Santorum Tells Evangelicals They Need a Nominee Who Will ‘Take the Bullets’

Jan 16, 2012 8:42pm

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Just six days before South Carolina voters go to the polls, Rick Santorum addressed an evangelical conference this afternoon, trying to pitch himself to the crowd.

At the Faith and Freedom Coalition Forum, he contrasted himself with his opponents listing Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, and himself and said, “only one did not support the Wall Street bailout.”

“Clear lines, sharp contrast,” Santorum said, adding that evangelicals need a nominee who “believes in their heart” in “conservative principals,” not “because they happen to run in a primary” with a conservative electorate, because when they go to Washington, D.C., they will not have to appeal to these same South Carolina voters.

“This is a race, this is an election where we need someone who is not afraid to get shot at,” Santorum said, adding that the GOP needs a nominee who will “take the bullets.”

“As a family, we’re committed to winning in South Carolina this weekend,” Santorum said, with his wife at his side, and accompanied by four of his children. He got an enthusiastic reception from the crowd, which was packed into the tent here to listen to the forum’s speakers.

“So I ask the people of South Carolina to give a good, strong hard look at this,” Santorum said. “You have a tough choice to make between some good candidates.”

Earlier today, he sat next to his wife, Karen, at a forum sponsored by an online mother’s group, and his wife got emotional when talking about their special needs daughter, Bella. It was one of the first times Karen Santorum has spoken at length on the campaign trail.

She told the story of finding out their daughter’s diagnosis four days after her birth and said she was “very angry” and in a “deep, dark hole,” for the first 10 days after Bella’s diagnosis. She said she didn’t lose her faith because she “love(s) the Lord,” but it was extremely difficult. Now she says Bella is “perfect,” and she’s 3 ½ when no one said she would live three hours.

The forum was hosted by conservative pollster Frank Luntz, but it was also opened up for questions from to mothers in the audience. One said she has a gay son who told her Santorum “hates” gays, and she asked the candidate if that was true.

Karen Santorum spoke first saying “gay rights activists” have “vilified” her husband and he doesn’t “hate” gays, just believes that marriage should stay between a man and a woman, calling it “backyard bullying.”

Rick Santorum said he has a “public policy difference,” but does not hate anyone. Relationships should be “affirmed,” no matter if they are friendships or “amorous” relationships, he said, but he’s passionately against same-sex marriage.

Luntz also asked the Santorums about their children, military service, and Santorum’s stance on Iran.

Luntz asked how both Santorum and his wife would feel if it was their “child going over there and would you be prepared to send their children to take down Iran before they launch a nuclear weapon?”

Karen Santorum said she would be proud of her son, as did Rick Santorum, saying both of his eldest sons are considering entering the military. But, he corrected Luntz on his Iran stance and said he doesn’t want to “take down Iran.”

“That has never been something that I put on the table, to take out their capability as the Israelis did in Syria with their reactor and with Iraq and their reactor is a very different thing than a full scale invasion of Iran,” Santorum said. “I have not talked about that, I won’t talk about that because it’s not on the playbook, it’s not anywhere in the playbook, that’s not something we should engage in, but we should stop a radical theocracy that has very mal intent not just for Israel, not just for our allies in their region most of whom are Muslims … and not just for the West as well as Europe and the United States with their protection of terror, which they have already done repeatedly against the United States and our allies.”

If Iran is not stopped from developing a nuclear weapon, he said, there will be a “war that we have never seen the likes of before in this country, and it is not a matter of taking out this regime, it’s not a matter of a preemptive war, it’s a matter of taking out this nuclear ability that would change the face of our country.”

SHOWS:
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus