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Santorum Offers to Be the 'Jesus Candidate' Santorum Offers to Be the 'Jesus Candidate' Santorum Offers to Be the 'Jesus Candidate' Santorum Offers to Be the...

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

Santorum Offers to Be the 'Jesus Candidate'

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum speaks during a town-hall meeting last week in Iowa.(Charlie Neibergall/AP)

January 6, 2012

WINDHAM, N.H. – Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum is campaigning with all guns firing on his "values" message in New Hampshire despite that state's more moderate Republican electorate; on Thursday, he even compared himself to "a Jesus candidate."

The former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, who made opposition to abortion and gay rights signature issues in the Iowa caucuses, said in response to a question that he disagrees with assertions that the economy is such an important issue in the election that "we don't need a Jesus candidate," as one prospective voter put it.

"My answer to that was, we always need a Jesus candidate," Santorum said. "We need someone who believes in something more than themselves and not just the economy.… When we say, 'God bless America,' do we mean it or do we just say it?"

 

Santorum was responding to a man who called into a radio interview with the candidate this week and commented, "We don’t need a Jesus candidate; we need an economic candidate."

Later, on a tele-town-hall sponsored by Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, Santorum opened by noting, "I’m in New Hampshire, and they said don't talk about faith here." He went on to do just that, elaborating on his earlier comment. "I said we always need a Jesus candidate," he said. “I don't mean necessarily that we always need a Christian, but we need someone who believes in something more than themselves.”

Santorum is the only cultural conservative competing in New Hampshire. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, an evangelical Christian who made a faith-and-values appeal in Iowa, is focusing on the Jan. 21 primary in South Carolina. That’s also where Rep. Michele Bachmann had planned to head before she left the race this week after a poor showing in Iowa.

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