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. Dave

    Republicans DON'T understand America. They think that its a country for white rich males. The middle class, poor people, ethnic people, Jews, Latins, you name it, oh yeah, gays, although there are tons of gay republicans. These people are SECOND CLASS citizens.. Oh, yeah, add Seniors too that too. The party knows how to CHEAT, LIE, COPY, and KILL, but they don't know how to GOVERN.

    May 6, 2011 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  2. Tony Bui

    Sooooooooo.....oooo boring. No wonder GOP keeps loosing youngsters.

    May 6, 2011 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  3. diridi

    He is an idiot...yes, he does not understand America, so he let Bin laden from Tora Bora...now Obama got Bin Laden...nasty idiot is this sanitarium...junk, thug...GOP hire...

    May 6, 2011 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  4. thomas

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

    Idiots that don't know history should not be in Politics , obviously Santorum is an idiot !

    May 6, 2011 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  5. nintex

    HUH? President Obama doesn't understand America? What planet is this guy from? Where has he been the past week or so? These Republican people had better come up with more substantial ideas than just trying to bring President Obama down with idiotic remarks like this one. How stupid do they think we are?

    May 6, 2011 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  6. Snow

    Santorum might be wrong, I think obama understands that the United States is a great country or at least it was until he took office, and he wants to bring it down to a third world status.

    May 6, 2011 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  7. scott

    this guy should take a very long walk off a very short pier. hey rick, i am a pennsylvanian and i am one of those people who voted you out of office, because u,sir, do not understand america or americans, pennsylvania or pennsylvanians. president obama doesnt understand americans, well who the hell are you??? not only does president obama understand american, but he cares....u sir, on the otherhand, are american politician, who cannot stand americans.

    May 6, 2011 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  8. mick432

    Rick Santorum is a tool.

    May 6, 2011 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  9. MikeH

    "Man on Dog" Santorum is a loser of the first order. He doesn't have a clue on what America is, he's too busy taking fat-cat pay-off money from the likes of the Koch brothers. I hope Santorum becomes the RepubliKlan Presidentail candidate, so that Obama will mop the floor with Santorum.

    May 6, 2011 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  10. Rick McDaniel

    Santorum doesn't either.

    May 6, 2011 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  11. w l jones

    England is the head of the English world and tech. Queen Elizabeth is our Queen whether one like it are not. Our president is incorperate with them. Said enough.

    May 6, 2011 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  12. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    But you do, you Neanderthal?

    May 6, 2011 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  13. Randel Tony

    When I hear about this Santurum, I remember him his similarity of the mucus like drip coming from my nose when I get cold. He is the most hated person even Fox has thrown him from his job for bread. Please, name him a looser even by his own community in Penselavinia

    May 6, 2011 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  14. matt

    Yes Santorum...you understand America...right, just like Palin does. I'm sure you'd gotten Bin Laden much sooner too!

    May 6, 2011 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  15. J-NW

    The only countries that don't have the level of social programs we have... are 3rd world countries. Rick would prefer we have no federal highways? Perhaps a private military? (even Blackwater is/was paid with federal tax dollars). Rick would advacate no FDA, so we could return to the good ol' days of lead in paint; no EPA, so our rivers would still catch fire (it's too late to de-polute our fish supply). Santorum epitomises backward (nerd) behavior i.e. the Republican party. I wouldn't trust my daughter with him.. and definitely not my son.

    May 6, 2011 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  16. scriptfoo

    So Santorum thinks that America would be a greater country without entitlement programs. I'm willing to bet a majority of AARP members would disagree with Santorum and say that America is great because we care for our citizens.

    May 6, 2011 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  17. Mike Chino Hills

    I don't get it... Obama is a full blooded American!! Buttt!!! He doesn't understand Americans, because he's Black, got a funny name, and is a Muslim? Yup.......... Stick to the issues please... Mr. Santorum, you don't understand America!! Land of Immigrants and Opportunity.

    Former Reagan Republican.... Now Independent due to the racist comments from the GOP.

    May 6, 2011 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  18. LegendRx

    This man is living in a past time delusional paradise based on a lie of self imposed greatness. What make america great is looking out for the other guy, being your brothers keeper and rooting for the underdog. It means putting others who are less fortunate then you first. It mean achieving the impossible dream against all odds, which President Barack Obama has achieve. The first African American President of These United States. I believe The president gets america far more then any of these republican poser trying to run for office. They are more concern with getting their party in office, even though, they bring nothing to the table. Pitiful :(

    May 6, 2011 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  19. Kenny

    Sounds to me like Santorum is another IDIOT out there looking for the weak of mind that follow him like the children followed the Pide Piper and I'm sure he will find plenty in South Carolina.

    May 6, 2011 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  20. FastEddie

    America born great? Tell that to the slaves.

    May 6, 2011 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  21. Charlie in Maine

    Maybe he doesn't understand your America.

    May 6, 2011 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  22. Mike in Texas

    Santorum isn't even a has been.....he is a never was. Move on....nothing to see here.

    May 6, 2011 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  23. Betelmann

    Obama is in fact correct in praising programs like Social Security. Humanity is not a pack of selfish, self-centerd lone wolves, no matter what idiots like Santorum or Ayn Rand say. It's Santorum that doesn't understand. The next few years might be touch and go, but I have confidence that by the end of this decade the spirtual and moral throwbacks that we call conservatives will be in the minority, and that the nation can proceed toward a society that rewards individual initative while never forgetting the golden rule. "American exceptionalism" be damned.

    May 6, 2011 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  24. All-American

    America wasn't 'born great'– it took decades and centuries of hard work, sweat, dreams and tears of immigrants and citizens alike to build her up and keep her going.
    Do politicians not have to learn history before they run for office –or open their mouths?

    May 6, 2011 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  25. skel

    heres another right wing big corperate paid tea party backed clueless windbag republican spewing half truths & full lies about the president.

    May 6, 2011 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
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