Santorum Emerges as Romney Alternative

Kayla Whitaker, Staff Writer

   As November gets closer, the presidential candidates are pulling out all the stops to give their campaigns a leg up on the competition. Rick Santorum has advanced to the forefront at the end of the race, using an initial victory in Iowa to gain constituents and funding. As of March 3, Rick Santorum is in the number three spot for the U.S. Republican Primary, behind Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.

   Santorum was a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania from 1995 to 2007. Born on May 10, 1958, the 53-year-old Roman Catholic has his sights set on the presidency. Living in the quaint town of Great Falls, Virginia and raising seven kids with wife, Karen Garver Santorum, his religious and political opinions have held strong for years. Santorum’s rapid rise to success gained him the caucuses of Iowa, Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri within the past few months.

   In the presidential election of 2008, Santorum supported fellow candidate Mitt Romney, due to Romney’s conservative agenda. After a poor performance in a recent televised debate, he has changed his perspective of Romney.

   In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on March 2, Santorum addressed the scandal surrounding Rush Limbaugh, his recent comment calling President Obama a ‘snob’ and the mandated healthcare plan. In the interview Santorum addressed the fact that, when he speaks, he is not scripted. He claimed that, sometimes, he becomes so emotionally engaged that he says things that place his foot squarely in his mouth (specifically over the heated topic of separation of church and state). “When a president of the United States says that – that he believes in an absolute separation of church and state, that’s France.” Santorum stated “That’s not America.”

   As of yet, however, Santorum has not apologized for a statement he made on ABC news. After it was found that the US military burned copies of the Qu’ran in Afghanistan, President Obama offered a sincere apology to Muslims who the act gravely offended. Santorum, citing the US government’s assertion that the burning was accidental, stated that the apology was inappropriate and “shows weakness” on the part of the American government.

   Some of the issues that Santorum addresses include: spending, tax cuts, healthcare and education. Santorum opposes Obama’s healthcare plan, which dictates that employers who receive public support must offer forms of contraception. Santorum has started building his platform on conservative religious principles, which has won him support in the social-conservative voter block.

   Santorum recently described what his first 100 days of being the president would entail with his “Economic Freedom Agenda.” He said that he will tackle issues high on the conservative agenda by improving America’s energy issues, limiting spending to assist with the debt, balancing the budget, repealing and replacing Obamacare, stopping the decline in unemployment, instating tax agreements that will assist families, restoring America as a competitive superpower, increasing the housing market, restructuring entitlements and negotiating free trade agreements.

   Santorum has gained some political footing within the past few months. However controversial his speeches and ideas are, he undeniably asserts a veneer of “honorable intentions.” Whether he is able to clinch the nomination is yet to be seen. One thing is for certain though, the controversies over his views and ideas are not over and the heated conversations regarding his platform will continue on throughout 2012.

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