June 6th, 2011
09:08 AM ET
4 years ago

Santorum makes presidential run official

(CNN) - Saying "I'm ready to lead. I'm ready to do what has to be done for the next generation," all-but-declared Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum did just that, officially jumping into the race for the White House.

But the former two-term senator from Pennsylvania could face long odds and much better funded rivals in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

Santorum made his comments Monday morning, at a campaign event in Somerset County in the western part of his home state, near where his grandfather worked in a coal mine after coming to America from Italy. Santorum said his grandfather came to Somerset County to escape fascist Italy, to "give his children, my dad, who seven years old when he came in 1930, the opportunity for freedom, to live your dreams, because he knew American believed in him, believed in people, gave people a shot, if they worked hard, they could succeed."

A few hours earlier, in an interview on ABC's Good Morning America, Santorum said "we're ready to get into this race, and we're in it to win."

The announcement kicks off a four-day campaign swing that will take Santorum to Iowa, the state which holds the first contest in the presidential primary and caucus calendar, and New Hampshire, which holds the first primary in the race for the White House. And his appearance on "Good Morning America" is the first of nearly 20 interviews on television and radio, including appearances on Rush Limbaugh's and Glenn Beck's radio programs. The former Fox News contributor will also appear twice on that network during his campaign rollout.

Santorum is arguably the most frequent flyer in the battle for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Since 2009 he has made 14 trips to Iowa, 17 to New Hampshire and 15 to South Carolina, the state that holds the first southern primary.

Late last year, Santorum started building up staff in these crucial early voting states. On May 3, he announced the formation of a presidential exploratory committee, filing papers with the Federal Election Commission. Two days later, he participated in the first GOP presidential debate, in Greenville, South Carolina. Santorum will appear next Monday at a CNN/WMUR/New Hampshire Union Leader debate in the Granite State.

But for all his travel and appearances, Santorum still has very low name recognition among most Americans, and according to just about every poll, he registers in the low single digits nationally among Republican voters when it comes to the choice for their party's next presidential nominee.

But, due in part to his strong opposition to abortion rights and gay rights, Santorum remains popular with many socially conservative voters who have long had an influential role in the GOP primary process. Earlier this spring, Santorum made headlines by winning a much-watched straw poll at the Greenville County, South Carolina Republican convention.

At the Faith and Freedom conference, a gathering of social conservatives, in Washington Saturday, Santorum touted his credentials saying "I had always been pro life, I had always been for traditional marriage, but I had always been like a lot of folks – a lot of folks who weren't here last year but are here this year who come and make the pledge, vow to social conservatives that they'll check the boxes, they'll be for the things social conservatives care about. Ladies and gentlemen I don't just take the pledge, I take the bullets."

Santorum is also emphasizing his pro-Israel stance as well as his experience in the Senate when it comes to foreign policy, which could distinguish him from most of his rivals.

And he is hyping his fiscal conservative credentials. In his interview on ABC, Santorum suggested that House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan's controversial budget is not strong enough, saying "not even Paul Ryan and his budget now has the temerity to go after Social Security,"

Santorum, who has seven children, was elected to the House in 1990, at age 32, and first elected to the Senate four years later. He lost his 2006 re-election bid by 18 points to Democrat Bob Casey Jr. and until last year was largely out of public view except for appearances on Fox News.

– On Monday, June 13, CNN will host the first New Hampshire Republican Presidential Debate, live from Manchester, NH at 8 p.m. ET. Follow all the issues and campaign news leading up to the debate on CNNPolitics.com and @cnnpolitics on Twitter.


Filed under: 2012 • Rick Santorum
soundoff (110 Responses)
  1. LISA LOOO

    Santorum has done DIDDLY for Pennsylvania except people paying more taxes and get nothing in return, The unemployment is still in the crapper and this joker wants to run for President? PALEASE! He needs to tour areas outside the comforts of his lush home and fix PA first. I would rather see Trump!

    June 6, 2011 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Another unemployed Republican joins the ranks of the high profile unemployed Republicans, the 2012 GOTP field.
    -------------------------------------------------------
    Santorum is unemployed for a reason, just like the rest of the candidates. They have all been voted out of a lower office. That is not the problem with the GOTP field. Each candidate has their own plusses and minusses. But, being unemployed is the common feature amongst all of the candidates, with the exception of Rep. Ron Paul who runs a losing candidacy every year no matter what.

    June 6, 2011 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  3. bb

    If he were smart, which he isn't, he'd save his time, money, and effort. He has zero chances of winning a national election.

    June 6, 2011 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  4. Andy Botwin

    And another right wing whack job joins the can of mixed nuts that used to be the Republican party.

    June 6, 2011 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  5. keith

    geeesh yet another iidiot in the ring.....no politician is TRULY out for the people....they are in it for their own gain as has been proven time and time again.

    June 6, 2011 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  6. Beverly

    Everyone wants to run in this next presidential race, they know their chances are easier. Most say they would vote in Daffy Duck over Obama, should be much easier. Palin can probably beat him if she wanted.

    June 6, 2011 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  7. Brian

    Good for him – takes balls!

    June 6, 2011 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  8. Andy

    I'm glad to see Rick is frothing at the mouth for the presidency

    June 6, 2011 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  9. Big D

    WHO?? Just another politician wanting to get a piece of of the action (free campaign funds).

    June 6, 2011 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  10. Rick is Watching

    Rick is a psychopath and stands no chance at winning the presidency. Wait until the whole country gets a load of his 'holy war' it's 'us against them,' 'believers vs non-believers' rhetoric. He is as toxic a politician as I've ever seen. One of the few rebublicans (besides Palin) whose potential assention to power is actually scary. This is a guy who would attempt to legislate morality on levels that even the right-wing in this country wouldn't be comfortable with...

    June 6, 2011 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  11. Jorge

    First Palin, then Trump, now Santorum. The best of the GOP's brain pool??? Oh brother, give me a break...

    June 6, 2011 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  12. Jimmy

    Why even bother? Is there a point?

    June 6, 2011 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  13. Alex

    I don't care what he is running on, left, right and/or center but as soon as a voter goggles him...He is done for.

    June 6, 2011 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  14. More fear and hate

    This guy lost his job for the hate he said as a congressman and guess the republican party still generates the same.

    June 6, 2011 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  15. Sybaris

    Look up "santorum" in the urban dictionary.

    June 6, 2011 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  16. BruceF

    Politics and policies to the right of Genges Kahn

    June 6, 2011 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  17. Roger

    Just what the Republicans needed, another homophobic extreme right-wing wacko.

    June 6, 2011 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  18. Bob

    He won't last long.

    June 6, 2011 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  19. Truefax

    Google his last name. Just google Santorum. Dooo eet.

    June 6, 2011 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  20. HarvardLaw92

    LOL, and here we go. One more nutjob left to throw in her name and the looney bin trifecta will be complete. Whee!

    June 6, 2011 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  21. Golyadkin

    All someone has to do is Google "santorum" and they'll see why he has no chance.

    June 6, 2011 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  22. JAB

    A dark day in the nation today.................

    June 6, 2011 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  23. Was Buf., Now Was.

    Good! I was looking for a reason for the word "santorum" to re-enter the popular lexicon. GOP Crazython 2012 looks more and more fun by the day!

    June 6, 2011 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  24. Tyler

    Who?

    June 6, 2011 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  25. pincushion

    Google this guy's last name, has an interesting meaning...

    June 6, 2011 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
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