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Pa. Senate: Santorum Rallies the Base

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) -- the top target for Democrats this November -- spoke before the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. The Fix was there.

Sen. Rick Santorum
Sen. Santorum got a rock star welcome Thursday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. (Bloomberg)

The conservative conclave is in its 33rd year, and its slate of speakers runs the gamut from Vice President Dick Cheney, who urged Republicans to turn the 2006 elections into a referendum on national security, to aspiring presidential candidates (Sens. George Allen and Sam Brownback and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich) and an assortment of heroes of the ideological right like retired Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North and author Ann Coulter.

But for many conservatives, the highlight of the gathering was the Thursday afternoon speech by Pennsylvania's junior senator. The third ranking member of Senate leadership, Santorum has long been an unapologetic voice for conservative principles -- especially on the issue of abortion.

Santorum didn't disappoint the crowd.

In a brief address to a decidedly youngish audience in the Regency Ballroom at the Omni Shoreham hotel, Santorum cast himself as a warrior on the front lines of the battle between conservatism and liberalism.

"I happen to believe the building block of society is family," said Santorum. "The iron triangle of faith, family and community organizations has made America great."

To illustrate his point, Santorum repeatedly made reference to the boogeyman (or boogeywoman, more accurately) of the conservative movement -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). In fact, the bulk of his address was dedicated to a verbatim account from his book -- "It Takes a Family" -- of an exchange between he and Clinton on the Senate floor during the debate over a ban on partial-birth abortions.

Santorum sought to paint the debate as illustrative of his desire to protect all life -- even those lives that are not sustainable outside the womb -- vs. Clinton's belief that only "perfect" (to use Santorum's word) babies should be born. (Santorum has personal experience in that arena; his wife, Karen, gave birth to a son after just a 20-week gestation. The child died within two hours of being born.)

"Every child should be seen as a gift and welcomed into society," Santorum told the CPAC crowd.

Santorum insisted that conservatism is a "philosophy" that can be successfully "exported" around the world if members of the movement are willing to stand firm in their beliefs. "We can't be ashamed of it, we have to stand up and defend it," he said -- to raucous applause.

Following his speech, a line snaked through CPAC's exhibit hall as attendees clamored to have Santorum sign copies of his book. One observer said Santorum received by far the loudest ovations of any of the conference's speakers that day.

While there is little doubt that Santorum is immensely popular among this social conservative crowd, polls continue to show that he is not held in that same regard by voters in Pennsylvania. Santorum has regularly trailed state Treasurer Bob Casey Jr. (D) in statewide polling -- although he appears to be making some inroads. A Franklin & Marshall College poll released Friday showed Casey with a 50 percent to 39 lead over Santorum.

To win, Santorum must convince voters in Pennsylvania, which went for John Kerry in 2004, that he is more than simply a conservative crusader on social issues. Don't expect a lot of speeches like the one he gave at CPAC from Santorum as he stumps across the state between now and November.

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 10, 2006; 1:09 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Comments

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Posted by: pwfa acbjnv | June 13, 2006 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Dublin Hotel | March 20, 2006 1:29 PM | Report abuse

OH MY GOSH!! I MISSED THE PRIMARY!!!!

Or, I must have since this report suggests that Casey has already won the Democratic nomination in Pennsylvania.

There are REAL Democrats, who endorse Democratic values and who, unlike Casey, are in line with the majority of Pennsylvanians on Roe, Stem Cell, Iraq, and many of the other issues on which Casey supports the Bush Administration policies. It would be nice if the "reporters" actually reported the facts and included the other candidates.

Posted by: Tom Ford | March 16, 2006 11:22 AM | Report abuse

What I want to know is why the MSM hasn't more thoroughly reported Gore's ludicrous statements in Jeddah just a few days ago...

Posted by: Pazius | February 16, 2006 2:13 PM | Report abuse

gadzooks!!!. FOX IS NOT AND NEVER WILL BE NEWS. Opinions and spewing talking points is not news. We can not ever give any creedence to any poll that comes out of FOX. do you all understand this?

Posted by: Dan | February 16, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Tom: Isn't the "Culture of Death" a Republican, Red State product? If you add 9/11 and the Iraq War together you get a lot of totally preventable deaths that Red State America is entirely responsible for.

Something else you can probably answer: when did mental institutions grant access to the world-wide web?

Posted by: Judge Crater | February 13, 2006 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Democrats in Pennsylvania, seem to have "lost their minds!"

They have been BRAINWASHED,ever since Roe in 1973, by their irreligious, immoral, Democrat politicians.

Pennsylvania Democrats are leading the charge in firmly establishing the Blue-State, Culture of Death which is poisoning the hearts and minds of young America.

WAKE UP, PENNSYLVANIANS!...YOU ARE ENDANGERING THE FUTURE OF YOUR CHILDREN BY LEADING THEM INTO FURTHER MORAL CORRUPTION AND TEMPTATION!

Posted by: Tom | February 13, 2006 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Making inroads? Generally incumbents getting 39 percent are not making inroads. Santorum has consistently polled below 40 percent and Casey above 50 percent. Santorum's gone. He's way out of touch with his state. Maybe he can join Bush's cabinet when he loses.

Posted by: Q | February 12, 2006 9:05 PM | Report abuse

To say "between he and Clinton" is not grammatically correct at all.

"Between him and Clinton" or "between them" would technically be the grammatically correct way to say it. Have you ever heard anyone say "between he?" Of course not. People foolishly say "between he (and whatever)" because they are fooled into thinking that "he" sounds like the subject when it is actually the object of the preposition.

Posted by: OJ Simpson | February 11, 2006 3:41 AM | Report abuse

Did I miss something? What base is Santorum rallying? He spoke at a national conference...this in no way represents Pennsylvania. He's a radical, plain and simple. He's a far-right radical and should have his own slot on the 700 Club. Casey will win because he represents Pennsylvania. He'd get more done for real conservatives than Santorum ever would.

Posted by: Kenny Rosetti | February 11, 2006 2:03 AM | Report abuse

He doesn't fool all Chritians.

Santorum is pro-life and protects the innocent unborn Christian children in the name of God in America. Yet he supports the dropping of bombs in non-Christian Countries to murder innocent unborn children still in their mother’s wombs. Santorum is a liar and hypocrite.

Posted by: Jamal | February 10, 2006 10:52 PM | Report abuse

>> "between he and Clinton. . ." Between they?

The original quote is actually grammatically correct.

Posted by: roo | February 10, 2006 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Santorum may be just smart enough to impress Christian fundamentalist losers, but the whole bunch of these pathetic assholes aren't smart enough to live long when the s**t hits the fan. It's whatcha call a "self-correcting" problem.

Posted by: Morons ForChrist | February 10, 2006 8:40 PM | Report abuse

"between he and Clinton. . ." Between they?

Posted by: Grammar Please | February 10, 2006 7:31 PM | Report abuse

hey Chris,

How about phoning Santorum and asking him how the President's current budget conforms to that so-called conservatism? Or asking him if his use of the word "exporting" means that his so-called conservatism has more to do with the global corporate business world than his phony attachment to the abortion issue. Of course phoning him up may require that you act as a reporter -- oh wait, that won't work either. We have all learned that journalism in the Bush era means regurgitating republican talking points -- which is something being successfully "exported" thanks to great journalists like you. So never mind.

Posted by: thersitz | February 10, 2006 7:03 PM | Report abuse

I live in Delaware County in PA and I do not consider Rick Santorum representative of me or the concerns of most importance to African Americans. He panders to one black pastor in Philadelphia, but pushes enemies of affirmative action and other policies meant to address past AND present racial inequities on to the federal judiciary.

If he believes in right to life so much, he would support efforts to raise the minimum wage so the parents of these precious children he claims to care about would stand a better chance of providing a decent quality of life for them long after all of the anti-abortion opponents have packed up their placards and gone home.

Posted by: young african american woman | February 10, 2006 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Rick Santurom is an extremist who wants to impose his conservative religious beliefs on all Americans. To say that Hillary Clinton is only interested in saving perfect babies is a distortion. In Maryland the Republican candidate for Governor compared stem cell research to Nazi medical experiments on Jews. These kind of statements show a mind set that is hostile to freedom and common sense.

Posted by: Steven | February 10, 2006 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Ahhh, Santorum worships the blastocyst, embryo and fetus. Too bad he can't use his energy to focus on laws that benefit actual living children.

