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‘Sweatervest’ Santorum to Iowans, ‘You Made a Good Decision’ in 2012

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Former Senator Rick Santorum started off his Iowa Freedom Summit speech Saturday by reminding Iowans of the ‘birth’ of his infamous sweatervest and his Iowa caucus win against Romney for President in 2012.

“I could spend the rest of this speech, easily, detailing why President Obama and his middle class economics have failed, failed miserably,” said Santorum. “But what does that get us?” he asked. “How many people do we convince that they should vote for us by simply criticizing what the President does? That’s their game. They’ve won elections that way, they won the last election that way.”

“We need to do better because America deserves better. They deserve a group, a party, a movement that is for policies that provide opportunity for everyone to reach that American dream and a message that unifies us.”

In a nod to expectations that he will submit himself as the man to carry that vision, Santorum submitted, “Today I want to share with you, I want to share with you a vision forward, a vision forward that can unite us. That I deeply believe in.”

“We have been and we must be the party of growth and opportunity,” admitting it’s not a new message to what the GOP has heralded in the past. “We need to be pro-growth, but we also need to be pro-worker.”

“Why?” he said. “One of our favorite sayings, I know that you hear Republicans say all the time is a rising tide lifts all boats. And that is true, unless, your boat has a hole in it.” He cited 70% of Americans as not having a college degree, many of which he says don’t have a high school degree, also mentioning substance abuse and broken families as contributing to suppression of opportunity to advance in America.

“We have to be the party that says we understand what you’re feeling, we understand what you’re thinking, we understand the problems and put forth a message that targets specifically, not how we can help the economy, but how we can help you and you and you,” asserted Santorum.

The former Senator cited education as the first priority in achieving this. “The path that we’re going to lay forward here is not going to be easy, but it’s gonna be one that makes sense,” he stated, going on to emphasize the importance of rebuilding the breakdown of the American family.

“Government shouldn’t be an obstacle,” Santorum said. Citing welfare statistics he pointed to the contribution of the welfare system to broken families as getting married can lead to loss of massive welfare benefits.

“If we’re going to reform welfare, then we need to reform all welfare, and that means corporate welfare. We can’t be the ones who are for bailouts, we can’t be the ones who are for sweet deals for corporations if we’re going to ask people to sacrifice and struggle and rise in our society….that’s fair.”

“When people say that we have to do something about the border and we have to do something about illegal immigration, they are right, we do. We have to secure the border.” He continued, “We need to stand for an immigration policy that puts Americans first and American workers first. And this isn’t anti-immigrant, I am for legal immigration.”

“Steve is right, we need to step forward with an immigration policy, we need to do so in the context of standing strong with American workers.”

Santorum went on to talk on national security and low level of discussion on the subject in the last set of Presidential debates. He criticizes President Obama’s policy and the need for a 2016 candidate that has experience in the arena. He pushed his experience on the Armed Services committee while he was in the Senate as an example of such experience. He touted his push for a bill that was originally opposed by President George W. Bush, but eventually passed and signed.

“Experience, knowledge, courage – on national security, the area where the President has the most per view, those are the things that are necessary,” as he asked the audience how he knows that, then cited a recent experience he had on a trip to Israel where an official told him America needs to elect a President that is ready for war.

He went on to butter up the Iowan crowd saying, “I’ve been here many times as you know and you had a tough time last time around. You made a very good decision by the way,” he said referring to his win of the 2012 Iowa caucus. “You made a good decision and you’re going to have to do that again. I just want to encourage you, you do a great job,” continuing to elaborate on his win in Iowa. He said, “The last time around everyone told you no, no, don’t pick this person, this person has no chance and you said well I think we’re going to just vote for the best person that we believe has the best chance, not who Washington and New York thinks should have the best chance.”

He closed, “It is well worth the mileage and the sleep to go to all 99 counties in Iowa. And if any one of these other guys wants a travel log, I’d be happy to share it with them.”

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana


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