Santorum to South Carolina: 'Step up'
January 8th, 2012
07:42 PM ET
8 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. mommadona

    ANY woman who works for, enables or votes for this Dominionist zealot is either pathetically ignorant of his history or in the grips of fundamentalist religion Stockholm Syndrome. I have NEVER seen such a bunch of ideological zealots ~ all in one place. This is a secular country. And we will make SURE it stays such. Can't believe he's trying to pass self off as a Reagan legacy baby. Now, THAT his hubris, I tells ya!

    January 8, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  2. Macmaven

    I'd really like to know who votes for this guy. The exaggerated religious overtone is nauseating.

    January 8, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  3. GI Joe

    Us to Santorum "GO HOME".

    January 8, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  4. dwech

    Santorum expects to get the vote on ideology along, and from some voters, he will. But most people are smarter than that, or at least they should be. This guy has no plan, no new ideas, no concept of how to run a government (the actual job description) and thinks the way to save Social Security is to have more kids... crazy. Remember, Pennsylvania got rid of him for good reason.

    January 8, 2012 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  5. Tough USA

    Romneybama, Man on Dog and Newt the adultuer will fail. Big Government will Fail. Reducing the debt Debt will win. Cutting the size of Washingtom will win. Stoping military intervention will win. Restoring America will take some hard punches. Ron Paul clearly is the only candidate that can. All other candidates are Keynesian trickle up spenders. Sorry if I offend anyone, but it is what it is.

    January 8, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  6. antieverything

    New Hampshire: Angry mob swarms Rick Santorum with boos and chants of "Get out of our town"

    January 8, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  7. nytw

    I don't understand how Ricky can complain about big government than worry about who marries who.

    January 8, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  8. tc

    romney's idea of posting the national debt is a good one. that is the one thing we have to get under control. otgerwise we are just posturizing.

    January 8, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  9. Bayousara

    Reagan was a jerk, he had no respect for the 53% of the U.S. population–WOMEN other than Nancy-Poo. Why people want to tout him is beyond my imagination. Anyone who thinks they are like Reagan should not be allowed to run for office.

    January 8, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  10. GOP = Greed Over People

    The "evilgelics" can hope all they want but the deal is done, Romney is in.

    The only thing left to determine is will he pick Perry for VP, both because he brings in the southern tea baggers and has deep pockets from oil, like Romney has from Wall Street.

    All you heartless evilgelics try coalescing around that team!

    January 8, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  11. Tom

    It's an extraordinary thing–and in my judgment an ominous thing–for a candidate for President of the United States to tell South Carolina, the crucible of secesssionism in 1860, that this is their most important election since that fateful year that ushered in our Civil War. In the wake of that election, South Carolina seceded from the Union, appropriated federal property in the state and set in motion the chain of events that led to the siege and bombardment of Fort Sumter and, eventually, the deaths of 600,000 Americans, north and south.
    And now Rick Santorum reminds South Carolina of 1860! Extraordinary. Whoever said the Civil War still isn't over?

    January 8, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Why are we still talking about a president from the early 80s when it is 2012?!?

    January 8, 2012 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  13. Shelby

    Yes, Santo, this is a very critical election. How would we know that you wouldn't spend most of your time as Pres working to outlaw contraception and going after gays rather than working on the economy and other major concerns that this country faces?

    January 8, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  14. Ritt Money

    Catholic to evangelical: Get back in line!

    January 8, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  15. israel

    rick is a threat to americans everywhere, we have a man who completely dismisses the separation of church and state and if elected we will become a republic theocracy

    January 8, 2012 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  16. vajra0150

    As a Pennsylvanian who had to suffer having this bozo as a Senator, I plead to all Republicans to ignore this lunatic. The fact that he's referencing the election of 1860, and insulting the citizens of South Carolina, a state he desperately needs to win, should open your eyes to to how far out in outer space this character really is. Ron Paul is further out there in the cosmos of the ridiculous, but Santorum is much more dangerous. If by some quirk of fate the guy would become President, the USA would no longer be a free Nation. Sieg Heil Santorum, the Fuhrer of a country I wouldn't want to live in anymore

    January 8, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  17. Mark

    Huntsman would need to pull a big bunny out of the hat to make it past NH, so he is probably out. Perry is unlikely to survive beyond SC, that wittles it down to four. Romney is safe. But gets more interesting trying to guess the other 2nd and 3rd place going to into FL. Paul is reasonably safe, but the battle between Santorum and Newt could be interesting. Rick might get a big bounce out of SC – but that wont necessaily mean anything when he gets to FL.

    January 8, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  18. 308man

    Step up is correct we don't need anymore of Romney, Conservatives need to get behind Santorum, their only hope

    January 8, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  19. Reuben Andreessen

    Rick Santorum's conservative message should find receptive ears in South Carolina. This race will soon be down to the conservative Santorum vs the moderate Romney.

    January 8, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  20. JJ

    Country to Santorum: Shut up.

    January 8, 2012 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  21. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Here is an open message to all of you in South Carolina from a former Catholic. Rick Santorum was raised in a much stricter Catholic diocese than the one I was blessed to grow up in. Our Bishops recognized the value of other Churches and the good they can do. Unfortunately for you folks, Pittsburgh has always had the type of Pastoral leadership still mired in the Religious wars of the 16th century. Santorum sees all of you who belong to the Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, etc. Churches as heretics who have strayed from God's True Word as Defined by the Bishop of Rome. He tolerates your votes and your money but really doesn't care about you and the way you want to worship. Oh, and for the record, I am a member of the Methodist Church. You see, the Catholic Church decided it didn't want me anymore because I am a divorced and remaried man who refuses to pay the Church to declare a marriage that lasted almost 20 years as never having taken place.

    January 8, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  22. skipper

    There is something very sleazy about a man who claims he is a devout Christian, yet has no problem lying. Santorum promises huge tax cuts, but doesn't tell us how he will pay for the tax cuts. Santorum cannot make the tax cuts he promises to implement without huge cuts to government programs, however, Santorum doesn't explain what government cuts he plans, he just promises tax cuts. Santorum also believes he can start new wars, and deliver tax cuts at the same time. Santorum , I believe is a liar, something very unholy from a Christian.

    January 8, 2012 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  23. JT

    I'm so sick of the media trying to make this a race. The fact is this is over. If by some miracle this gets to super Tuesday Santorum isn't even on the ballot in Tennessee and Virginia. I mean if you can't even hold your ground in the more conservative states, you can't win this. Also Romney will most likely take every contest in February. Santorum is also not on the ballot in D. C. Hunstman is also not on the ballot in Illinois. Lastly, Gingrich can't even vote for himself in Virginia. How can you tell people to go vote, when you can't vote for yourself? This race is over.

    January 8, 2012 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  24. mk1

    So I imagine then that if he is elected he will raise taxes 12 times, more than double the national debt, and sell weapons to terrorists while sleeping through cabinet meetings. Yeah, there is leadership I can believe in.

    January 8, 2012 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  25. Comeatme Bro

    If Santorum is the kind of person the Republicans can get behind, November is lost already. The man is insane.

    January 8, 2012 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
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