January 25th, 2012
12:03 PM ET
3 years ago

Santorum says Obama SOTU pandered to blue-collar workers

Naples, Florida (CNN) - Speaking to a crowd of more than a thousand people at the First Baptist Church here the morning after the State of the Union, Rick Santorum praised President Obama's focus on manufacturing and said that it proved he was the right candidate to defeat him in November.

"I was very excited at the president's speech last night," Santorum said to laughter from the crowd. "I actually was because the President of the United States made the case for Rick Santorum to be the nominee of the Republican Party."

CNN LIVE: Tune in Thursday at 8 p.m. ET for the CNN/Republican Party of Florida Debate hosted by Wolf Blitzer and follow it on Twitter at #CNNDebate. For real-time coverage of the Florida primary, go to CNNPolitics.com or to the CNN apps or CNN mobile web site.

Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @politicalticker

Santorum's campaign has long focused on trying to revive America's manufacturing base, going so far as to zero out the corporate tax rate for manufacturers and processors in an effort to spur factory construction. The president also emphasized manufacturing in his address to Congress, and Santorum said that means he recognizes that blue-collar workers are key to his reelection.

"What did the president lead with," Santorum asked the crowd. "Now remember we all know that this was a purely political speech. This was a speech designed to go after different voter groups that he thinks are key for him to win the election. We all agree with that? Okay, what was the first voter group that he went after, the one that he spent the most time on? The one he was going to do the most to help? Manufacturing. Blue collar workers."

Pointing to his previous electoral successes in largely blue-collar Pennsylvania, Santorum regularly makes the case that he's the only candidate who'd be able to attract those voters in a general election contest against the president. At many events he contrasts that record with Mitt Romney's success appealing to moderates in Massachusetts and Newt Gingrich's record of holding on to a conservative Congressional district in Georgia.

"Barack Obama knows the key to this election are the swing states in particular in the industrial heartland of our country," Santorum said. "The Reagan Democrats, those blue-collar democrats who swung for Ronald Reagan and provided a 49-state victory."

In pivoting back to the issue of values, Santorum said that Obama "knows his policies are destroying and making it difficult for those folks to get employment. And he also knows that they are the ones who are on the bubble as to what direction they are going to swing. He also knows that these folks for the most part don't agree with him on some of the core values issues."

Also see:

New Freddie Mac contract prohibits 'lobbying activities'

Romney resets image with postcards from the edge

Gingrich gets major help


Filed under: 2012 • President Obama • Rick Santorum
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Texas Doc

    Yeah, how dare the President side with the people. How disgusting.

    January 25, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  2. The GOP opens mouth and inserts foot

    Obama spoke to the majority of Americans with a plan to turn this country around economically and politically because he knows what he's doing and has common sense. Why would any president ever do that?

    January 25, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  3. The GOP opens mouth and inserts foot

    Santorum was at a church.
    That church's tax exempt status must be revoked.

    January 25, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  4. Amazing

    If I hear another republican make another Reagan quote or analogy, I am going scream. No disrespect to the former president, but he is dead and the world has changed significantly in the 24 years since he was in office. Please give me some new thinking!

    January 25, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  5. Ohio Man

    So since he spoke to the work force / middle class in a positive way that you agree on, YOU should be the 1 that replace him???... LOL.. wow now thats a new 1 .. gotta luv the GOP and their way of thinking

    January 25, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  6. TomInRochNY

    And, who do you side with, Rick? The evangelicals, uber-conservatives and big business. You only say you're for the little guy so you can get the vote, just like you accuse Obama of. I'm not buying it.

    January 25, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  7. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Obama spoke to the majority of Americans with a plan to turn this country around economically and politically because he knows what he's doing and has common sense.
    ============================================================================================
    Obama's track record over the last 3 years do NOT back up this statement and a majority of Americans do not believe that statement. Obama has clearly shown us he is the most divisive President in our history and has NO CLUE about how our economy works. The only way this country will turn around is shortly after his departure from the Whitehouse.

    January 25, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  8. Noodle Nose Johnson

    Obama spoke of giving tax breaks to company's that bring jobs back to the US and increasing taxes on those that outsource jobs. Santorum says No Taxes for any corporation whatsoever. What plan is better for the American people?

    January 25, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  9. Pam from Iowa

    I guess he should apologize for not pandering to the 1% !
    Just what religion are you Santorum? Clearly not Christian!

