Santorum: Best Way to Ensure a Conservative Wins Against Obama - ‘Elect a Conservative’

March 13, 2012 - 4:03 PM
Santorum 2012

Republican presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum speaks during the Alabama Republican Presidential Forum in Birmingham, Ala., Monday, March 12, 2012. (AP Photo/The Birmingham News, Jeff Roberts)

(CNSNews.com) – GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum said Monday during a candidate forum in Birmingham, Ala., that the best way to ensure that a conservative defeats President Obama is to “elect a conservative” in the primary election.

“The founder of our … the conservative movement in America, William F. Buckley, Jr., made the statement many years ago, and he said this: ‘When you go to the polls, vote for the Republican that’s most conservative and can win the election.’ Would you explain to Alabamians why you’re the most conservative who can win in November?” Bill Armistead, chair of Alabama Republican Party, asked Santorum.

“You want to elect the most elective conservative? First, elect a conservative, because that’s the one that’s going to be most electable,” Santorum said.

The former Pennsylvania senator said the Republicans would not be able to outspend Obama in the fall, so whoever has the most money in the primary election won’t matter in the general election.

“You better have the person who has the best contrast, the best ideas, the best vision for our country to remind us who we are,” Santorum said.

On the issue of health care, Santorum said, while President Bill Clinton “was trying to impose Hillarycare,” he worked on the House budget committee along with now Ohio Gov. John Kasich and was the first to propose medical savings accounts, now known as health savings accounts.

“For 20 years, I’ve been arguing for private sector health care – bottom up, free people, individual control, not government mandates. Frankly, the other people in this race are just wrong on this issue. Both have supported government mandates at the federal level – one for 20 years,” Santorum said.

“The other put forth on a state level a template for Obamacare and advocated for it, and then told Republican audiences through 20 debates that he didn’t do that, when in fact he did,” he added.

“It’s one thing to have bad policy in the state. It’s another thing to advocate for it. It’s a third thing to … not tell the truth about what you did, and we need someone to tell the truth to the American public,” Santorum said, pointing out that GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney claimed to have “a clear contrast” with Obama on “biggest issue of the day.”

“‘We have a clear contrast on the biggest issue of the day between me and President Obama,’” Santorum said, echoing Romney’s earlier remarks. “We don’t. Why would the Republican Party give that issue away – the most salient and most important issue?”

He noted that 75 percent of voters in the swing states oppose the individual mandate and Obamacare. “Why would we put up anybody who supported both? Why would we put up someone who supported the Wall Street bailout? I didn’t. The other two in this race have,” he said.

“Why would we support someone who supported cap and trade when the climate was right for everybody believing we needed to do something about CO2 emissions? I didn’t go along like well-oiled weather vane. No, I stood tall and said, ‘This was bad science. This was political science, not climate science,’” Santorum added.