Rick Santorum Plays to Ohioans by Stressing Their Influence in Politics

Mar 2, 2012 10:38pm

WILLOUGHBY, Ohio – Speaking before a packed Ohio ballroom in an area that borders his home state of Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum characterized Ohio as the “center of the political universe in America” and charged the voters with the task of relaying his message to the rest of the country by casting a ballot for him in next Tuesday’s Ohio primary.

“When Ohio whispers, people listen. When Ohio shouts, ‘We want a conservative,’ this country will stand up and join you,” said Santorum to applause from the crowd at the Lake County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner.

Santorum attempted to connect with the crowd on a personal level by sharing how comfortable he felt in northeastern Ohio because of its similarities to the area in Pennsylvania where he grew up, even throwing in a joke about the rivalry between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers, the team Santorum backs.

“I just want to say to the folks here in northeastern Ohio, it is great to be here. It feels like home. You know, Pittsburgh and Cleveland and the areas around it are you know- The reason we hate each other so much is because we’re so much alike, and that’s a good thing to have that rivalry between siblings really,” said Santorum. “And we really do enjoy going after the Browns here and I know you occasionally have the chance to go after the Steelers in Pittsburgh. I know, I know. I know I’m trying to get votes here, not lose them. But I was a Steeler fan before I ran for president, so I just can’t help it.”

During his speech, Santorum touched on the importance of revitalizing the American manufacturing industry, expanding energy production, and instilling social conservative values in the country. In an attempt to tailor his call for communities to take on the responsibility of cultivating strong families and households, Santorum asked the crowd to think of the impact that families without fathers has had on the city of Cleveland.

“We’re kidding ourselves if we don’t talk about doing things to help and encourage the American family, marriage, fathers taking responsibility for their children, putting networks of support for individuals and families here at the local level,” said Santorum. “You go into the areas of America, you go into the areas of Cleveland where you don’t see any dads, what do you see? Do you see freedom? Do you see opportunity? Do you see jobs? Do you see police? Do you see government? Everywhere. That’s the reality. It has to be a community effort. it has to be a community effort across this country, but we have to talk about it.”

Santorum acknowledged to the crowd that some of his recent rhetoric has caused controversy, but some in the crowd insisted he not let the perception of the media influence his positions.

“I’ve gotten some grief in the media lately because I’m a little bit too passionate, I say things that sometimes offend people,” said Santorum, to which a man in the crowd shouted, “Keep it up!”

Without naming his opponent, Mitt Romney, by name, Santorum referenced other candidates who tout their executive experience without offering a blueprint for monumental change.

“This race is about big things, big things, and we need a leader who goes out and talks about big things. Isn’t just talking about little changes, little adjustments. I’m going to be a better manager than the management that’s in charge right now. We don’t need another manager of Washington. We need someone who has a track record to go down, who’s gone down to Washington shaking things up.”

As he closed out his speech, Santorum asked the voters in the crowd to head to his website to donate whatever they could, adding, “You can see my opponent has a little bit more money than I do.”

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