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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field

CAMPAIGN 2012

Santorum Rhetoric Gets Sharper

Candidate appear eager to tap into fear and anger among Republican voters.

CUMMING, Ga. -- Rick Santorum is sharpening his rhetoric against President Obama on the campaign trail, painting a picture of a president out of touch with the American people that seems aimed at tapping into fear and anger among Republican primary voters.

Throughout the weekend, he began painting an increasingly grim picture of a president whom he contended has a theology that is not based on the Bible, is imposing amoral values on the Catholic church and is requiring insurance companies to cover prenatal testing in order to weed out disabled children. Much of it is an attempt to convince voters, as he said Sunday night, that the president is one "of the few elite snobs who think they know better how to run their life."

 

The former Pennsylvania senator senses that his audiences want passion, and he delivers it to them in spades, frequently employing war and religion as metaphors.

Santorum sees the situation as so dire that during a Lincoln Day Dinner in Mason, Ohio on Friday, he likened the election to World War II and urged voters in the state to model themselves after the Greatest Generation of the 1940s that fought the war. He extended that metaphor on Sunday in a speech to more than 2,000 supporters at a megachurch in Cumming, about an hour outside of Atlanta.

"Remember, the greatest generation for a year and a half, sat on the sidelines while Europe was under darkness," Santorum said, going on to explain why Americans delayed entering the war. "We're a hopeful people. We think, 'Well, you know, it'll get better. Yeah, he's a nice guy. I mean, it won't be near as bad as what we think. This will be okay. I mean, yeah, maybe he's not the best guy after a while, after a while you find out some things about this guy over in Europe who's not so good of a guy after all ... '"

 

"It'll be harder for this generation to figure it out. There's no cataclysmic event," he said.

Some of Santorum's harshest criticism for the president has come over the recent controversy about whether Catholic institutions should provide contraceptives in their insurance coverage.

"It was imposing his ideology on a group of people expressing their theology, their moral code, and saying government will force you to do what your faith says is gravely wrong," Santorum said.

When he expressed thanks to the Cumming crowd that some Catholic institutions will resist the edict, he earned a standing ovation and thunderous applause.

 

Such talk has drawn bitter condemnation from the Obama campaign as well as other Democrats. But it has boosted him among Republicans -- the latest Gallup tracking poll shows him with an 8-point edge over Romney.

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