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Santorum Addresses Local GOP
Leonardtown, MD - 9/2/2011
By Marty Madden
While Republicans looking to emerge as the party’s 2012 standard-bearer are concentrating their campaign efforts in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, one candidate addressed a modest gathering of Southern Marylanders.
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum was the featured speaker at the St. Mary’s County Republican Central Committee’s Sept. 1 meeting in Leonardtown.
Although Maryland is not considered a “battleground state,” Santorum said he came to St. Mary’s County at the invitation of a friend. “Friendship means a lot to me,” he said after a lengthy address to the audience, which was followed by a brief question-and-answer session.
Santorum, 53, served two terms in the House of Representatives followed by two terms in the U.S. Senate. His career in Congress ended with a crushing defeat in 2006. Democrat Bob Casey Jr. unseated Santorum, considered a vanguard of conservative ideology.
“This country needs a leader,” said Santorum, who added President Barack Obama [D] “doesn’t understand America. America revolutionized the world.”
He demonstrated some tough love for the Tea Party Movement. “I love the Tea Party but the Constitution is the ‘how’ of America, not the ‘why,’ ” Santorum said. “We recognize our rights come from our creator. Our freedom is being eroded by a government.”
Santorum said “one bill” served as the fulcrum for his presidential bid. “I will repeal ‘Obama care,’ ” he said, prompting cheers. The healthcare package passed by Congress last year, Santorum predicted, would make all Americans dependent on the federal government. “Not on my watch. This is the most important election of your life.”
Additionally, Santorum said his leadership plan calls for:
·A constitution amendment mandating a balanced budget
·Getting the economy jumpstarted by bringing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. and eliminating the federal corporate tax
·Establishing an energy policy that mandates drilling for natural gas and coal-mining.
Santorum railed against the efforts to make renewable sources of energy the linchpin of the federal energy policy. “You are subsidizing windmills and solar panels,” he said. “They don’t replace one kilowatt of base-load capacity.”
Charles County politician Collins Bailey asked Santorum about his strategy for cutting the budget.
“I’m someone who wants to cut the budget as bad as anybody,” said Santorum. “But you can’t cut all at once and you still need to grow the economy.”
The candidate said Congress should not focus on “cut, cut, cut,” but “balance, balance, balance.”
Santorum on other issues:
·Abortion - “I authored the partial birth abortion ban bill.”
·Illegal immigration - “My concern is the Mexican border. It’s purely a matter of will. We have the resources there to secure the border.”
·Taxes - Santorum does not support a flat tax and believes the progressive rate is workable as long as it doesn’t discourage economic growth. “People should have to pay something,” he said.
·Support for small business – “the best thing we can do for small business is get rid of the regulatory burden we put on it.” Santorum said this burden is less onerous for big businesses, giving them an advantage. “If you look at big business, they don’t give their money to Republican candidates.”
As for the GOP’s other presidential candidates, Santorum did not mention Gov. Rick Perry of Texas or Mitt Romney of Massachusetts. He said the candidates who outpolled him in the Ames, Iowa straw poll spent millions and employed gimmicks to attract voters.
“He was very impressive,” said Maryland GOP Chair Audrey Scott as Santorum shook the hands and greeted the meeting goers afterwards. “It shows he [Santorum] is honest and wants to talk to the people.”
Contact Marty Madden at email@example.com
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