Santorum: 'They're trying to Huckabee me'
October 29th, 2011
03:15 PM ET
3 years ago

Santorum: 'They're trying to Huckabee me'

Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - Rick Santorum told a crowd of Republicans Saturday he will make no apologies for speaking out against abortion, defending traditional marriage, and for stressing his positions on other social issues.

Then, the GOP presidential candidate coined a new phrase for a political tactic that, he explained, is used to tar and feather social conservatives.

"If you look at the debates, every single moral, cultural question has come to me first," Santorum said at the National Federation of Republican Assemblies in Des Moines, Iowa.

"I was in a conversation with [2008 GOP presidential candidate] Mike Huckabee the other day. I said, 'Mike, they're trying to Huckabee me.' They're trying to paint [me] into that box that you're the social conservative candidate and ask you all these social conservative questions."

"Well as far as I'm concerned, bring it on...I am not ashamed for standing up for life, family and faith which are the foundation of our society," Santorum added.

In the 2008 GOP primary, former Arkansas Gov. Huckabee was seen by many as the most socially conservative candidate. Huckabee won the 2008 Iowa Republican Caucuses.

The former Pennsylvania senator's emphasis on his core social values is sure to appeal to a group that could help his campaign. Santorum's presidential bid is currently beset with at least a trio of political misfortunes: low name ID, poll numbers and fundraising totals.

But some solid debate performances, along with the most visits to Iowa of any GOP candidate this cycle, could help Santorum's standing. He has vowed to visit all 99 counties in the state, something he'll accomplish by the end of next week, he told the audience.

"One of the things I hear from people is, 'Oh Santorum, he's a good guy. He's a solid conservative. He's on my list. But you know, he can't win,'" Santorum said. "If you look at all the people in this race, look at the guy who's actually won. Look at the person who's actually been in a state that's a swing state that's going to determine this election."

Santorum won two terms to represent Pennsylvania in the Senate.

Another strategy that could improve Santorum's standing and visibility: continued criticism of the Republican frontrunners.

To that end, Santorum once again took aim at Mitt Romney.

While reiterating his frequent criticism of the Massachusetts Supreme Court's ruling that allowed for gay marriage in the state, Santorum said, "Guess who didn't rebuff the courts. Governor Romney. Governor Romney issued those marriage licenses – ordered people to issue marriage licenses in contradiction to the constitution and the statutes of Massachusetts."

–Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN


Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Rick Santorum
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. jim1963

    This is why he has no chance. No one cares about the presidents stance on this issue. He has little control over them and with the crap we are in they are irrelevant. Look at all the candidates who are running on moral and religious issues they are at the bottom.

    October 29, 2011 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  2. Steven Colo

    Make it a four-plex: he's also got the distinction of having been clobbered in his last race, which was held in a conservative district. He looks great, but simply telling everyone he's conservative isn't enough – people want to see accomplishments, intelligence, and electability.

    October 29, 2011 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  3. Gemini Girl

    No comments so far, that I know of, shows the interest people have in Santorum! I'd like to say the lowest of the low in the GOP field would have to be a toss-up between Santorum, Newt, Perry & Bachmann & Cain! Officially called the Clown class of Candidates! Why Jon Huntsmann doesn't have a higher voting poll is a mystery to me, and I'm a Democrat intending to vote for Pres. Obama.

    October 29, 2011 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  4. wanderer

    Unless the majority of Americans (middle class, poor people, and small businesses) want to be ripped off more and more and more by the banks or big corporations I don’t see why a GOP should be elected to be the POTUS. At this point, the majority of Americans should have no doubt that the GOP are not trying to take the country back. They are still living in the U.S.A. so what country are they trying to take back? If they are not doing everything to take back the power for their party, what are they trying to take back? I am independent voter and I am still wondering why so far none of the GOP presidential candidate has clearly shown why they want to be the POTUS. Has the GOP actively done anything positive for this country and the majority of Americans since the last 10 years?

    October 29, 2011 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  5. Ron

    C'mon man. If republicans reject you at such a high level why are you wasting time and money trying to win the nomination? I mean, really? It's time to thin the herd. Too many options seems to equal no decision.

    October 29, 2011 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  6. Redleg

    So a lawyer says Court decision should be ignored. His big acheivement is convincing people that profesional wrestilng is not really a sport. He also thinks that children should play with corpses.

    October 29, 2011 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  7. Ed Zachary

    Rick Santorum told a crowd of Republicans Saturday he will make no apologies for speaking out against abortion, defending traditional marriage, and for stressing his positions on other social issues.

    Neither will he win the nomination.

    October 29, 2011 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  8. Jean Sartre Racine, WI

    Sorry, Rick, you are even worse that Huck-a-buck on the loin cloth wearing scale... you are done... back to your cave...

    October 29, 2011 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  9. Leon

    Rick why are you so negative? If you can't speak positive then get out of the race. I sure Reagan is rolling over in his grave hearing your attacks. Quit whining Obama is the oblamer in chief and you sound and look like a whining 2 year old. Please, I believe you could have a lot more to offer.

    October 29, 2011 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  10. markiejoe

    Sorry, Rick. You're out of your league on this one.

    October 29, 2011 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  11. thomas

    You have to have more then one pitch to make the world series !

    Why is he against birth control ?

    October 30, 2011 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  12. Billy

    Santorum is a far right conservative who cannot keep church and state separate.

    October 30, 2011 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  13. FlexSF

    Dear Santorum, were you born a bigot and did your children learn to be bigots like you? Did you learn to be a bigot? From what age?

    Conversely, Santorum, fundamental rights are not for you, or your pious Klan to give or take away. As was proven in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial that annihilated proposition 8, the gays are not required to ask for your permission to get married, you absurd, bible-toting lunatic. Your family sucks too!

    October 30, 2011 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  14. Freddy

    Hey Rick (and other GOP/Tea Party candidates): How do you square the talking points of "personal freedom, get government out of our lives, less regulation, etc, etc with having the government decide who can marry and who can't, having the government decide when life begins? I'd love to hear an answer to this, the great Republican hypocrisy!!

    October 30, 2011 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  15. tcaros

    Santorum spent the last 4 years in a "Republican think tank" which is an oxymoron. He was booted out of office in Pennsylvania. With no place to go, and GW Bush tanking in popularity our golden boy of the republican army was left to sit in his think tank trying to figure out what went wrong. It all looked so good back in 2003 when Bush was regularly scaring folks with Al Qeada and stopping stem cell research. What happened to our little small brains Santorum?

    October 30, 2011 05:26 am at 5:26 am |
  16. Marry

    There are many very good reasons why Mr. Santorum, as well as the rest of the candidates trying to outdo themselves with stupidity, has no appeal in a general election pushing the typical “GOP/TP” social conservative agenda. It would be great if they would care as much for every person after “conception” than they do during “s e x” (sort of sick if you picture it)! But, as soon that the lights go out – 99% are not the GOP/TPers business anymore! = against health care, education, SS, Unions, jobs, clean water and air, safe working conditions, etc., etc….to many to mention them here all! They are only for “MONEY” and “PROFITS” – not for decent living conditions… So until they help work for a fine functioning government that is worthy to be by the people and for the people – hush up about “morals – family values and pro live”!

    October 30, 2011 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  17. Tony

    They are trying to Santorum you, Santorum. They are going to ignore candidates who have no prayer of winning.

    October 30, 2011 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
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