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Santorum's Speech at the Michigan Primary, February 2012

Speaker: Rick Santorum
Published February 28, 2012

Rick Santorum gave this speech on February 28, 2012 after the Michigan primary election.This transcript was 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.]

SANTORUM: Wow, a month ago, they didn't knew who we are, but they do now.

(APPLAUSE)

What a -- what an absolutely great night. I am so thankful, so thankful to so many people here tonight. First and foremost, I just have to say, to the people of Michigan, you know, we came into the backyard of one of my opponents, in a race that everyone said, well, just ignore, you have really no chance here. And the people of Michigan looked into the hearts of the candidates, and all I have to say is: I love you back. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

I also -- thank you -- I also -- as I said, you're getting to know me.

(UNKNOWN): We love you, baby. We love you.

SANTORUM: Well, thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

SANTORUM: Not necessarily exactly through the mediums that I want you to get to know me, but, you know, we have an opportunity tonight to tell you a little bit more about who Rick Santorum is. I want to thank the folks up here on this stage behind me, my wife, Karen, and my family, who's represented here by Elizabeth and John, and at home, the rest of the family, Daniel, and Sarah Maria, and Peter and Patrick, and our little Bella. I want to thank them for standing behind me, not just figuratively, but literally every day of this campaign. So thank them very, very much.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to -- I want to tell you about more specifically about three people, first, someone who's not here that I haven't publicly thanked yet, and I feel like I've been remiss at doing so. And that's someone who I know is watching, too. And that's my 93-year-old mom.

(APPLAUSE)

I'm sure she's feeling very proud. One of her first jobs was in Saginaw, Michigan. And she was very, very excited that I was coming back here to -- to Michigan. But my mom's in a very -- well, unusual person for her time. She's someone who -- who did get a college education in the -- 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.

And later on, they were -- 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.

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

You know, that's probably one of the reasons that I ended up marrying the person I married here, Karen, someone...

(APPLAUSE)

... someone who's as strong as they get, someone who is -- I met when were we -- 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.

(LAUGHTER)

Karen was a professional, worked a nurse for nine years, and then after that, she -- she -- 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, those books about -- really went to the heart of the family and something that she knows a lot about.

She, too, has been that rock that has been beside me and has been a great example of how it's important to balance that work and family and do so committed to making sure that you're the best at both that you can be.

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."

(LAUGHTER)

So we've been -- I've been very, very blessed, very blessed with great role models for me, as someone who goes out and tries to do the job I'm doing right now, to balance the rigors of running a campaign and trying to maintain a good and strong family.

We all have to do that as Americans. We all have that responsibility, to make both work and work as well as we can, and it's getting harder out here in America. It's getting harder for people to make ends meet, because we have a government that is crushing us every single day with more taxes, more regulations, and the idea that they know better than you how to run your life.

That ultimately is about what this race is about. It goes down to the very nature of who we are as Americans. Are we a country that believes in big government? Do we believe in the smart and elite in this country to manage us? Or do you believe in free people and a free economy and building a great America from the bottom up? What do you say?

(APPLAUSE) Well, we've put together a plan, and we announced it here in Michigan, our first 100 days and what we're going to do, our freedom agenda, as to how we're going to get this country turned around. And the first thing we talked about is what's on the minds of a lot of people right now, and that is the rising energy costs in this country.

We can put millions of Americans -- and that's under-scoring -- millions of Americans back to work if we would unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of -- of our energy sector of our economy. We can drive down prices, decrease our dependency on foreign oil. We can do it all, but we have a president who says no. We have a president who, when the opportunity to open up federal lands for mining and oil and gas drilling, says no. We have a president who's -- we have an opportunity to open up offshore, he says no, deepwater, he says no, Alaska, he says no, build a pipeline, he says no.

We need a president who says yes to the American people and energy production.

(APPLAUSE)

It's not...

(UNKNOWN): (OFF-MIKE) November!

SANTORUM: That's right. It's not just the consumer that's affected by it, but it's many communities across this country, rural communities that have been struggling. You look at where the population loss is in this country. You look at where the unemployment rate's its highest. It's in areas where the government has shut down and made it virtually impossible for us to use our natural resources, to be able to get to that oil, to get to that coal, to get to that timber, whatever the case may be.

Bureaucrats in Washington don't care about flyover country and those sparsely populated areas that provide us the resources upon which we live. I was in one of those areas just a couple weeks ago, in the Bakken in northwestern North Dakota, and I went to a little town of Tioga, North Dakota. I'll tell you how small Tioga, North Dakota, is. That's about the fifth time I've mentioned it in a speech, and I've yet to get a shoutout from Tioga, North Dakota.

It's a small town. It's a small town, and it could be a boomtown. But they're nervous, because the president and EPA is hovering. Yes, they developing oil on private lands, this oil, yeah, this is oil. Oil. Out of rock, shale. It leaches oil. In fact, the highest-quality oil in the world, light sweet crude. It can produce thousands and thousands of jobs up in northwest North Dakota, but they have trouble. They have trouble getting investors to come here.

Why? Because they believe -- they believe the government is going to shut them down or potentially pull the plug on them. They have a pipeline that they'd love to be able to build to get that oil to market, instead of running truck after truck after truck through the roads of North Dakota and then on the rail. This crude that comes out of this rock is a premium product, but not in North Dakota. They have to pay -- they get a $32 discount when they sell their oil. Why? Because we have a president who won't let them get their oil to market.