When I see him speak, I am amazed at how such a simple, narrow-minded man could get into office. The Republicans are really starting to sound hollow when they keep trotting out the old "democrats are baby-killing, homo-loving, godless terrorist sympathizers" line. If that is the only way to "rally the base" these days, they should really take a good hard look at who the "base" is. I am disgusted to have to share a country with people like this.

At least Rick appears to be headed for defeat this fall.

Posted by: maria | February 10, 2006 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Please explain this: Santorum has regularly trailed state Treasurer Bob Casey Jr. (D) in statewide polling -- although he appears to be making some inroads. A Franklin & Marshall College poll released Friday showed Casey with a 50 percent to 39 lead over Santorum.

Excuse me? Where's the "inroads?" He's an incumbent US Senator and still mired under 40% and trailing by 11 points with Casey over 50.

Posted by: Craig | February 10, 2006 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Santorum is definetly out of there this year. None of us are going to vote for him. But in response to the poster above that said Casey was the Governor.. this Casey was not the Governor.. that was his dad.

Posted by: Stupid Santorum | February 10, 2006 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I think that former Senator Bob Kerrey had it right when he said, "Santorum, is that Latin for a**hole?"

Posted by: bioesq | February 10, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Speaking as someone who has served jury duty, I would not want an elected official to be picked. Sure, you can bash Santorum over it, but he's the last person I would want deciding my case.

Same goes for any politician. I can't believe both attorneys up in Boston let Sen. Kerry hear the case... and his fellow jury duty members elected him foreman! Makes for a nice little story, but again, if you want people who are totally objective, you don't want a politician on the jury.

Posted by: re: Jury duty for politicians | February 10, 2006 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Santorum also said on an NPR broadcast : "there are those who think the government should stay out of our bedrooms.. I'm not so sure"

I am!

Rick Santorum's ideas are evil and so are those of his followers.

Posted by: Stay Out of My Bedroom | February 10, 2006 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Anyone ever see the movie "Bob Roberts"? This political parody has Tim Robbins playing a Senatorial candidate using folk music with conservative themes as his campaign theme.

Santorum scares me like that, showing art imitates life (even preceding it occasionally).

Posted by: RMill | February 10, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse

A warrior onna white stallion, huh.

Gimme that...OL TIME RELIGION.

If the good people cannot see thru this man's game - THEY deserve what they get. But the problem with that is....THE REST OF THESE UNITED STATES has to deal with the fool.

Pennsylvania...rejoin the United States by condemning this fool to the trash-heap of Neo-Con Knights of the King's Kingdom. You KNOW what I mean.

Posted by: mommadona | February 10, 2006 3:55 PM | Report abuse

State Rep. Jess Stairs declined to investigate whether Scamtorum was even eligible to be a PA senator. Ol' Ricky bought a home in Penn Hills, which he never occupied, for somewhere in the $80-$90,000 range. After owning for a few months he finally fulfilled his obligations to upgrade a few items so as to obtain an occupancy permit. His niece supposedly lives there.
Scamming the Penn Hills school district for those thousands was rather sh**ty of him.
He doesn't do jury duty and his wife sues chiropractors.
Recently he stated his support of people in the military, claiming that you too can be patriotic! All you have to do is sport one of his bumper stickers! Video available at santorumwatch.
As I wrote him recently...yeah, I'll put a sticker on my vehicle.
Santorum for Virginia

Posted by: disgusted in PA | February 10, 2006 3:52 PM | Report abuse

rick should stay in washington rallying the far right wing. He is in serious trouble in pa. some think that he is going to intentionally lose the election to cash in and make some money while eyeing a run for 1600 pennsylvania ave.

this is the year and pennsylvania is the place. rick santorum is widely viewed as so far out of the mainstream (even in the red state middle of pa) that he is not part of our fine commonwealth. It is sort of a perfect storm for this race with bush poll numbers down, republicans facing ethics questions, santorum on point for the k street project and most importantly a solid opponent in Bobby Casey with genuine ideas and positions that appeal to many in the state.

Remember the wonderful lessions in santorums book:

Santorum wrote that respect for stay-at-home mothers "has been poisoned by a toxic combination of the village elders' war on the traditional family and radical feminism's mysogynistic crusade to make working outside the home the only marker of social value and self-respect."

