Santorum Blames Recession on High Gas Prices

Feb 27, 2012 8:46pm

LANSING, Michigan–Rick Santorum told an audience Monday that the 2008 recession was caused by high gas prices. He said Americans were unable to pay their mortgages — not because of unsustainable housing prices or reckless lending  practices–but because of $4-per-gallon gasoline.

“We need to look at the situation of gas prices today. We went into a recession in 2008 because of gasoline prices,” Santorum said to an enthusiastic crowd at a hotel here. “The bubble burst in housing because people couldn’t pay their mortgages because we’re looking at $4-a-gallon gasoline. And look at what happened, economic decline.”

After his rally, which was packed with families with their children, Santorum said he did not misspeak when he was asked to explain his comments. He said it was a “factor” in the recession and the housing bubble.

“Energy prices were spiking in the summer of 2008 and that was a factor,” Santorum told reporters.

Santorum was giving one of his last pitches to Michiganders vote Tuesday, telling them to “stand up.”

He’s head-to- head in polls here in Michigan, despite Mitt Romney having been born and raised in the state, and the fact that Santorum has none of the organization the former Massachusetts governor.

The former Pennsylvania senator said he is going to “keep working hard” here and “do the best we can,” but he’s clearly buoyed by giving his rival such chase in his home state.

“I think the fact that we are doing as well as we are is (a) pretty big deal in this state,” Santorum said.

He went after Romney here saying it was a “joke” that Romney and his superPAC are running ads against him in this state, telling Michigan voters they have the opportunity to “stop the joke.”

“We have a clear difference  between a record of someone who has fought in the trenches of the conservative cause for the values that made this country great,” said Santorum, referring to himself. “We are ahead of the curve on conservative issues (and) to be attacked on television as someone who is not an authentic conservative by a Massachusetts governor  is a joke.  Michigan, you have the opportunity to stop the joke, to tell the truth about who the real conservative is and to go out there and have the best candidate, the one that can take Barack Obama on on the biggest issue of the day.”

Romney’s superPAC, “Restore our Future,” has spent $2,517,307 opposing both Newt Gingrich and Santorum. Santorum’s superPAC, “The Red, White, and Blue Fund” is spending $1,281,500 on ads.

Santorum got a huge applause line and calls of “Replace him!” when he told the crowd  that if President Obama was “at the (nation’s) founding he would have written a Declaration of Dependence, not Independence.”

“This is who the president–look, he’s a perfectly nice man…he just has a very different view of America,” Santorum said. “And let’s be honest, he is doing a pretty effective job of promoting that view and passing legislation and regulations that are consistent with a view of what America should be like.”

Romney campaign surrogates have been popping up at Santorum campaign stops in Michigan and at the Lansing rally, Romney supporter Saul Anuzis, a Republican National Committee member, was there attempting some counter programming on behalf of Team Romney.

He predicted a Romney win in Michigan and said it will give the campaign a “big boost going into Super Tuesday.”

However, if that doesn’t happen, Anuzis, who is also the former party chair in the state, says “the system was designed to be a long slog.”

“Gov. Romney’s campaign is prepared for a long campaign,” Anuzis said. “They are campaigning in all 50 states, have an organization in all 50 states.”

He credited Santorum’s success so far on the Christian community in the state.

“They are obviously working very effectively through the Christian right and through the churches and you can turn out votes through churches,” Anuzis said. “I think their crowds are primarily driven by church outreach.”

Santorum’s last event before voting is this evening in Kalamazoo at a Christian academy.

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