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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field / campaign 2012

Santorum Likens Election to World War II

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum last month in Florida.(AP Photo/Steve Mitchell)

photo of Rebecca Kaplan
February 17, 2012

MASON, Ohio – In a speech at a Lincoln Day Dinner in Ohio, one of the nation’s most important battleground states, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum compared the stakes in the 2012 election to conditions leading to the Second World War and said Americans today should model themselves after the "Greatest Generation" that fought Germany and Japan in the 1940s.
 
“Sometimes generations have to step forward, sometimes freedom is actually at stake,” Santorum told the crowd of about 200 people at the dinner. “No one’s asking you to put a uniform on.... I’m asking you to do your duty to be good students and to go out in the next few weeks, fight in this primary, giving clear contrasts between the two leaders who want to lead this country.”
 
Though the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania did not name President Obama, much of his speech focused on drawing differences with the current administration and likening conditions today to the bombardment of Europe by the German Luftwaffe and the “dark” that spread across the continent. He described a “hopeful and optimistic” people that want to believe everything will turn out favorably, just as the Americans did during World War II, he said.

“You give us this mandate, here in Ohio. You will be the next Greatest Generation of America,” he said.
 
This is not the first time Santorum has used historical analogies on the campaign trail; he often contrasts America’s revolution to its French counterpart at the end of the 18th century. And he is not alone in casting the upcoming election in melodramatic terms. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is fond of saying that the 2012 election will be the most important since 1860, when the country was on the brink of civil war. He has also likened himself to a variety of historical characters ranging from Moses to a Viking. 

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