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Rick Santorum: ‘Big things are adrift’ (Video, Speech transcript)

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Rick Santorum gave a rambling, populist speech after losing the Illinois primary, one that showed he has no intention of dropping out of the race.

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He predicted a big win in Louisiana this Saturday, as well as a victory in Pennsylvania in five weeks, and added that he was thankful for the delegates he did get in Illinois.

While he congratulated Romney on his victory in the state, Santorum also argued that he did better than Romney in the “areas that conservatives and Republicans populate.”

Santorum called this race the most important since 1860, telling the crowd, “You know in your gut that big things are adrift and at stake in this election.”

Romney’s speech was all about Obama; Santorum’s was all about Romney.

Standing in front of a banner that read “FREEDOM,” Santorum said, “I am glad to hear that Governor Romney is now adopting that theme in his speech tonight, glad we’re moving the debate in the Republican party.”

He argued that his rivals had been duped on global warming and on health care.

“There was one [candidate] who said ‘I know this isn’t climate science, this is political science,’” Santorum said. On health care, “Obamacare, Romneycare, they’re interchangeable.”

Santorum joked about not using a teleprompter, a barb that seemed directed at Romney as much as Obama.

Santorum delivered his election night speech from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania rather than Illinois, calling the city a favorite spot.

The full transcript:

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. It is great to be back in Pennsylvania. Thank you for joining us here.
Let me just thank all of you for being here. And I know that they’re not going to be hearing me, but I -- I just feel so bad. We have about 1,000-1,500 people who couldn’t get in here. We’re just overwhelmed by the response here, and I just want to say: I feel welcomed back home to Pennsylvania, so thank you very, very much.
It is -- it is -- first, I just want to congratulate Governor Romney. I gave him a call a little earlier and congratulated him on winning the state of Illinois. But I also want to say -- I just want to thank all of the folks in Illinois, all in the -- you know, if you look at what -- what’s going to happen tonight, we’re going to win downstate, we’re going to win central Illinois, we’re going to win western Illinois. We won the areas that conservatives and Republicans populate, and we’re very happy about that. We’re happy about the delegates we’re going to get, too.
We wanted to come here tonight back to Pennsylvania, back to a favorite place of mine in Pennsylvania, the city and the town of Gettysburg. It’s...
Obviously, it’s -- so many memories come to mind when we walk on here in the town and across the street where Abraham Lincoln finished the Gettysburg Address at the Wills House. And you think about the great elections of our past.
And I’ve gone around this country over the past year now and said this is the most important election in our lifetimes. And, in fact, I think it’s the most important election since the election of 1860.
The election in 1860 was about whether these united states -- which is what it was mostly referred to prior to the election of 1860 -- would become the United States, whether it would be a union, a country bound together to build a great and prosperous nation, a -- a nation based on a concept, a concept that we were birthed with, a concept birthed with our founding document of the Declaration of Independence.
I’ve said throughout the course of this campaign that while other issues are certainly important -- the economy, joblessness, national security concerns, the family, the issue of life -- all of these issues are important, but the foundational issue in this race, the one that is, in fact, the cause of the other maladies that we are feeling, whether it’s in the economy or whether it’s in the budget crisis that we’re dealing with, all boils down to one word, and that’s what’s at stake in this election, and it’s right behind me on that banner, and that’s the word “freedom.”
I was pleased to hear before I came out that Governor Romney is now adopting that theme as his speech tonight.
I am -- I am glad we are moving the debate here in the Republican Party. But I’ve been focused on this, because I’ve actually been out talking to people across this country, doing over a thousand town hall meetings. And I know the anxiety and the concerns that people have in this country about an ever-expanding government, a government that is trying to dictate how we’re going to live our lives, trying to order us around, trample our freedoms, whether it’s our economic freedoms or our religious liberty.
But in addition to trampling that freedom, in addition to building a dependency, a dependency on government, as we see government expand and grow, now almost half the people in this country depend on some form of federal payment to help them get -- make ends meet in America. And after and if Obamacare is implemented, every single American will depend upon the federal government for something that is critical, their health and their life.
That’s why this election is so important. This is an election about fundamental and foundational things. This is an election about not who’s the best person to manage Washington or manage the economy. We don’t need a manager. We need someone who’s going to pull up government by the roots and throw it out and do something to liberate the private sector in America. That’s what we need.
It’s great to have Wall Street experience. I don’t have Wall Street experience, but I have experience growing up in a small town in western Pennsylvania, growing up in a steel town, growing up in public housing in apartments and seeing how men and women of this country scraped and clawed because they had the opportunity to climb the ladder of success in America.
A lot of those folks out there today feel like nobody in Washington and no one in this debate is really talking about them. That’s why this is a wonderful movement as I travel around this country and everywhere I go. I see people, people in work clothes, folks with children who are maybe not getting the educational opportunities that they hoped for so they could climb that ladder of success, people who are looking for someone to voice their concerns about how this economy is going to turn around for them, not just for those at the top of the income ladder.
That’s why I’ve talked about a manufacturing plan, an energy plan, someone who believes that if we create opportunities by, yes, cutting taxes, but reducing the oppressive regulatory burden that this administration has put on businesspeople and people who want to drill for energy, it needs someone who’s got a strong and clear record that can appeal to voters all across this country and someone who you can trust, someone that you know when they say they’re going to do something, they’re not saying it because, well, that happens to be the popular theme of the moment, but someone who has a long track record of deep convictions, someone who’s going to go out and stand and fight, because it’s not just what the pollster tells them to say or what’s on their TelePrompTer. I don’t happen to have one here tonight.
Because -- because they know in their gut from their life experiences, from living in America, that this is what America needs and America wants. They want someone who’s not going to go to Washington, D.C., because they want to be the most powerful person in the world to manage Washington. They want someone who’s going to take that power and give it back to the people of this country.
There is one candidate in this race who can go out and make that contrast with the current occupant of the White House, someone who has a track record of being for you, being for limited government, being for solutions that empower people on the biggest issues of the day, whether it’s Obamacare, Romneycare. They’re interchangeable.
We need someone who understands that the solution to the problem with almost 1/17th of the economy is not government control over that sector economy, but your control over that sector of the economy.
We need someone who understands that we need to grow our energy supplies here in this country. And we need someone you can trust who when in good times and in bad, when times were tough and people thought, well, that -- all this oil and gas and coal in the ground is all a source of carbon dioxide, and we can’t take that out of the ground because, well, there’s a finite supply and it could -- it could damage our environment and cause global warming...
.. when the climate -- when those who -- who -- who profess manmade global warming and climate science convinced many, many Republicans, including two who are running for president on the Republican ticket, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.
But there was one who said: I know this isn’t climate science. This is political science.
And this was another attempt of those who want to take power away from you and control your access to energy, your utilization, whether it’s in your car or in your home of energy, because they are better to make these decisions about how you use energy than you do.
That’s what they believe. And unfortunately, just like in health care, Governor Romney and Speaker Gingrich went along with the ride. And guess what? When the climate changed, they changed their position. And now they’re all for drilling and they’re all for oil and gas and coal. I was for it because it was the right thing to do then; I’ll be for it tomorrow and the next day and the next day. I’m not going to change with the climate.
Ladies and gentlemen, I grew up in this great state, and this is the first day -- this is the launch we wanted to come here to Pennsylvania, to launch our campaign here in Pennsylvania. We’ve got five weeks, five weeks to a big win and a big delegate sweep in Pennsylvania.
I come as a son of Pennsylvania, someone who grew up in western Pennsylvania. Everyone knows the story, I hope, of my grandfather, my dad coming to Pennsylvania to work in those coal mines in Somerset County. I learned everything, everything about freedom and opportunity and hard work, and growing up with folks who worked in the mills and the mines in western Pennsylvania.
And so when I speak and I speak from the heart, in the back of my mind are the pictures of those men and women who worked and scraped and clawed so their children and grandchildren could, yes, have a better quality of life, yes, maybe even go to college and not have to work in tough, manual labor, but, most importantly, they fought for the things that the people in this battlefield just down the road fought for.
They fought for big things, things that America’s always stood for, that Ronald Reagan referred to as that shining city on the hill. It’s things that I’m fighting for here today, the reason Karen and I decided, in the face of having seven children ages 20 to 3 -- not exactly the best time to run for president of the United States when you have children 20 to 3...
... but Karen and I felt compelled. We felt compelled, because as Ronald Reagan said in one of his great speeches, we didn’t want to have to sit down someday and look at the eyes of our children and our children’s children and describe to them an America where once men were free.
We don’t want to be that generation that lost the torch of freedom. That’s why Karen and the kids behind me, all of whom born in Pennsylvania, all of those folks who understand the -- the greatness of our state and the greatness of the values of this state, all of us understand what was sacrificed, in the mills and on the battlefields.
And that’s why we must go out and fight this fight. That’s why we must go out and nominate someone who understands, not because some pollster tells them, because they know in their gut -- just like you do -- all across this country, you know in your gut big things are adrift and at stake in this election.
So I ask each and every one of you to join us, to saddle up, like Reagan did in the cowboy movies, to saddle up, take on that responsibility over the next five weeks. We’re going to head to Louisiana from here. We’re feeling very, very good about winning Louisiana on Saturday, I might add.
We’re heading to Louisiana for the rest of the week, and then we’re going to be back here in Pennsylvania, and we’re going to pick up a whole boatload of delegates and close this gap and on to victory.
Thank you all very much. God bless you. Thank you.

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