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Posted at 03:48 PM ET, 02/29/2012

Santorum remembers the ladies in Michigan speech


Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. senator Rick Santorum is accompanied by his wife Karen and their daughter Elizabeth as he addresses supporters at his Michigan primary night rally in Grand Rapids. (John Gress - Reuters)
Rick Santorum has been called a caveman so many times he seemed to be responding to the charge in his speech Tuesday night , with a straight-up pitch to 21st-century women.

Point #1: My own mom, who is 93, worked for a living, and though no snob, did go to college.

“My mom’s. . .someone who did get a college education in the 1930s, and was a nurse, and got a graduate’s degree, even, as a nurse, and worked full-time. And when she married my dad, they worked together at the Veterans Administration. That’s where they met, right after the war.”

#2) Though I might talk like Ward Cleaver, I do know better:

“And later on, they had me and the rest of the family, my brother and sister, and my mom continued to work. She worked all of my childhood years. She balanced time, as my dad did, working different schedules, and she was a very unusual person at that time. She was a professional who actually made more money than her husband.”

#3) In sum, my mum is not dumb:

“I grew up with a very strong mom, someone who was a professional person who taught me a lot of things about. . .balancing work and family, and doing it well, and doing it with a big heart and commitment.”

#4) You must meet my wife:

“You know, that’s probably one of the reasons that I ended up marrying the person I married here, Karen, someone who’s as strong as they get, someone I met when she was just about to start the practice of law, and I was doing the same. I recruited her, in more ways than one, to my law firm.’’

#5) Karen Santorum is a force in her own right:

“Karen was a professional, worked as a nurse for nine years, and then after that, we got married and she walked away. And she decided to stay home and raise her children, but she didn’t quit working, obviously. Raising seven children is a lot of work, but she found time also to be an author of two books.”

#6) Another smart, strong, woman in my life is our daughter Elizabeth:

“And now I’m proud that I have a daughter here in Elizabeth who is a great part of our campaign. She goes out on her own and campaigns, and the feedback I get is, “You stay home; just send Elizabeth out. You’ll do just fine.”

From there, the GOP hopeful returned to more usual fare, obliquely comparing Obama to George III and himself to, well, George Washington.

Yet throwback though he may be, Santorum, on this occasion, did not fail to remember the ladies.

Melinda Henneberger is a Post political reporter and anchors ‘She the People.’ Follow her on Twitter at @MelindaDC.

By  |  03:48 PM ET, 02/29/2012

Tags:  Rick Santorum, Karen Santorum, Elizabeth Santorum, women voters, GOP primary

 
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