Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Santorum rips Obama, Romney in victory speech

February 07, 2012|By James Oliphant
  • Rick Santorum speaks in St. Charles, Mo., after being declared the winner of the Missouri primary and the Minnesota caucuses.
Rick Santorum speaks in St. Charles, Mo., after being declared the winner… (Jeff Roberson / Associated…)

Tuesday night is when Rick Santorum became relevant again.

After being declared the winner in both the Missouri presidential primary and Minnesota’s caucuses, Santorum addressed a cheering crowd in St. Charles, Mo., branding himself as the best candidate to take on President Obama in the fall.

"I don't claim to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney,” Santorum said. “I stand here to be the conservative alternative to Barack Obama.”

The two-fer came as the results in Colorado’s GOP caucuses were still rolling in, but the former Pennsylvania senator was showing strength in that state as well, suggesting he could pull off a sweep and alter a political narrative that recently suggested Romney was close to clinching the nomination. It was Santorum's first victory since Iowa's caucuses more than a month ago.

“Your votes today were heard loud across the country,” Santorum said. “And particularly in Massachusetts, they were heard particularly loud tonight."

While cable networks were touting Santorum’s showing as a potential game-changer, there were some sober realities to address. Santorum did not pick up a single delegate by winning Missouri and Minnesota because the contests were nonbinding.

Still, his victories illustrated that there remain large swaths of Republican voters who have stayed skeptical of Romney.

But Romney still has the money and the organizational might. Santorum didn’t have to battle the waves of negative TV advertising that brought down Newt Gingrich in Iowa and Florida.

Santorum on Tuesday night argued that those assets shouldn’t make Romney the presumptive nominee and warned that Obama’s campaign would likely have an advantage over the former Massachusetts governor in both departments.

Romney, he told the crowd, “would not be the best person to come up and fight for your voices for freedom in America.”

Santorum said he represented the “conservatives and tea party people” in the GOP and his speech was, in fact, flavored with the sort of mistrust of big government that characterized the tea party movement. He repeatedly painted Obama as a big-government elitist who “thinks he’s smarter than you” and “thinks he knows better how to manage your lives.”

He ripped the Obama administration’s mandate that religious hospitals and other institutions must include free coverage for contraception in their health insurance plans, saying that the president was “imposing secular values” on Americans.

And he included a pitch for money. That, more than anything, will determine whether Santorum can seize the opportunity granted him Tuesday to become a serious threat to Romney.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|