Santorum delivers his own address in Gettysburg


Crowds waited for more than an hour after his supposed arrival time to see former Pennsylvania senator and current Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum Tuesday night in Gettysburg. Over 100 people stood inside a cramped ballroom “hoping to hear a victory speech,” but instead had to wait, some with young children, until almost 9:30 p.m. to hear Santorum speak — a half hour after his opponent Mitt Romney took the stage in Illinois for his victory speech.

Although Santorum’s speech was not what many expected, he did drive the point home by delivering it to several crowds, including — those hopefuls still in line, and then “taking the party outside,” as ballroom crowds were told by the night’s presenter, RJ Harris.

Santorum chose to use this historic location to evoke the theme of freedom and the principles of past presidents, such as Abraham Lincoln, throughout his speech, while criticizing Romney for doing the same:

“It all boils down to one word, and that’s what’s at stake in this election. That’s the word ‘freedom.’ I was pleased to hear before I came out that Gov. Romney is now adopting that theme in his speech tonight; I am glad we are moving the debate in the Republican Party. But I can actually focus on this because I’ve been out talking to people across this country.”

Accompanied by adoring cheers from the crowd, the former senator raised one of his more common arguments against Romney concerning health care:

“There is one candidate…who can go out and make that contrast with the current occupant of the White House. Someone who has a track record of… being for solutions that empower people on the biggest issues of the day, whether it’s ‘Obamacare,’ ‘Romneycare,’ they’re interchangeable. We need someone who understands that the solution to the problem is not government control over that sector of the economy, but your control over that sector of the economy.”

While busy berating points such as “not managing Washington” and other candidates “taking away our access to energy,” protesters outside made clear their opposition to what supporters call “Rick’s strong core values” such as his clear pro-life view.


JimBob Duggar, of TLC’s TV series, “19 Kids and Counting” said, “My family prayed at the beginning of this process about who to support. Rick’s core values just really agree with ours very closely…Mitt Romney has said he’s more liberal than Ted Kennedy…I want you to ask him about his health care plan and women being able to get abortions for $50.”

The former senator was clear in his emphasis for traditional family values and the importance of relating to his audience. One supporter, Walt Tuchalski of Gettysburg, made clear a sentiment echoed by many in attendance saying, “I’ve had the opportunity to know Rick personally when he worked here in Pennsylvania. He’s just a real man and his core personal values are very in line with ours, and how can you not support that?”

Santorum’s address in Gettysburg was the beginning of his Pennsylvania tour which will continue this Saturday, March 25, in Harrisburg as he and other conservative political figures address the Pennsylvania Leadership Council. Saturday will also see the results of the Louisiana primary, which the former senator stated he is “feeling very, very good about winning.”

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