Pro-Life Rick Santorum to Announce GOP 2012 Bid in Two Weeks

Politics   Steven Ertelt   May 24, 2011   |   10:56AM    Washington, DC

Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator who is considering a run for the White House in 2012, is expected to announce in two weeks that he will officially seek the Republican nomination.

Santorum appeals to pro-life and Catholic voters with his conservative stances on political issues and strong opposition to abortion. He was the leader of the effort in the Senate to ban partial-birth abortions during his time there, before losing his Senate seat in the 2006 elections. Santorum served as a member of the U.S. House before that.

CNN indicates today that Santorum will make the presidential announcement the week of June 5 and says he will participate in the first Republican debate scheduled for the state of New Hampshire, which CNN, WMUR-TV and the New Hampshire Union Leader are co-hosting at Saint Anselm College on June 13.

Santorum has made dozens of trips to the leading primary states — including the Granite State, Iowa, and South Carolina. Despite his frequent travels to meet with Republicans, the pro-life former lawmakers has struggled to get past 1-2 percent in most surveys of Republican voters. While they like his pro-life and conservative views, Republicans are skeptical of his ability to defeat pro-abortion President Barack Obama because he was unable to hold on to his Senate seat in Pennsylvania. And some GOP voters still have not forgiven Santorum for endorsing pro-abortion Sen. Arlen Specter, despite his saying he made a mistake and wishing he could undo the support.

Earlier this month, Santorum created an exploratory committee to gauge an official campaign for the GOP nomination. That allowed him to participate in the South Carolina debate held weeks ago, where he said he had no apologizes for his pro-life stance and rejected a call for a truce on social issues first advocated by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels.

“I think he is as far off base,” Santorum said of Daniels. “I don’t think he understands what conservatism is all about.”

“I don’t think he understands that Reagan’s three-legged stool is not just that we have three legs of the stool, the social conservative, the fiscal conservative and national security conservatives, but that the material made of all three parts of the stool is the same,” Santorum added. “And it’s a moral and cultural heritage of this country, is what that stool, the material itself that the stool is made of.”

Santorum continued: “And if we deny that, if we don’t understand that those issues are intertwined, and that without a strong and good and moral culture, we can’t have limited government, you can’t have lower taxes, you can’t, you don’t have the freedoms that we enjoy unless we have a moral code by which can all agree to live by. And for him to say that those issues need to be put in the background, I just, I’m stunned by it.”

Santorum told conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewit he condemned the elite Republicans who don’t care about social issues but drive a lot of the money in the GOP presidential races.

“When you go to the big cities, where the big money is, the Republican donors say shut up about those issues, or we’re not going to help you. And I don’t know if you saw George Will’s piece today, but it’s pretty clear I’m not shutting up about those issues. I think they’re important issues. Obviously, the economic issues are front and center. But you have to talk about the economic issues even in the cultural and moral context,” the former Pennsylvania senator said. “There’s an element of the party, and unfortunately, I keep coming back, it comes back to where most of the money is in the Republican Party, are folks who live in the big cities, and are more socially liberal. And they just don’t want, they don’t want the campaign to be about something that they don’t want to be able to talk to their friends at the club about.”

Yesterday, Tim Pawlenty, the former Republican governor of Minnesota and a pro-life advocate, made his presidential campaign official and he joined Newt Gingrich, Rep. Ron Paul, Herman Cain and Gary Johnson in officially announcing his candidacy for president. Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are expected to join them soon. Other potential candidates include Rep. Michelle Bachmann and possibly former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.