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. jean2009

    Just another voice for the ultra-right-rich. if the subject facing him is anything that would help working American who need jobs, or education...he is nothing but another NO.

    June 6, 2011 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  2. Jackie

    What IS it about our current culture that allows such idiots as Santorum and Palin to even consider running for president? Perhaps one reason is 24-hour news programming. Prior to widespread cable, these idiots would not have been given a minute of air time.

    June 6, 2011 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  3. Greg in Arkansas

    Another passenger in the GOP Clown Car of Candidates.....
    Will someone with decent credentials please step up and run to make the next election interesting?
    Someone that will represent the people rather than the party?

    June 6, 2011 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  4. Bern in Western PA

    Santorum was too extreme in his views for middle-of-the-road Pennsylvania. He was seen as a right wing nutjob here & he has ZERO chance of winning the presidency. Yet one more loose cannon presented by the GOP.

    The GOP's roots and core base is in the south. It is ridiculous they can't find one decent southern candidate to run this late in the game. Obama will get a second term more because the Republicans can't find their bum with both hands than anything positive the president has done.

    June 6, 2011 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  5. tcar

    He's a screwball with no chance.

    June 6, 2011 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  6. Dave Jaipersaud

    Here comes another Repub. idiot

    June 6, 2011 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  7. Dave From Philly

    I believe there is a law that states if you do not use all of your campaign money you can keep it and use it for personal uses after a number of years. I wonder if RS is in this race just for the contributions he will receive?

    June 6, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  8. mejoedee

    The Jerry Jones of the GOP, his aids has the kool aid handy!

    June 6, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  9. blue

    Can you ieven think of living under the rule of Rick? He would change the lives of women forever. He does nost believe in women hving any rights at all. Scary!

    June 6, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  10. Diane

    No chance. He's too Christian-supremacist for an independent, and even for many Republicans. Thank goodness.

    June 6, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  11. AmesIA

    The frothy mixture doesn't have a chance. People are finally starting the question the echo chamber of Fox News and Koch brother funded think tanks and astro-turf PAC's – the man behind the curtains is not the cute bungling old man from the Wizard of Oz but a self serving greed machine.

    June 6, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  12. greyhackles

    Ahahhahhaha! Perfect picture for this article – Santorum's right hand showing his chance of going anywhere is ZERO.

    June 6, 2011 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  13. hingedlwnb

    Oh good, the hitler youth dweeb is now running. Really Republicans? You would vote for this lock-stepped loonie?

    June 6, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  14. Wilson

    Nice ! I like him...I will vote him and Palin..For the love of the country....Please google "Santorum" LOL

    June 6, 2011 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  15. Darwin

    JUST what America needs! Santorum believes 1) Adultery should be criminalized (Wow – all those politicians in jail, what a shame!) 2) in the LITERAL TRUTH of the BIBLE (which BWT commands us to kill all the gays in Leviticus 20:13 'If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be PUT TO DEATH." 3) The fairy tale of GENESIS should be taught along with DARWINIAN EVOLUTION in the schools, etc. etc. Since 75% of Americans (by a recent science knowledge poll) are such dolts that they can't correctly answer the question, "Why do we have WINTER AND SUMMER?", this fellow has a good shot at winning!

    June 6, 2011 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  16. unsub

    nobody will beat President Obama!

    June 6, 2011 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  17. klarg

    How many clowns can they fit in that tiny car?

    June 6, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  18. Jeffer65

    He wants to go after social security? That will really endear him to people, NOT. Even my religious, conservative mother doesn't want SS privatized. How is he any different from the other GOP hoseheads?

    June 6, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  19. buckstop

    Wow, a candidate with a work ethic, plus loyalty, family, and religious values. The liberals are really gonna HATE this guy.

    June 6, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  20. madcow

    As a Pennsylvanian, I am pleased that Santorum is running. He is a wonderful example of just how far to the extreme and out-of-touch the Republican Party has gone and further ensures an Obama victory.

    I can visualize the ticket already: Santorum/Sheen ...Winning!

    June 6, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  21. Nigel Tufnel

    The santorum is running

    June 6, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  22. soundBitten

    This guy should give his money to the poor instead of wasting it on trying to attain the public positions he isn't qualified for. That would help bring the lives into the world he's always talking about saving.

    June 6, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  23. TX Democrat

    Where his long form birth certificate???

    June 6, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  24. krow101

    He's got a catchy slogan ... "Yes we can ... hate"

    June 6, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  25. Barking Alien

    Rick's Sanatorium has little chance of capturing the white house. He needs to start in Pennsylvania where there is lots of work to be done. With the closing of many of the steel mills and heavy industry Pennsylvania needs jobs and industry for a sustainable future.

    June 6, 2011 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
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