Santorum’s Iowa caucus speech (full text and video)
By Felicia Sonmez,
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Former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) rocketed from being just a blip in the polls to coming within eight votes of clinching the Iowa caucuses on Tuesday night, due in large part to his strong showing among the Hawkeye State’s social conservatives.
Here is the text and video of Santorum’s caucus-night speech, delivered to supporters at the Stoney Creek Inn in Johnston, Iowa. (Text courtesy of FDCH Transcripts.)
JANUARY 3, 2012
SPEAKER: FORMER SEN. RICK SANTORUM, R-PA.,
SANTORUM: Thank you. Thank you. Game on.
(APPLAUSE) As all of you know, I do not speak from notes, but there’s a couple things I want to say that are a little — little more emotional, so I’m going to read them as I wrote them.
C.S. Lewis said a friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you’ve forgotten the words. My best friend, my life mate, who sings that song when I forget the words, is my wife, Karen.
People have asked me how I’ve done this, sitting back at the polls and not getting a whole lot of attention paid to us. How did you keep going out to Iowa, in 99 counties, and 381 town hall meetings and speeches? Well, every morning when I was getting up in the morning to take on that challenge, I’ve required a strength from another particular friendship, one that is sacred. I’ve survived the challenges so far by the daily grace that comes from God.
For giving me his grace every day, for loving me, warts and all, I offer a public thanks to God.
Third, thanks. Thank you so much, Iowa.
You — you, by standing up and not compromising, by standing up and being bold and leading, leading with that burden and responsibility you have to be first, you have taken the first step of taking back this country.
This journey started officially just a few months ago in June, when I stood on the steps of the county courthouse in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. I decided to go there, not the typical place someone announces for president — it’s not where I was born, it’s not where I ever lived — but it’s where my grandfather came back in 1925. He came by himself, even though he was married with two children, one of them being my father. He came after having fought in World War I, because Mussolini had been in power now three years, and he had figured out that fascism was something that would crush his spirit and his freedom and give his children something less than he wanted for them.
So he made a sacrifice. He left to the coal fields of southwestern Pennsylvania. He worked in the mine at a company town, got paid with coupons, he used to call them, lived in a shack. Eventually, he figured out that that was a trip to nowhere, so he started taking less — taking money less so he could start to save, and he did. And after five years, he got his citizenship and brought my father over at the age of 7. He ended up continuing to work in those mines until he was 72 years old, digging coal. I’ll never forget the first time I saw someone who had died. It was my grandfather. And I knelt next to his coffin. And all I could do — eye level — was look at his hands. They were enormous hands. And all I could think was those hands dug freedom for me.
And so to honor him, I went to Somerset County, because I believe foundationally, while the economy is in horrible condition, while our country is not as safe as it was, and while threats are rising around the world, while the state of our culture under this administration continues to decline with the values that are unlike the values that built this country, that the essential issue in this race is freedom, whether we will be a country that believes that government can do things for us better than we can do for ourselves, or whether we believe, as our founders did, that rights come to us from God and, when he gave us those rights, he gave us the freedom to go out and live those — live those rights out to build a great and just society not from the top down, but from the bottom up.
My grandfather taught me basic things that my dad taught me over and over again: Work hard, work hard, and work hard. And I think about that today. There are so many men and women right now who would love to work hard, but they don’t have the opportunity.
And we have two parties who are out talking about how they’re going to solve those problems. One wants to talk about raising taxes on people who have been successful and redistributing money, increasing dependency in this country, promoting more Medicare and food stamps and all sorts of social welfare programs, and passing Obamacare to provide even more government subsidies, more and more dependency, more and more government, exactly what my grandfather left in 1925.
And then there’s another vision, with another vision, the Republican vision, which is, let’s just cut taxes, let’s just reduce spending and everyone will be fine.
I believe in cutting taxes. I believe in balancing budgets. I propose cutting $5 trillion from this budget over the next five years. I support a balanced budget amendment that puts a cap at 18 percent of GDP as a guarantee of freedom for this country. But ...
But I also believe we as Republicans have to look at those who are not doing well in our society by just cutting taxes and balancing budgets, and that’s why I put forth a plan that Iowans responded to. It’s a plan that says, yes, let’s flatten the tax code, get rid of it, replace it with five deductions. Let’s create two rates, 10 percent and 28 percent. Why 28 percent? If it’s good enough for Ronald Reagan, it’s good enough for me.
(APPLAUSE) And then I take the corporate tax, cut that in half, because it’s the highest in the world, and we need to be competitive. But when I traveled around Iowa to the small towns, I found a lot of those small towns were just like the small towns that I traveled around in Pennsylvania. They were towns that were centered around manufacturing and processing, those good jobs that built those towns, and those jobs slowly, whether it’s in Hamburg, whether it’s in Newton, or any place in between, we found those jobs leaving Iowa.
Why? Because our workers didn’t want to work? Because our workers weren’t competitive? No. It’s because government made workers uncompetitive by driving up the cost of doing business here. It’s 20 percent more expensive to do manufacturing jobs in this country than it is in the top nine trading partners that we have to compete with. And that’s why we’re losing our jobs.
And so when Republican purists say to me, well, why are you treating manufacturing different than retail? I say because Wal- Mart’s not moving to China and taking their jobs with them.
