Santorum to South Carolina: 'Step up'
January 8th, 2012
07:42 PM ET
3 years ago

Santorum to South Carolina: 'Step up'

Greenville, South Carolina (CNN) - If there were any doubts about how important South Carolina is to Rick Santorum’s Republican nomination hopes, he erased them on Sunday.

Speaking in ominous terms, Santorum urged a crowd at Stax's Original Restaurant in Greenville to make their voices heard in the January 21 primary and vote for the one true “Reagan conservative” in the race.

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“You have an opportunity in this election to speak very loudly,” he said. “You are going to see this race coming into South Carolina with a lot on the line.”

Santorum called the 2012 election “the most critical election maybe since 1860” - the election that presaged the Civil War - and said the stakes could not be higher in November.

In an implicit shot at GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney, Santorum said South Carolina must vote for a candidate who offers a “bold stark contrast” to President Barack Obama.

Anything less would be a serious failure, he said.

“If South Carolina does not step up and give us that clear contrast so we will have another 1980 election, where we have a real difference and as a result a mandate when we win, to make the changes that are necessary to bring America back from the brink, then South Carolina will have let America down,” he said. “You have let down your children and your grandchildren.”

Santorum did not mention any of his GOP rivals, but in a message clearly aimed at supporters of Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry, he said conservatives should begin to “coalesce around the candidate who has the track record to carry the message with conviction.”

Santorum would not answer when asked after the speech if he needs to win South Carolina outright.

“We need to do well here, buddy,” he told a reporter.

He left soon after and jumped into a pickup truck for a ride to the airport, where a flight back to New Hampshire awaited.

Santorum picked up the endorsement of Gary Bauer, a former presidential candidate and prominent conservative activist, at Sunday’s meet and greet, the second of two events during Santorum’s brief South Carolina foray.

Santorum aides claimed that 500 people showed up at his previous event at a Greenville sports bar.

Bauer predicted that conservatives would begin to line up behind Santorum after the New Hampshire primary. He predicted that at least one candidate would drop out after the state votes on Tuesday.

“I believe that a winnowing process is taking place inevitably, and I suspect after New Hampshire, we will see one candidate out, and by the time of Florida it will be down to maybe three,” he told CNN. “And I think that Sen. Santorum has the staying power to be the candidate conservatives will end up rallying around.”


Programming Note: Watch the ABC News/Yahoo News/WMUR New Hampshire presidential debate Sunday night on CNN at 8 p.m. ET.

Also see:

Five things learned from GOP debate

Huntsman to gain first congressional backer

Romney, a Mormon, gets support from ex-ambassadors to the Vatican

Paul to target Santorum in South Carolina

Romney embraces his faith in South Carolina mail piece


Filed under: 2012 • Rick Santorum • South Carolina
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. Andrew

    Santorum and Gingrich are in a contest to see who has the most corrupt background. The battle continues

    January 8, 2012 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  2. Larry in Houston

    the only reason that Santorum got as many votes as he got in Iowa, was that he was the last one to get scrutinized, like the rest of the gop clowns. RON PAUL 2012

    January 8, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  3. roro

    Rick, I hope you DO win the Republican nomination. It would be a real hoot to see you debate Obama. Plus there's NO chance you will ever see the inside of the Oval Office. You're a bonafide religious zealot and a nut! I'm ashamed to call you a fellow Catholic. WWJD? Well, he wouldn't be a bigot, and he would care for, and care about, women and the poor. Every time you open your mouth you sound more and more like the theocratic lunatic leaders in the Middle East. Wake up, Rickster, this is the USA – not Iran.

    January 8, 2012 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  4. Allo

    Does this man's ego know no bounds ?

    January 8, 2012 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  5. PackersFans

    Vote for Mitt Romney!! Rick Sandorum , he is lack of experince and not able beat Pres Omaha. Mitt can chance to beat Omaha for surely!! We need honest a guy that Mitt this time and who can save America back again!!

    January 8, 2012 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  6. jimatmadison

    For all of the awful things that Reagan did, he wasn't as interested in everybody's seqz life as most of those who came along later.

    And he sure wasn't as prurient and judgmental in his interest as Santorum.

    January 8, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  7. bajadelmar

    90% of the US voting population to xian facist Ricky "Man on Dog" inSantorum: "Get lost!"

