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Santorum: I Was an Outsider Insider Santorum: I Was an Outsider Insider

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Campaign 2012

Santorum: I Was an Outsider Insider

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Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum (left) and Mitt Romney.(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

PHOENIX – Despite his 16 years in Congress, Rick Santorum is attempting to sell himself to voters as an outsider, arguing that during his time in Washington he “had the courage to stand up inside the institution.”
 
The “outsider” message is popular with an electorate that has expressed deep-seated frustration with the political establishment. And in Santorum’s case, it’s also part of an effort to blunt an onslaught of criticism from rival Mitt Romney, who has repeatedly attacked him for seeking spending earmarks and voting to raise the debt ceiling.
 
“We exposed broad corruption in Congress after 40 years of Democratic control, and a 32-year-old (House) member, along with six other folks, was willing to have the courage to stand up inside the institution and make the changes that were necessary. That’s what we need again in Washington D.C.,” Santorum said, describing his role in a group of seven House freshmen who helped expose scandals in the 1990s. Lawmakers were discovered to have been abusing their privileges at the House post office and House bank, and both cases drew widespread public attention and scorn.

Santorum, who also served a term in the Senate representing Pennsylvania, made his remarks to a Maricopa County Lincoln Day Luncheon, where he also credited Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona with helping fight the party’s leadership, which Santorum said sought to keep the incidents under wraps.
 
“Jon and I again fought our own senior members, the chairmen of the committee, the leaders of the Senate on the Republican side. We fought for what we knew is right to make sure power isn’t concentrated in very few people in the United States Senate or anywhere and we were successful,” he said.
 
Santorum also took a jab at Romney’s failure to win a Senate seat in 1994.  “I think it’s really fascinating that here’s the guy who was outside of Washington, who was not a senator or congressman, not because he didn’t try, he just never got elected,” he said.
 
Another candidate in the primary race, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, used the same charge against the former Massachusetts governor during a debate in Iowa in early December. “The only reason you didn’t become a career politician is because you lost to Teddy Kennedy in 1994,” Gingrich snapped at Romney at the time.
 
Borrowing another page from Gingrich, Santorum complained about unfair treatment by the national news media after being showered with questions in recent days over controversial statements about President Obama’s theology, prenatal testing, and the role of government in public schools.

 

Santorum told the crowd, “Will you be the generation that sat on the sidelines and watched as candidate after candidate comes up and the national media takes their axe out to try to destroy them in every way possible, as they’ve done with every single Republican candidate and as they will between now and the election, and will you sit on the sidelines and say, ‘Boy, that’s not fair’? Or will you stand up and fight back for freedom?”  

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