(BOOING)

Folks, we need a president who's on the side of rural America, who's on the side of small-town America, and opens up those energy resources for America.

(APPLAUSE)

And it's not just the energy industry that small-town and rural America thrive on. Of course, as you know here in Michigan, it's manufacturing. One of the things I think that I felt very good about in the -- as well as we did here tonight is the message of creating jobs, manufacturing jobs for small-town America resonated here with the people of Michigan. They saw a vision for how their lives could be better. They saw a vision how their ladder to success now could be built down to people with limited skills, but the desire to work hard and be able to upgrade their skills as they work in a manufacturing facility.

We've lost -- from 21 percent of the economy to 9 percent -- not of the economy, but of workers in manufacturers down to 9 percent. That's -- that's just inexcusable, all of it because government regulation and government taxation.

We put forward a plan the Wall Street Journal calls supply-side economics for the working man, the working men and women of this country, to be able to get those jobs in manufacturing, to be able to get those skills, provide for their family. The average manufacturing job in America pays $20,000 more a year than the average job in America.

We can get those jobs back. We need to slash the corporate rate for taxes to zero. We need to let the regulatory environment, which Barack Obama is destroying and crushing manufacturing. We will repeal every single one of Barack Obama's big government regulations on day one.

(APPLAUSE)

And, of course, part of those regulations -- the one of the things we're going to repeal right out is Obamacare.

(APPLAUSE)

That is the biggest issue in this race. It's an issue about fundamental freedom. It's an issue about whether you want the government to take your money, in exchange, give you a right. Give you a right. They're going to give you the right to health care; that's what President Obama promised. But, of course, when the government gives you a right, they can take that right away. And when the government gives that you right, they can tell you how to exercise that right. And they do, not just what doctors you can see and what insurance policies or how much you're going to get fined if you don't do what the government tells you to do, but even go so far as to tell you how to exercise your faith as part of your health care bill. If the government can go that far with Obamacare, just think what's next.

Ladies and gentlemen, we need a candidate who can go out and take on Barack Obama, who was -- who was an author from 20 years ago, the author of free-market health care economics, health savings accounts, has been a fighter for replacing all of these programs across this country at the federal level (inaudible) government-run health care, with not Romneycare or Obamacare, but a program that's based upon you called YouCare (ph), because that's what we believe in, in America.

(APPLAUSE)

We've got a -- a great conservative track record on not just health care, but on taking on the big problems that confront this country, the deficit, huge, expanding, exploding debt in this country. Someone has been an advocate ever since I was in politics for a balanced budget amendment, fought tooth and nail to get it passed, came within one vote, but have never given up trying to fight.

We will work to pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, but in the meantime, we will do something that no one else has ever successfully done -- but I did -- and that is we will go out and we will end entitlement programs on the federal level, give them back to the states, and cut them dramatically to save money.

(APPLAUSE)

People said we couldn't do it. We did it. I was the author of welfare reform, welfare reform, which ended a federal entitlement, cut the program, capped it, gave it back to the states, like we need to do with Medicaid and food stamps and a whole host of other programs that are already run by the state and have no business according to -- remember that document, what's it called, oh, yeah, it's the U.S. Constitution. That's it, right?

(APPLAUSE)

We need to get those programs back to the states. We need to save the federal government money. And, more importantly, welfare didn't just save money, didn't just cut the rolls, but it saved lives. It put people back to work. It brought people out of poverty. It gave them something that dependency doesn't give: hope. And that's what America is all about, giving opportunity and hope.

(APPLAUSE)

All of our economic plan is based on a very simple concept, based on what's worked for America from its very founding. I wave this Constitution at every speech, and I talk about it being the operator's manual of America. It's how America works. It's the "how" of America. But there's another document equally important, which is the "why" of America, and that's the Declaration of Independence. And in that declaration is these words, "We hold these truths to be self- evident that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights."

That -- that phrase was the most transformation phrase ever written in a government document. That phrase said that we are going to be a country with limited government and believing in free people to be able to form families, and communities, and churches, and educational institutions, and hospitals, and be able to build a great and just society, a free society from the bottom up.

That's how America works best, from the bottom up. And that's the solutions that we're going to propose for America, the bottom up.

(APPLAUSE)

The men and women who signed that Declaration of Independence wrote this final phrase: We pledge to each other -- we pledge to each other our lives, our fortune, and our sacred honor.

When they signed that document, they had very little hope, real hope, of actually succeeding in a revolution against the British. The British were the most powerful army in the world and the navy in the world. They were ruled by highly educated, noble people. The uniforms were crisp and stiff. They looked good.

(LAUGHTER)

(UNKNOWN): Like Obama!

SANTORUM: But their rulers ruled them from on high, didn't listen to them as they fought the Revolutionary War. Our leaders were different. George Washington, the signature leader of America, was different. He understood that the greatness of this new country was to have leaders who understood that, in spite of their breeding and education, they didn't have all the answers, that they could trust the people, that ragtag group of people who stepped forward to volunteer to create freedom in this land.

And they believed General Washington believed in them. In fact, some of his boldest moves came not from him or his generals, but from the ranks. That's how America's freedom was won, leaders believing in the people that they led against those who just thought all the answers resided in those in charge.

Ladies and gentlemen, that is what made America free, and that is what will make America free in the future. Thank you, and God bless.

(APPLAUSE)

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