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Santorum's Speech After the Minnesota Caucus, February 2012

Speaker: Rick Santorum
Published February 7, 2012

Rick Santorum gave this speech on February 7, 2012, following his wins at the Minnesota caucus and Missouri primary. The transcript is provided by the Washington Post.

[Editor's Note: Click here for more CFR 2012 campaign resources, which examine the foreign policy and national security dimensions of the presidential race.]


Wow! Conservatism is alive and well in Missouri and Minnesota.

Thank you all so very, very much. It is great to be here. I just can't thank the people of Missouri; we doubled them up here and in Minnesota.

I want to also thank -- I have to always thank -- first off, let me just thank God for giving us the grace to be able to persevere through the -- through the dog days, and blessing us and blessing our family.

My wife, Karen, here, what a rock. I mean, what a rock through these last few weeks.

We have had -- we have had more drama than any family really needs. And -- and she has just been an amazing rock and a great blessing to me. And I just want to thank you in particular, my sweet, for all you've done. Thank you.

I want to thank my kids, the two who are here, Elizabeth and John, and all the kids listening at home, I'll be home in a couple of days. It's been a while.

And I just -- I just want a particular little note to my Bella, who I know is watching me and looking at her daddy. So I love you, sweetie. Thank you so much for getting healthy.

Your votes today were not just heard loud and wide across the states of Missouri and Minnesota, but they were heard loud and louder all across this country, and particularly in a place that I suspect may be in Massachusetts. They were heard particularly loud tonight.Tonight was not just a victory for us, but tonight was a victory for the voices of our party, conservatives and Tea Party people, who are out there every single day in the vineyards building the conservative movement in this country, building the base of the Republican Party, and building a voice for freedom in this land. Thank you.

There's probably another person who maybe -- maybe is listening to your cheers here tonight, also, and that might be at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. You better start listening to the voice of the people.

But then again, I wouldn't be surprised if he isn't listening. Why would you think he would be listening now? Has he ever listened to the voice of America before?

He's someone who -- well, let's just go look at the record. If you look at when it came to the -- the Wall Street bailouts, did the president of the United States listen to you when it came to bailing out the big banks?

Why? Because he thought he just knew better. He and his friends on Wall Street knew better than what was -- what was good for this country. When it came to the problems that were being confronted on Obamacare, when the health care system in this country, did President Obama, when he was pushing forward his radical health care ideas, listen to the American people?

Why? Because he thinks he knows better how to run your lives and manage your health care.

When it comes to the environment, did the president of the United States listen to the American people, or did he push a radical cap- and-trade agenda that would crush the energy and manufacturing sector of the economy? Did he listen to you? No, because he thinks he knows better.

Ladies and gentlemen, we need a president who listens to the American people. When the majority of Americans oppose these radical ideas and they speak loudly against them, we need a president who listens to them.

Here's the problem. The problem is, in this Republican field, you have been listening. Tonight, the voters of America, the voters here in Missouri, the voters in Minnesota -- and I'm hopeful the voters in Colorado, right?

I hope you have been listening to our message, because if you've -- you listen to our message, and you found out that on those issues -- health care, the environment, cap-and-trade, and on the Wall Street bailouts, Mitt Romney has the same positions as Barack Obama and, in fact, would not be the best person to get up and fight for your voices for freedom in America.

Ladies and gentlemen, I don't stand here to claim to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. I stand here to be the conservative alternative to Barack Obama.

Tonight -- tonight, we had -- tonight, we had an opportunity to see what a campaign looks like when one candidate isn't outspent 5 or 10 to 1 by negative ads impugning their integrity and distorting their record. This is a more accurate representation, frankly, of what the fall race will look like.

Governor Romney's greatest attribute is, well, I've got the most money and the best organization. Well, he's not going to have the most money and the best organization in the fall, is he?

No, we're going to have to have someone who has other attributes to commend himself to the people of America, someone -- someone who can get up and make sharp contrasts with President Obama, someone who can point to the failed record of this administration and say that Barack Obama needs to be replaced in the Oval Office.

People -- people have asked me, you know, what is -- what is the secret? Why are you doing so well? Is it your jobs message? And, yes, we have a great jobs message, talking about everywhere we go and particularly here in the industrial heartland of Missouri, where they still make things here in Missouri, by the way.

It's a message of -- as the Wall Street Journal called our economic plan, supply-side economics for the working man, is resonating in Minnesota and here in Missouri and across this country. And you see that, when you have a Republican out there talking about growth -- talking about growth for everybody, right... ... that Americans respond, because I do care about not 99 percent or 95 percent. I care about the very rich and the very poor. I care about 100 percent of America.

The real message -- the message that we've been taking across this country and here in Missouri is a message of what's at stake in this election. This is the most important election in your lifetime. This is an election -- we've seen it so evident just here in the last week. This is an election fundamentally about the kind of country you're going to hand off to your children and grandchildren, whether they are going to have the level of freedom and opportunity that you have.

And we have a president of the United States, as I mentioned, who's someone who believes he knows better, that we need to accumulate more power in Washington, D.C., for the elite in our country, to be able to govern you because you are incapable of liberty, that you are incapable of freedom. That's what this president believes.

And I -- and Americans understand that there is a great, great deal at stake. If this president is re-elected and if we don't have a nominee that can make this case and not be compromised on the biggest issues of the day, but can make the case to the American public that this is about the founder's freedom, this is about a country that believes in God-given rights, and a Constitution that is limited to protect those rights.

The president does not believe that. The president over the last few years has tried to tell you that he, in fact, the government can give you rights, the government can take care of you and provide for you. They can give you the right to health care, like in Obamacare.

But look what happens when the government gives you rights. When the government gives you rights, unlike when God gives you rights, the government can take them away. When government gives you rights, the government can tell you how to exercise those rights.

And we saw that just in the last week, with a group of people, a small group of people, just Catholics in the United States of America who were told you have a right to health care, but you will have the health care that we tell you, you have to give your people, whether it is against the teachings of your church or not.

I never thought as a first-generation American, whose parents and grandparents loved freedom and came here because they didn't want the government telling them what to believe and how to believe it, that we had a First Amendment that actually stood for freedom of conscience, that we'd have a president of the United States who would roll over that and impose his secular values on the people of this country.

And it's worse than that. When one of the Catholic bishops tried to communicate that through Army chaplains, the Obama administration said, no, you can't do that, no, because your language is seditious, and they made them change the language of a letter from a bishop to his people.

Ladies and gentlemen, freedom is at stake in this election. We need to be the voice for freedom.

And that founding document, the Declaration of Independence, at the end of that document, those founders signed their names. But the last clause of that document said we pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

Ladies and gentlemen, every generation of Americans doesn't create freedom, but they have, in many respects, a harder job. They have to maintain freedom.

Your charge tonight -- your charge tonight here in Missouri -- because we're not done yet with you here in Missouri. You've got a caucus coming up next month -- is to go out and pledge, pledge -- no, not your lives. Maybe your fortune. RickSantorum.com is the website.

But your honor, the honor that you stand on, on the backs and the shoulders of your ancestors. The people here in St. Louis, the people here in Missouri, the people across this country who sacrificed for this country, for the freedoms we have. America's honor, your honor is at stake. Go out and preserve the greatest country in the history of the world.

Thank you all, and God bless.

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