He also argued that a college education to help low-skilled unmarried mothers move up the economic ladder "is just wrong."

http://thenextdirection.com

Posted by: next | February 10, 2006 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I remember the clip in which Rick Santorum blasted then Minority Leader Tom Daschle for George Bush's mishandling of the Iraqi crisis about to plunge us into a war of attrition that we have not yet concluded. I find him to be on the wrong side of most issues, and is one of the Senators I hope is soundly defeated in the midterm election. But his opponent Bob Casey, former Governor of the State who opposes abortion and still receives the indorsement of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, better watch his back. The Carl Rove led Republicans will unveil every conceivable dirty trick in their effort to defeat him.

Posted by: Big Dave | February 10, 2006 3:15 PM | Report abuse

This is just another fear tactic that this
adminstration is using to win the vote!
If the media did its job maybe the real truth would emerge.
This repbulican party is just like Hilter
put the fear and take away civil liberties,
and all this lying what the hell is going on!

Posted by: givemebackmycountry | February 10, 2006 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone told Rick that his opponent this year is not Hillary Clinton. I guess he thinks if it plays well to a roomful of conservative people every else will just fall in line. Maybe he just wants their money--or a job sometime in January.

If Rick doesn't have the stones to give that speech on the campaign trail this year throughout the state then he doesn't deserve anyone's vote. All politics is local!

Posted by: jenniferm | February 10, 2006 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Rick Santorum clearly has no idea about what the rest of the world is like. For someone who has never lived outside the United States and probably left American soil once or twice in his life, he displays an immense amount of ignorance on his understanding of the rest of the world. Because "conservative" views might be successful in winning elections in the US, that definitely does not mean "exporting conservativsm" is a good idea. What he fails to understand is that simply standing by your beliefs will not convince the world that you are any less than a fundamentalist.

http://democraticway.blogspot.com/

Posted by: VaDemocrat | February 10, 2006 2:37 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting -- and just a tinsy bit disturbing -- that the Library of Congress withdrew from its website the factual account of the "confrontation" between Clinton and Santorum. Little Rickie makes a lot of hay with is skewed version of the exchange. Is it possible there was some pressure to get those nasty and annoying facts out of the public's hands to avoid any possible conflict with Little Rickie's version? Or are you just sloppy about the web links you post?

Posted by: Robert in San Jose | February 10, 2006 2:36 PM | Report abuse

The Senator from AccuWeather is just the gift that keeps on giving...

Posted by: vienna local | February 10, 2006 2:25 PM | Report abuse

santorum does not support the troops. he CLAIMS to support them, then cuts veterans benefits every other week.
maybe he just supports their sacrifice while in service.
when they get out, hes just another mean republican that wants to cut their social security benefits. the repubs try to move the military over to social security benefits. then they will try to do away with social security benefits. pity, people pay into this fund all there lives, just to have all the money given to rich republicans in a tax break.

Posted by: dale | February 10, 2006 2:15 PM | Report abuse

>>>The Fix was there.

Of course you were.

>>>Dick Cheney, who urged Republicans to turn the 2006 elections into a referendum on national security

Politicizing The Fear Card. FEAR FEAR FEAR FEAR FEAR.

>>>heroes of the ideological right like retired Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North and author Ann Coulter

Says it all.

>>>Santorum has personal experience in that arena; his wife, Karen, gave birth to a son after just a 20-week gestation. The child died within two hours of being born.

Of course you failed to mention that he brought the DEAD fetus HOME WITH HIM TO HANG WITH THE KIDS.

from your source, Chris:

"There, they spent several hours kissing and cuddling Gabriel with his three siblings, ages 6, 4 and 1 1/2. They took photos, sang lullabies in his ear and held a private Mass."

THIS MAN IS D-I-S-T-U-R-B-E-D. KISSING AND CUDDLING A DEAD INFANT IS N-O-T N-O-R-M-A-L.

Does ANYONE from the Right find this sort of behavior "OK"? Nevermind the fact that he is an elected representative of the State of Pennsylvania??????????

Anyone? Find this ok? Just curious. If so, why? Please do respond.

Oh, and Chris. WHY would you source that article but LEAVE THAT PART OUT (esp when it is referred to consistently throughout the first paragraphs of the piece??? WHY? Is this acceptable practice to you?

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | February 10, 2006 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Rick Santorum is a counter-culture reactionary and a classic Brezhnev Republican. He talks of values while supporting policies that empower a reign of indecency.

http://www.intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal | February 10, 2006 1:23 PM | Report abuse

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