    January 25, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  10. Larry in Houston

    HELLO ???? ""Pandered"" to the ""Blue Collar"" people ?? WoW !!! That has to be the dumbest thig anyone that is running for the POTUS has Ever Said !! LOL "pandered to the blue collar people" LOL
    I honestly don't know if CNN will print this, but it really doesn't matter to me if do, or not . Who does he think BUILT America ? Huh ?? When the Pilgrims landed on plymouth rock, and when they had that First Thanksgiving Dinner, everybody remember reading or hearing about that ? Well, I wonder who those people actually Were, has anyone else ever wondered ?? I'll bet a dollar to a dime (my dollar, Your dime) that those people that were sitting around that Table (back then) were Not Doctor's / CEO's / Lawyers / Huge Business Owners / Owners of Huge Corporations / but I'll bet that those people just might have been goold old fashioned "Working People" Huh ? (to be perfectly honest, there might have been a few "Indian Chiefs" that they actually got along with)

    Larry in Houston

    January 25, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  11. Beverly - NYC

    Oh heaven forbid we have a leader who wants to look out for the people who built this country, while the Richie Rich set need their butts kissed. The nerve of Obama, to lower unemployment, want people to have health care, removed the Republican party fear booey man Bin Laden and end the money sucking wars. Let the President do his job Rick, you worry about when you will drop out of the race.

    January 25, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  12. vic , nashville ,tn

    After Ronald Reagan republicans totally ignored Blue collar workers

    January 25, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  13. hypatia

    Wow! Did the 'unwashed masses' scare poor wittle Wicky? Is that perhaps because he fears they might burn him as a heretic?

    January 25, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  14. mom4hope

    We all know Santorum and the Republicans only think pandering to the rich is acceptable. If they think you can't give them an insane amount of money through super pacts, you are less then nothing to them. Shame on "public servants" who only want to lick the boots of the rich. Who do they think spends the money to make people rich? That's right GOP, those undesirable middle class worker bees and the poor. The rich apparently aren't using their increased tax saving to create new jobs (in America), and their companies rake in record profits. How stupid do they think Americans are?

    January 25, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  15. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    I'd like to ask all the leftists in here a few simple questions... What would you, and this country, do if the evil rich people took their money and invested it in other countries? Where would the government get all the money to replace the taxes they pay?? To paraphrase Margaret Thatcher's famous statement about socialism, "Whose money will you then have to take to fund the government?"

    January 25, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Santorum says Obama SOTU pandered to blue-collar workers
    ------------------
    He's right. Obama was speaking directly to the middle class. Now we know who really IS the smartest guy in the Republican field. He recognizes the semantics. Mitt Romney called it "alternate reality" something or other because the speech didn't conform to his world view.

    January 25, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  17. Sasha

    So after long accusing Obama of ignoring blue collar whites, the GOP is complaining that he's paying them to much attention. Got it.

    January 25, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  18. Tired of republican lies

    I second vic,nashville ,tn and Beverly -NYC sentiments/statements. :)

    January 25, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  19. neednewgov

    I fail to see how the President made the case for Rick Santorum. I listened very closely to the SOTU and didn't hear one mention of how we should force women to go back to using clothes hangers, or one word about oppressing our gay citizens. Unlike Santorum, President Obama would never twist Christianity into some evil, demeaning, oppressive tool.

    January 25, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  20. Rick McDaniel

    Of course he did. It was, however much worse than that. He actually lied to them, egregiously.

    January 25, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  21. shoegazer

    How quick this lot of GOP hopefuls are to evoke the name of Ronald Reagan but never a mention,even in passing,of "W".
    Why do you figure that is? Once again,I suggest anyone out there to read Murray N. Rothbard's piece from a number of years ago titled,"The Myths of Reaganomics." Maybe the Repubs won't be so quick to call on his memory.

    January 25, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  22. NVa Native

    To the delusional rightist posting here – no matter how you twist and gyrate to distort the truth the fact remains that President Obama has been very successful at turning around efforts of the GOP politician’s 20 years of selling out the American middle class.

    January 25, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  23. Ohio Man

    @ Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    I hate to tell you this but the Country was built on small business / companies not corp greed.. and more than half has already ship jobs overseas due to lower wages, if you rather work for peanuts with no benefits just to say you have a job and the BIG BOSS says only way i will stay if you work for less than by all means go for it, If you think that BIG corp really care about the middle class then they would make sure that those BIG bonuses get trickled dwn to the people who actually did the work

    January 25, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  24. NYCitizen

    People are afraid of conservatives because....ultimately....conservatives are right!!! Liberalism, while on its face looks to be more for equality and rights, but it is not....because, too much liberalism leads too much permissiveness, leading to lack of morals and no grounding in anything.

    January 25, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  25. Voice of Reason

    Rick Santorum missed the point. He focused on one point in the President's speech, and now says that it supports him... He seems to have missed the rest of the speech where the President condemned the very obstructionist and hard-liner right-wing stance that Santorum is so very rpoud of.

    Talk about not being able to see past your own nose. Rick is just being willfully disingenuous.

    January 25, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
1 2