    I think Tricky Ricky is way off here. The President has stated and proven since he came on the stage in 2004 that his story could not be possible in any other country than ours. To me that says something.

    May 7, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  5. zanny

    And the Republicans do??? What a joke!! The only thing you understand is finding way to help the richer get rich so they can wine and dine you and fill your pockets. You do not give two hoots and a holler about the average Americaqn. I am so sick of hearing how he doesn't understand America. If you and your party even listened to American(othet than the wealthy 1%0 you would realize that most Americans don't care about planned parenthood, stopping funding for abortions, seeing a picture of a dead terrorist, making the President show his birth certificate, claiming waterboarding is a good form of torture, they care about jobs, jobs, and jobe. They want gas prices to drop, the oil companies and millionaires to pay their share, the ability to get small business loans, NOT trax cuts for the wealthy. Your party is totally out of touch with the average American. If you weren't, you would be laughing at the pitiful selection of candidate your party has running for President including you. Trump, Palin and Paul are truly laughable.

    May 7, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  6. Marie MD

    You sanitation man are the one who doesn't understand anything. For starters, the world is overpopulated and your wife spawned seven more people on the Earth. Somce the President IS ONE OF US, you are the one who doesn't understand because you are still wrapped in the birther bs!
    Once again but I know it still will not get into your thick stupid head . . . . . we all pay for Social Security and Medicare. The money for the future is taken out of our paychecks, every paycheck. IT IS NOT AN ENTITLEMENT!!! You horse behind!
    You showed up and still nobody listened. It would be sad if it was anyone but you. Go home to your children in that shoe house you live in!

    May 7, 2011 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  7. Thrawn

    America was born great? Hahahaha What a deluded moron.

    May 7, 2011 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  8. nru

    June 21, 2006 – "we found the WMD's" – nuff said

    May 7, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  9. rusty155

    No you are wrong, the Republican and the Tea Party that don't understand American or the American People. You Republican and tea Party Only worry about the RICH ,BIG BUSINESS And the OIL COMPANY. And than you want the MIDDLE CLASS, THE POOR AND THE OLD TO PAY FOR IT. The PAUL RYAN PLAN IS A BUNCH OF CRAP. American People didn't PAY INTO SS AND MEDICARE ALL THERE LIVE SO YOU IDIOT CAN JUST TAKE IT AWAY. The Tea PARTY and THE Republican doesn't care about anything but the Rich GET RICHER. Case In Point President Obama say since the OIL COMPANY are making Billions In profit that maybe we should take away Billions of dollar the Government Is giving big OIL COMPANY since they are making all this money. The every next day the Republican had a TV ad that say this would be a bad IDEA and have President not to do this.DON'T the American People think they would be a better place for this money, we are taking about four Billions dollar a year. Wouldn't that help get the Budget down. The Republican and the TEA PARTY have to go, Or The Middle Class ,the POOR and the OLD will end up with the Middle Class to the poor and the Poor and the OLD on the street. Vote the Republican out In 2012. Use to be A Republican ,now A Independent Voter.

    May 7, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  10. toolate

    Uhhhhh.... Yeah, right...

    May 7, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  11. shonti

    Wow! Another attempt, one of many (as in the birther idiocy) at characterizing Obama as "the other," not one of "us." Anyone who doesn't see this barrage of insult coming from the right as racist is naive at best. Shame on America.

    May 7, 2011 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  12. Chris

    Santorum said "America was born great." Right there tells it is Santorum who doesn't understand America at all. No one or no thing is born great. All must achieve greatness through struggle, sacrifice and wisdom. In the wake of the Revolution, America could have easily turned into its own banana republic. For the early part of its history, this country was little more than some backwater, rustic pretender that was out in the middle of nowhere. Through centrues of innovation and determination, we became the greatest country in the world.

    America isn't exceptional because we were born great, but because we were born low and became great.

    May 7, 2011 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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