    January 8, 2012 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  8. Dixie AZ

    I'm not a fan of any candidate in this race, but I am thrilled over Romney's endorsement by American ambassadors to the Vatican. Take that Mr. Santorum. They chose an honorable Mormon over you.

    January 8, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  9. dwcusc

    Santorum has no chance of winning the Republican Primary and especially against President Obama. Santorum admitted he has been written up for ethics violation by CREW. Whether he wants to pretend it does not matter or not. Santorum will make many moderate Republicans run for any other candidate. The best chance for the country is Ron Paul.

    January 9, 2012 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  10. ahah

    Oboma doen't need a reelection campain by the time these guys get done with each other he will have pleany of amo.

    January 9, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  11. AZ Wildcat

    Step up indeed and show this American Taliban droid the way to the door.

    January 9, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  12. dbc

    The majority of people in SC are so backwards and stupid, they'd vote for Jerry Sandusky. Mark Sanford was as dumb as a bag of rocks. and he got the vote. Nikki Haley is as crooked as the day is long - she's fleecing everyone in Columbia and beyond.. And now these Repubs flock to SC to pass out taffy and make friends before the election. Good luck with all that...

    January 9, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  13. BeverlyNC

    Shows how Republicans live in the past clinging to myth they have created about a man from 30 years ago. They have turned Reagan into something he wasn't. His own son, Ron Jr, is frustrated with the lies of his father's legacy. Besides that, that was 30 years ago and not relevant to anything we face today. Republicans are devoid of reality, truth, honesty, and even caring about the American People. Reagan would be embarrasssed of these Republcans using his name to justify things he did not believe in or would support today. How sad there is not one Republican alive today who is enough of a leader for Republicans to look to for guidance or real leadership. They are not leaders and not one is qualified to be President. I wouldn't vote for any of them to be President of our HOA.

    January 9, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  14. The Left Wing

    Tea Partiers and social conservatives can't put the good of the country ahead of their own interests when they try and legislate, and they aren't much better at trying to solve problems in their own party. For a long time I thought they would be too strong for the establishment Republicans (1%ers). However, their inability to work together will allow the minority in the Republican Party, the 1%ers, to roll them. Sorry Rick, the troops are too disorganized to step up. Democrats, it is time to gear up to fight the Republican's "choice", Romney.

    January 9, 2012 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  15. Patricksday

    What a boring debate, this is the best the Republicans could assemble when the country is in "so much danger". The reality is the Republicans with any Brains dont want to align with these can of mixed nuts. Huntsman seems the most sane, but again he seems to real for the GOP to get behind.

    January 9, 2012 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  16. Hmmm

    What a hypocrite. Their last baby had defects so they "induced labor" at 20 weeks. This is otherwise known as an abortion.

    January 9, 2012 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  17. GRace

    then South Carolina will have let America down,” he said. “You have let down your children and your grandchildren.”

    wow just like a republican, blame everyone else for your own shortcomings.

    January 9, 2012 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  18. PhilG.

    Well,Mr.Santorum,if you want to be President-NOW is the time to act like it.

    January 9, 2012 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  19. John Foster

    Nobody is South Carolina is going to listen to a yankee liberal in a sweater vest.
    Ron Paul 2012!

    January 9, 2012 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
  20. fullmoon

    Santorum is kinda weird.

    January 9, 2012 03:23 am at 3:23 am |
  21. smc

    Reagan tripled the national debt, sent weapons to Iran, helped Iraq with WMDs, and funded and sent weapons to the early roots of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. In that sense, Santorum fits very well in the Reagan "conservative" mold.

    January 9, 2012 05:38 am at 5:38 am |
  22. howlyn

    I prefer to identify Santorum by the first definition given by a GOOGLE search. This defines him to a TEE.

    January 9, 2012 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  23. Nick Gentry

    When Santorm visits if you walk where he has been, you won't step up, you will STEP IN IT.

    January 9, 2012 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  24. HenryB

    Rick, this is not what your Catholic faith teaches you to do. I don't care if you become a slime ball and attack people but the moment you raise your Catholicism as an issue you should be judged according to its teachings. Your endless politically motivated attacks are not the teachings of the Church.

    January 9, 2012 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
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