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Posted at 10:27 PM ET, 03/06/2012

Rick Santorum’s Super Tuesday speech (full transcript, video)

Rick Santorum addressed supporters in Steubenville, Ohio, Tuesday night, where he was locked in a dead heat with Mitt Romney. Read the full transcript of Santorum’s speech below (text courtesy FDCH transcripts).

SANTORUM: Thank you!

(APPLAUSE) Well, thank you for coming out, Steubenville, Ohio. And God bless you. Thank you for being here.

(APPLAUSE)

For the folks listening at home, we’re in Steubenville, Ohio.

(APPLAUSE)

Not too many presidential candidates come to Steubenville, Ohio, much less hold their victory party here in Steubenville, Ohio.

(APPLAUSE)

We’re in a high school gymnasium. I just came from our war room, which doubles as the weight room for the high school, was pumping a little iron to get myself psyched for coming out here.

SANTORUM: And we just prepared our talk where many talks were prepared for this gym floor, in the coach’s room. This is our roots. Here behind me is, well, a part of our family, because this is the where we’re from. We’re from down here in the areas of southeastern Ohio, West Virginia, and southwestern Pennsylvania, where -- where the folks who worked hard and built this country lived and worked for many, many decades here.

(APPLAUSE)

I’m particularly excited to be here with my family. When I say “my family,” I mean not just my family of our immediate family, but my -- my -- my mom, who’s right here. This is my mom, Kay (ph), 93...

(APPLAUSE)

... and Karen’s mother and father, Ken and Betty Lee (ph), right over there, Garber (ph), thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

I got my brother here and his family, and Karen has, well, several. Karen is one of 11 children, so you can imagine brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, we’ve a great crew back here, all behind us, all behind us, because this campaign is about the towns that have been left behind and the families that made those towns the greatest towns across this country.

(APPLAUSE)

This was a big night tonight, lots of states. We’re going to win a few, we’re going to lose a few, but as it looks right now, we’re going to get at least a couple of gold medals and a whole passel full of silver medals.

(APPLAUSE)

We can -- we can add to Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, Colorado now Oklahoma and Tennessee. We have...

(APPLAUSE)

We have won in the West, the Midwest, and the South, and we’re ready to win across this country.

(APPLAUSE) I want to thank, again, my wife. I know that, you know, those who have seen her on the campaign trail, the common refrain is “More Karen, less Rick.” But I’m working on it. I’m trying to get as good as she is at this political stuff.

But she has been an amazing partner for -- for me and my conscience, my -- my biggest supporter, my most important, my most honest critic, and someone who has kept our family together and continues to do remarkable and incredible things every day for me and all of us, thank you very much, my love.

(APPLAUSE)

We have almost all the kids here. We have John, Sarah Maria -- where are you -- Patrick, Elizabeth, Peter, and Daniel. And they’re all wearing buttons for our little Bella. So we got everybody here.

(APPLAUSE)

We went up against enormous odds, not just here in the state of Ohio, where -- who knows how much we were outspent -- but in every state. There wasn’t a single state in the list that I just gave you where I spent more money than the people I was able to defeat to win that state. In every case, we overcame the odds.

Here in Ohio: still too close to call.

(APPLAUSE)

But just like the folks here in Steubenville and throughout the Ohio Valley and all the -- all the valleys of this country that are the heart and soul of this country, they worked hard and they overcame odds. And that’s what -- that’s what we’re here to talk about. And that’s why we came to Steubenville. That’s one of the reasons I’m so proud to have my mom and my father-in-law and mother-in-law up on stage with me. They’re a part of the greatest generation of America.

(APPLAUSE)

They preserved liberty by sacrificing immeasurably to keep this country free from despots. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a bit different battle that we’re engaged in today, but it’s no less a battle for the basic liberties that this country was founded upon.

We have a group of people in Washington and in other places around this country who believe that the elites in Washington are the ones who should be making the decisions for all of us, and they have systematically gone and grown the size and scale of government to beyond where it’s -- well, it’s just unrecognizable. We are running deficits, where we’re borrowing 40 cents of every dollar.

And as you look at all of the young people here, the leaders in Washington are saying to you, on your tab, and you will pay for this, the rest of your life.

What right does the government have to do that to the next generation?

(BOOING)

We have people who believe that America’s best days are behind us. They believe that it’s no longer possible for free enterprise, a free economy, and free people to be able to build strong communities and families and be able to provide for themselves and their neighbors. No, we now need an increasingly powerful federal government to do this for us.

(BOOING)

The reason that Karen and I ultimately decided to get into this race was because of that issue, and in particular one issue. I’ve said it almost every stump speech I’ve given. If it wasn’t for one particular issue that to me breaks the camel’s back with respect to liberty in this country, and that is the issue of Obamacare.

(BOOING)

What we have -- what we will go to in a very short period of time, the next two years, a little less than 50 percent of the people in this country depend on some form of federal payment, some form of government benefit to help provide for them. After Obamacare, it will not be less than 50 percent; it will be 100 percent.

Now, every single American will be looking to the federal government -- not to their neighbor, not to their church, not to their business or to their employer, or to the community or nonprofit organization in their community -- will be looking always to those in charge, to those who now say to you that they are the allocator and creator of rights in America.

(BOOING)

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the beginning of the end of freedom in America. Once the government has control of your life, then they got you. That’s why we decided to step out. As you look, I mean, Karen and I have seven children, ages 20...

(APPLAUSE)

... ages 20 to three, not exactly the best time to be out running for president of the United States. We’ve given up our -- our jobs. We’re living off our savings. Yeah, we’re making a little sacrifice for a very, very big goal, and that is replacing this president on November of this year.

(APPLAUSE)

In order to make that happen, the Republican Party has to nominate somebody who can talk about the broad vision of what America is. As I talk about in every one of my speeches, I talk about how important it is that we remember who we are.

Ronald Reagan, in his farewell address to the American people, worried about whether America would remember what made us great, that we are not a great country because we have a great and powerful government. We are a great country because we believe that rights don’t come from the government, but as in our founding document, the Declaration of Independence, says, our rights come to us from our creator.

(APPLAUSE)

The government’s job and the Constitution of this country was intended to do one thing: protect those rights, so each and every one of you would have the opportunity to build their own life, to take your own path, to create a strong family, strong neighborhood, community, state and country. That’s what made America great.

We built a great country from the bottom up. And we need people to go up against President Obama and his vision of a top-down government control, of not just health care, but of energy and of manufacturing and of financial services, and who knows what else is next.

But this is a -- this is a president who believes -- who believes that he simply is better able to do this than you are, that he will be fairer than you are with your fellow man.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is an election about fundamental liberty. And the signature piece, the signature piece of legislation that points this out, where you have economic rights created by the government, and then the government using its heavy hand to force you to buy insurance, to force you to take policies that you don’t want, and, of course, to force you to take coverages that may even violate your faith convictions...

(BOOING)

... in this race, there is only one candidate who can go up on the most important issue of the day and make the case, because I’ve never been for an individual mandate at a state or federal level. I’ve never...

(APPLAUSE)

AUDIENCE: Rick! Rick! Rick! Rick! Rick! Rick! Rick! Rick! Rick! Rick! Rick!

SANTORUM: I’ve never passed a statewide government-run health care system when I was governor, because, well, I wasn’t governor, but Governor Romney did. And now we find out this week not only did he pass it in Massachusetts, he advocated for it to be passed in Washington, D.C., in the middle of the debate on health care.

(BOOING)

It’s one thing to defend a mandated top-down government-run health care program that you imposed on the people of your state. It’s another thing to recommend and encourage the president of the United States to impose the same thing on the American people. And it’s another thing yet to go out and tell the American public that you didn’t do it.

(BOOING)

We need a person running against President Obama who is right on the issues and truthful with the American public.

(APPLAUSE)

This race provides a great opportunity for a great contrast.

SANTORUM: Big things have to happen in this country to -- to bring us back from the brink of insolvency. Big things have to happen so we can secure our freedom and, as I talked about this morning in front of AIPAC, that we have a president that stands with our allies and defends this country and does not apologize for America around the world.

(APPLAUSE)

We need a fighter. We need a fighter and someone who learned what America was about by growing up in communities just like this, understanding how America and neighborhoods and families work, and believing in them, understanding they’re under a lot of stress and strain right now, much of which is put upon them by the government, understanding that that’s the greatness of our country. My mom and my mother-in-law and father-in-law represent here on this stage the greatest generation. And...

(APPLAUSE)

Mom’s hamming it up a little bit over there. OK.

(LAUGHTER)

But the greatest generation was the greatest generation not because they had greater -- greater character or courage or perseverance than those of us today. The greatest generation was great because, when freedom was at stake, they rose to meet the call to defend this country.

(APPLAUSE)

We’re at a time in this country when freedom is at stake and you are all blessed, as I am, to be here at a time when your country needs you, to be here at a time, like the original founders of this country, who signed that Declaration of Independence, to be here at a time when freedom was at stake and people were willing to go out and do heroic and courageous things to win that victory.

I want to thank all of you here in Ohio for overcoming enormous odds to make this a great night for us here in the Buckeye State.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to thank, in particular, up here on stage, Mike and Fran DeWine for all the help and support and standing up and fighting for me throughout the course of this time. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

Tonight, it’s clear. It’s clear. We’ve won races all over this country against the odds. When they thought, oh, OK, he’s finally finished, we keep coming back.

(APPLAUSE)

We are in this thing. We are in this thing not because I so badly want to be the most powerful man in this country. It’s because I want so badly to return the power to you in this country.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you, Steubenville! God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you.

END

By  |  10:27 PM ET, 03/06/2012

 
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