Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Santorum calls on voters to defy media, give him another look

February 01, 2012|By Michael Finnegan
  • Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum speaks at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood.
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum speaks at Colorado Christian… (Ed Andrieski / Associated…)

Reporting from Lakewood, Colo. —

A day after getting trounced in his third consecutive primary, Rick Santorum lashed out at his leading Republican presidential rivals Wednesday and urged the party’s rank and file to ignore media pundits who cast Mitt Romney as the inevitable nominee.

The former Pennsylvania senator compared himself to Ronald Reagan battling his image as a conservative “radical” in the 1980 presidential race, but going on to win the Republican nomination and unseat the Democratic incumbent.

“Ladies and gentlemen, here in Colorado, you’ve got to stand up and put some sanity back in this race,” Santorum told a breakfast gathering of the Arapahoe County Republican Men’s Club at a Mexican restaurant in Denver. “You’ve got to stand up and ignore all of this inevitability and say we want somebody who can actually voice our values.”

Republican presidential caucuses will take place Tuesday in Colorado, three days after a more high-profile and consequential contest in Nevada. Both states are uphill fights for Santorum, who won the Iowa caucuses by a razor-thin margin, but got clobbered in the New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida primaries.

In Denver on Wednesday morning, Santorum attacked the conservative credentials of both Romney and Newt Gingrich.

Borrowing a line from former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., who dropped out of the race last month, he called Romney a “well-oiled weather vane.” Santorum also mocked Gingrich’s plan to colonize the moon, saying the former House speaker would leave Americans wondering, “What planet are we going to colonize next?”

But his main line of attack, mainly on Romney, was on healthcare. Santorum called the former Massachusetts governor “the weakest candidate” Republicans could nominate, saying the healthcare overhaul that he put in place in his home state of Massachusetts would leave the party “neutered” in challenging President Obama on the issue.

In effect, he argued, Romney agrees with Obama’s position that “on one of the most important issues of our lives, government ought to be in control.”

“Why would you give this issue away?” he asked.

Mindful that his own support could wane following his distant third-place finish in Florida on Tuesday, Santorum called on Colorado Republicans to defy media reports of Romney’s invincibility.

“See, here’s the problem: You guys watch too much television,” he told the breakfast crowd. “You’re listening to other people’s opinions instead of your own. You’re letting other people make decisions for you based upon what they think, and you think they’re smarter than they are. Let me assure you, I work with them – they’re not.”

When a man asked how a socially conservative candidate could win the presidency, Santorum said his stands on cultural issues, such as abortion and same-sex marriage, were no different than Romney’s or Gingrich’s.

“What makes me a social conservative and them not?” he asked. “Well, I’ll tell you the difference: I actually believe it.”

Santorum later campaigned at Colorado Christian University here in Lakewood, where he picked up the endorsement of Tom Tancredo, the former Colorado congressman best known for his combative rhetoric on stopping illegal immigration.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|