So we eliminate the corporate tax on manufacturing so we can compete. We take the regulations, every regulation that’s over $100 million, and we repeal all those regulations, repeal them all, and there’s a lot of them. Under the Bush and Clinton administrations, they averaged 60 regulations over $100 million a year. This administration hit 150 last year.
You don’t want to know what’s crushing business. This administration is crushing business.
People have asked me, well, why do you think you can win? Because we’ve been told by so many people that there’s another candidate in this race who is running a rather close race with me tonight ...
... that is a better person to choose because he can win. Let me tell you ...
SANTORUM: ... what wins — what did you say?
SANTORUM: Oh, Romneycare, okay.
(LAUGHTER) I just didn’t hear you. What wins — what wins in America are bold ideas, sharp contrasts, and a plan that includes everyone, and a plan that includes people from all across the economic spectrum, a plan that says we will work together to get America to work.
How did I win when I won in Pennsylvania? I won because I went out and worked in the communities like I grew up in, Butler, Pennsylvania, a steel town. How was I able to win as a congressman in a 60 percent Democratic district and then in a 70 percent Democratic district, which represented all of the old abandoned steel mills in Pittsburgh? All of them, all along the Monongahela River, those mills were in my district. And I ran in a tough election year, when George Bush Sr., was losing the election by a landslide in my district, and I got 60 percent of the vote, because I shared the values of the working people in that district.
If we have someone who can go out to western Pennsylvania and Ohio and Michigan and Indiana and Wisconsin and Iowa and Missouri and appeal to the voters that have been left behind by a Democratic Party that wants to make them dependent instead of valuing their work, we will win this election.
Those are the same people that President Obama talked about who cling to their guns and their Bibles.
Thank God they do.
They share our values about faith and family. They understand that when the family breaks down, the economy struggles.
They understand when families aren’t there to instill values into their children and into their neighbors as Little League coaches, as good neighbors of fathers and mothers being part of a community, that the neighborhood is not safe and they are not free.
These are the basic values that Americans stand for. And those are the values that we need if we’re going to go up against Barack Obama and win this election and restore the founding principles of our country to America.
I want to close by thanking all of you. This has been an incredible journey, 99 counties, 381 town hall meetings, 36 Pizza Ranches ...
... and you’ll notice I’m not buttoning my coat for a reason.
Okay, I love Iowa, but the fare can be a little bit thickening.
It’s been a great journey. And I just have to say, I always said, you know, the three words that I heard most often when I traveled around this state ...
(UNKNOWN): “We pick Rick”?
SANTORUM: Well, that was — that was late.
(UNKNOWN): “Welcome to Iowa.”
SANTORUM: “Welcome to Iowa.”
I want to thank the Iowans who are up here on stage. You were introduced to many of them. Folks who stood up when no one else was standing up, folks who, when I was sitting at single digits in the polls, believed in the message and the messenger, believed in the cause, and were willing to stand behind us and do what was not popular in the world today: lead. They led. And to each and every one of you, I want to thank you for leading, for doing what was necessary to promote the cause of liberty. Thank you, including Matt Schultz.
I have — I have to particularly give a shoutout to the guy who really helped us on the ground here as a volunteer late, became a little bit of a symbol of the campaign, the owner of the Chuck Truck.
I love that — I don’t really often talk about the New York Times, but I love that graphic in the New York Times that had — had how the entourages traveled around the state. And there were these long rows of buses and people and airplanes and SUVs and people and staff. And then all the way at the bottom was the Chuck Truck, me and Matt and one of my kids. That was — that was the ...
I started with this; I’m going to end with it. You know, I’ve written a whole bunch of books in my life. I’ve written just one. It’s called “It Takes a Family.” I started my speech talking about my wife, and I’ll end it talking about the other gems in my life. Six of my kids are up here, Elizabeth, John, Daniel, Sarah Maria, Peter and Patrick. They have not seen much of their dad over the past several months. Yet they’ve stood by me, every step of the way, encouraged me and loved me, unconditionally.
There’s another little girl who’s not here tonight. She is with a little button (ph). She’s our little angel. That’s Isabella Maria. Isabella Maria, we don’t take her out in crowds. She’s — has a disability. She has a disability that has, according to the records, the statistics, has a 1 percent chance of survival after one year. She is 31 / 2 years old.
So Bella is here with us in spirit and is deeply embedded into my heart. People ask what motivates me. I say the dignity of every human life.
God has given us this great country to allow his people — to allow his people to be free, has given us that dignity because we are a creation of his, and we need to honor that creation. And whether it’s the sanctity of life in the womb or the dignity of every working person in America to fulfill their potential, you will have a friend in Rick Santorum.
We are off to New Hampshire. We are ...
Because the message I shared with you tonight is not an Iowa message or an Iowa and South Carolina message. It is a message that will resonate across this land. It’s a resonate — it will resonate, I know, in New Hampshire, because you think I’ve been in Iowa a lot. I’ve been to New Hampshire 30 times and have been more times and done more events than anybody but Jon Huntsman. And he cheats; he lives there.
We will be in New Hampshire. We’ll leave tomorrow. We’ll spend our time there. And with your help and God’s grace, we’ll have another fun night a week from now.
God bless you.