Santorum promises high road, 'We'll beat them straight up'
January 30th, 2012
06:34 PM ET
3 years ago

Santorum promises high road, 'We'll beat them straight up'

Cottleville, Missouri (CNN) – Rick Santorum attracted a full auditorium of more than 300 people at St. Charles Community College here this afternoon, with an overflow crowd of more than 100 more waiting to meet the former senator in a field outside the building.

On a tele-town hall Sunday night, Santorum billed the event as an address on America's failing education system, but he used much of his speech to introduce himself to Missouri voters and position himself as the candidate best-suited to take on President Obama.

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"We want someone who's going to take the high road, who's going to talk about the issues that are important to this country and quit getting down into the gutter and talking about things that have nothing to do with who should be the next President of the United States," Santorum said, continuing on a theme he introduced at CNN's debate in Jacksonville on Thursday. "I'm sick and tired of candidates who think they have to do anything that's necessary – anything to win an election."

Santorum implored Missouri voters, who vote in a non-binding primary on Feb. 7, that this election was too important to be distracted by the "gutter politics that we've been seeing in this race." The state also holds caucuses on March 17 to begin the process of allotting the state's 52 delegates.

When asked after the rally if he had a response to recent calls from Newt Gingrich supporters for him to drop out of the race and work to unite conservatives behind one challenger to Mitt Romney, Santorum said that the mere suggestion shows Gingrich's supporters are nervous.

"You know I think one opponent calling for the other opponent to get out just shows the weakness that opponent feels – obviously feels in their own campaign," Santorum said emphatically. "I'm not calling for anybody to get out. We'll beat them straight up."

This event marked the beginning of Santorum's push towards primaries and caucuses to be held next week in several western states – a strategy the underdog candidate announced after taking several days to care for his three-year-old daughter Bella who was hospitalized with pneumonia on Saturday. Born with the genetic disorder trisomy 18, Santorum told CNN prior to the rally that there was a time during the last several days where his family feared they might loser their youngest child, but she seems to have turned the corner.

Santorum traveled home initially to raise money and prepare his tax returns for public release, and during his remarks he jokingly thanked the media for hounding him about his financial records.

"If it wasn't for the national media's harassment to get my income taxes and turn them over to the public I would not have gone home on Saturday and I would not have been there at a crisis time for my family," Santorum said. "God works in mysterious ways doesn't He?"

But after the event he was more somber when asked if the time at home had caused him to rethink his commitment to the campaign.

"I've always felt like family comes first, and these things always have a way of working out," Santorum told reporters. "Obviously if things had not gone well that's a different story but thankfully they have and we feel very energized that she's going to do well. We found out some things that I think will help her in the future so even though it was a bad thing, there's some good I think will come out of this that I think will help her health wise going forward."

Speaking through a bullhorn to a crowd gathered outside the event, Santorum thanked them for their prayers for his daughter.

During the parts of the speech that pertained to education, Santorum was particularly forceful in berating Washington for thinking small when it came to reform.

"No one in Washington is talking about fundamental reform of the education system. They're talking about how we can improve schools. Stop it! Stop it," he yelled. "It's failed. It's government-run, it's top-down, it won't work, it never works."

Santorum praised the model set by SCCC and other colleges "built not by the government," but rather by "people who had a vision for providing a service to their community or to their country," a service the "market would pay for."

But according to the St. Charles Community College web site, the school is a public institution created by voters in an April 1986 election. The college's expansion has been subsidized by funding approved in several subsequent elections – including a $23 million bond issue approved by college district voters in 2004.

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Filed under: Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Rick Santorum
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    Apparently, Rick Santorum thinks the rules ought to be different for him than for everyone else. Because even if he once fought to keep injured people from seeking more than $250,000 for pain and suffering, that certainly wasn’t enough for the Santorums themselves. His wife wanted $500,000 in damages against her Virginia-based chiropractor for alleged malpractice - although her actual medical costs added up to $18,800.

    Here’s how the Washington, DC newspaper Roll Call summarized part of Santorum’s testimony in the lawsuit:

    “Karen Santorum, he said, ‘likes to be fit,’ but has had trouble losing weight since the birth of their two youngest children – Sarah Maria, who was born two years ago this month, and Peter, who is 2 months old – because she can’t exercise as easily as she once could.

    “While Santorum described his wife as an exercise fanatic who used to engage in everything from step aerobics to jogging to lose weight after the birth of each of their first three children, the herniated disk changed all that.

    “‘We have to go out and do a lot of public things. She wants to look nice, so it’s really difficult,’ Santorum told the jury.

    “The Senator also said he fears his wife will be unable to help him out much with his upcoming re-election campaign because of her physical limitations and the poor self-image she has developed since her back problems changed her life and her daily routine.

    “‘She has always been intricately involved in my campaigns,’ Santorum said, explaining that he and his wife ‘knocked on 20,000 doors together’ during his previous campaign.

    “Now, he says, she ‘does not have the confidence to do that.’”

    An elitist legal system ?

    January 30, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  2. Brian Kemple

    There is a big difference between a school being created and funded through voters and through ex cathedra promulgation of a professional bureaucracy. The author would do well to investigate that difference rather than imply that Santorum is talking out of the wrong orifice.

    January 30, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  3. Barry Marson

    Rick in your mind you think you are the ideal candiate to take on Obama? On what record? The record of that you are white, Catholic, BIGOT, Hate Gays, Black and Hispanics? Welll then, and if so, try to win the nomination and get your A$$ handed to you on a platter. You are in no position to take on the president. You cant and wont even win the nomination, however, I love your dreams. Keep it up Mr Racist, Bigot The rest of us rational thinkers will wait and see. Actually, your 15 minutes of fame is up. I think you are vying for a VP stop and that won't happen either..

    January 30, 2012 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  4. nathan

    I disagree with everything he stands for but i have to admit he's got integrity. Thats why hes so far behind in the GOP race. They dont speak integrity over there.

    January 30, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  5. Hair bear

    Please go home! So Newt can stay! Santorum is not in demand! His campaign is boring!

    January 30, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  6. Ed Fl

    This loser could not even get RE Elected in his home State and now thinks he has a chance at a country wide election.Wonder where he was when they gave out common sense Intelligence.Then again he is a GOP'ER and the rules are differentfor them.

    January 30, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  7. RINOmore

    Rick Santorum 2012

    January 30, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  8. ron

    uhh, no you won't. Get out of the way and stop taking votes away from Newt, please?-

    January 30, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  9. James

    I like Santorum better than Romney or Gingrich. But I would vote for any of the four remaining Republicans over the occupier of the White House.

    January 30, 2012 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  10. nooneknows

    I'm truly glad your daughter is doing better, but hey, maybe Jesus H is trying to tell ya something, eh?

    January 30, 2012 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  11. Joe

    Go, Senator! Show the Romney folks what a winner is. We need a man with your character and your moral compass in the White House. Don't let the MSM tear you down!

    January 30, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  12. Mesilane

    I was there!! It was a great speech. One of the things that impressed me the most was that Rick was not larger than life. He was down to earth. He was genuine. I wish I could have gotten to shake Rick's hand. But just to be there was a great thrill!

    January 31, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |