Santorum counting on Iowa
December 12th, 2011
06:43 PM ET
2 years ago

Santorum counting on Iowa

Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum addressed workers at the largest employer in downtown Des Moines Monday afternoon, telling them that when other candidates claim to need their help at the caucuses on January 3 they're lying – because he's the one who really needs it.

"You see them on TV and they get a lot of coverage in the national media. I'm just counting on Iowa," Santorum told a crowd of roughly a hundred people at The Principal Financial Group.

But when asked after the event if he had to win the Iowa caucuses in order to stay in the race, Santorum said that his current standing near the bottom of most polls meant that a strong finish would be enough for him to carry on into New Hampshire.

Speaking just a few hours after GOP rival Mitt Romney issued a call for Newt Gingrich to return money he earned as an adviser to mortgage lender Freddie Mac, Santorum declined to join in on what he called Romney's "gotcha politics."

"Newt was a private businessman who went out and engaged in a contract and I'm sure he earned that money, and if he earned that money I don't see any reason why he should give it back," Santorum told reporters after his remarks.

But he did join in criticizing Gingrich's work for the mortgage giant, saying that while the former House speaker might not have technically been a lobbyist, he was close enough for Democrats to paint him as one.

"It's a legal issue," Santorum said. "You have to register as a lobbyist if you lobby, and so there is a difference between someone who goes out and speaks on behalf of the company and someone who actively engages in meetings with members of congress. But it's a difference – it's not apples and oranges. It's different kinds of apples. And I think that's what the American public may see, and certainly I can assure that's what Barack Obama will see if [Gingrich] is the nominee of the party."

As for Romney's proposed $10,000 bet at Saturday night's debate over Rick Perry's claim that Romney removed a line from his book that supported healthcare mandates, Santorum said he was "a little taken aback by it."

"That would not be a number that I would throw out," he said. "I either say a nickel or a dollar. I either say I'll bet you a nickel or I'll bet you a dollar. It's the substantive argument not the money, and as a father of seven children nickels and dollars are easier to come by than $10,000."

When pushed on the substance of this particular argument, Santorum made clear that he is in full agreement with Perry.

"There's no question that Rick Perry's right on the issue," Santorum said. "That was in his book. I've seen it. And I don't know why Mitt keeps running away from it."

During his remarks, the former senator called this the most important election of voters' lives, borrowing language from the Occupy Wall Street movement to tell Principal employees that the worst thing President Obama has done is split the country up into haves and have-nots.

"If there is anything this president has done it's he's divided us," Santorum said. "And I understand the politics of it. The politics of it is there are more have-nots then haves – the 99% right? It's easy if you can just appeal to the 99 – maybe not 99 – but even 75% right? It's good politics. It's destructive. It's not who we are."

The Principal Financial Group has more than 7,000 employees spread across six buildings in downtown Des Moines. They've opened up their facility to other GOP candidates as a service to employees who'd like a chance to ask questions of those running for president.


Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Rick Santorum
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Jake

    Rick Santorum is incapable of leading ALL Americans, and even IOWA knows this!

    December 12, 2011 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  2. Dennis1020

    Why is this guy even running? Didn't the voters of Pennslyvania vote him out as Senator after only one term? He seems like an angry person who likes to wear his religious convictions on his sleeve.

    December 12, 2011 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  3. Tomo

    Don't even bother Googling santorum. It is not pretty yet accurate!

    December 12, 2011 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  4. Oldie in TampaBay

    you don't have a chance Ricky. Look at the mess you made of PA! Pack it in & go home.

    December 12, 2011 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |