Posted at 12:39 PM ET, 06/16/2012

Santorum embraces Romney at Faith and Freedom Coalition summit

Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney have buried the hatchet.


Former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R). (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The two former Republican primary foes didn’t get the chance to meet face-to-face at the Faith and Freedom Coalition summit. (Santorum spoke in person, while Romney addressed the crowd via video.)

But in their Saturday morning addresses, the two embraced each other in rhetoric, if not in person.

Santorum told the enthusiastic crowd of social conservatives that the presumptive GOP presidential nominee has “hit all the points,” particularly when it comes to the interconnection between social and economic issues.

“I’ve talked to governor Romney about this issue, and I have no doubt — and I mean this in all sincerity — I have no doubt that he understands the centrality of family,” Santorum said of the former Massachusetts governor.

He added that while he had been concerned during the primaries whether Romney would change position in the general election, he hasn’t done so.

“Governor Romney is right on, and not just because he quoted me,” Santorum, who spoke after Romney, said to applause. “That was just a wise thing on his part. It’s because his message is sound. It’s solid. The concern I had — I did, I was very frank about it — was that governor Romney would track to the middle as so many Republican candidates have done. But I’m not seeing that. I’m seeing him stand by the convictions he had during the primaries. I’m hopeful.”

For his part, Romney cited Santorum by name in his speech and borrowed several points from his onetime foe.

Santorum, who dropped his White House bid in April, delivered a speech Saturday morning that was heavy on the type of fiery rhetoric that propelled him, if briefly, to the front of the GOP primary pack.

“I know many of you social conservatives feel like the Republican Party has put you in the back of the bus, and the Democratic Party won’t even let you get near the bus,” he said.

The former senator from Pennsylvania devoted his speech largely to social issues, taking aim at the promotion by government of “a sexual lifestyle” and the proliferation of “predator fathers.”

“We will never have limited government with the family continuing to disintegrate,” he said. “It cannot happen. It cannot happen. It is a prerequisite. If we want to turn this country around, if we want to shrink government, one of the reasons government is so big is because it’s picking up the pieces of broken homes or homes that have not formed.”

He contended that there are single mothers in the country who are eligible for $40,000 in government benefits a year. Those mothers, he said, are disincentivized to marry because they will lose those benefits if they do.

“Who’s really hurting families?” he said to applause.

As he wrapped up his remarks, Santorum sounded a populist note, appealing to “those of you who maybe have jobs that aren’t in the knowledge economy, maybe part of the 70 percent of Americans who didn’t go to college.”

By  |  12:39 PM ET, 06/16/2012

 
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