June 6th, 2011
09:08 AM ET
3 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. BlueDem1

    Well, the right-wing radicals have their candidate.

    June 6, 2011 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  2. mickey

    if you like a big dose of smug with your stupid, you'll love rick.

    June 6, 2011 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  3. Skip

    Hard to imagine a more divisive, alienating candidate.

    June 6, 2011 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  4. CAROLINELEW

    Keep em coming. Split the votes. What a field day this is.

    June 6, 2011 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  5. kindasorta

    At the same time, out-of-office presidential candidate Santorum joined Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin in courting the Jerk Party nomination for Biggest Jerk inflicted on the American People. It is a close race.

    June 6, 2011 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  6. noteabags

    Great news! Another extreme right winger.

    June 6, 2011 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  7. NoMore

    LISA LOOO, Santorum has not been in office in Pennsylvania for yeays, thats why he has not done Diddly.

    June 6, 2011 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  8. deuce

    LOL

    Dan Savage has a better chance getting elected!

    June 6, 2011 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  9. John

    Why can't all these clown In the CIRCUS say this at the same time. How many are there 12or 13. I have heard one that has make any since at all so far and that Ron Paul. But still need to hear more about were he stand first.

    June 6, 2011 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  10. Scott F

    Honk if you are or are contemplating being a Republican candidate for President. The Republican CLOWN circus will be in your town soon. Bozo the Clown will announce his candidacy next week. My pet goat Fluffy will announce later today.

    June 6, 2011 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  11. livingston

    We kicked him out of office in Pa because he wasn't firing on all cylinders and the ones that were firing were really strange. He is a sad little man who is completely out of touch with reality. I wonder what color the sky is in his world?

    June 6, 2011 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  12. insert sarcastic remark here

    Santorum. Never heard of him. I'm going to go Google Santorum right now.

    June 6, 2011 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  13. Senor Ed

    Isn't the GOP clown car full yet?

    June 6, 2011 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  14. Geddy Lee

    Santorum belongs in a Sanitarium! The man is a ultra right fringe idiot.

    June 6, 2011 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  15. THis guy is funny

    Father was not from america egh? Wheres the Birth Certificate.

    June 6, 2011 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  16. NVa Native

    Santanourm is the male equal to Palin – a male Bimbo.

    June 6, 2011 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  17. Anonymous

    The santorum is running

    June 6, 2011 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  18. George

    We in PA don't call him Slick Rick for nothing, he is the smarmiest, party follower ever.
    He has no answers to the nation's problems and didn't even live in PA for most of his term in office (he just owned prprty), an he sent his kids to private school while doing nothing for public school (except pushing for vouchers so he could save money on the tax payers dime).

    Now google santorum and see what he really is.... lol

    June 6, 2011 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  19. Jim

    Is this "true conservative family values guy" the same guywho made a pass at Mrs. Heinz shortly after her husband's death and whose Senate seat he occuped? Santorum is a jerk and a typical Republican hypocrite.

    June 6, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  20. Common Man

    Oh Joy – A guy who compares gay marriage to 9-11 running for president.....how did this bigot get out of the asylum?

    “This is an issue just like 9-11… We didn’t decide we wanted to fight the war on terrorism because we wanted to. It was brought to us. And if not now, when? When the supreme courts in all the other states have succumbed to the Massachusetts version of the law?”

    June 6, 2011 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  21. Chiana

    In an April 7, 2003 interview with the Associated Press, Santorum stated, "If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual [gay] sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does."Santorum further stated that he believed consenting adults do not have a constitutional right to privacy with respect to sexual acts.He stated regarding the concept of marriage within the law, "In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing." A representative for Santorum asserted that his comments were relevant specifically to the then-pending case before the Supreme Court of the United States, Lawrence v. Texas.The Associated Press reported Santorum was offered an opportunity to explain his comments prior to the publishing of the interview—he refused to do so and replied, "I can't deny that I said it, and I can't deny that's how I feel."In a follow-up statement released after the Associated Press interview was published, Santorum said some of his remarks were "taken out of context", and defended his comments in the interview asserting "It is simply a reflection of the law."In an interview with FOX News, Santorum said he was not going to apologize for his remarks, "I do not need to give an apology based on what I said and what I'm saying now - I think this is a legitimate public policy discussion. These are not, you know, ridiculous, you know, comments. These are very much a very important point."

    June 6, 2011 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  22. gt

    delusional... waste of time and money..not going to happen...

    June 6, 2011 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  23. Eardley Ham Woodbury, MN

    Another ultra-conservative who cares not one whit for the elderly, poor or disadvantaged. With an 'anti-every social program' mentality, he is just another shrill Palin-type voice among the Republican harpies.

    Smarmy, weasle-like, he and Tim Pawlenty make a good pair. A pox on both their houses.

    June 6, 2011 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  24. Paul1st

    Santorum's grandfather must be unhappy. He left Italy to escape fascism and now his grandson is promoting a platform that is about as right wing as possible without being considered a fringe group.

    June 6, 2011 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  25. mejoedee

    LMAO, this man was a joke in our home state of PA, now he wants to be president? "Hey Rick, time to move on and get a life, perhaps one of your special interests groups can hire you, or you can work in the coal mines"!

    June 6, 2011 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
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