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Why Rick Santorum Keeps Fighting the Culture Wars Why Rick Santorum Keeps Fighting the Culture Wars

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Why Rick Santorum Keeps Fighting the Culture Wars

Supporters stand on the stage behind Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum as he speaks during a campaign rally, Monday, Feb. 27, 2012, in Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

February 27, 2012

Rick Santorum's charge into the breach of the culture war isn't easy to understand, at least at first. Voters are more worried about finding a job than debating moral decline, and the former Pennsylvania senator's intense contributions to the social-issue debate -- often laced with controversial, headline-grabbing rhetoric -- appear disconnected from those concerns.

Yet, those close to Santorum argue that his refusal to back down from the culture war, despite the protestations of many GOP strategists who fear it will alienate the political middle, isn't indicative of a candidate who can't help himself. Rather, the charged rhetoric is part of a calculated effort by the ex-senator and his team, born of principle and politics, to convince conservatives he's an authentic member of their movement.

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