Santorum on Specter, Obama & 2012

He could run.  Former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Rick Santorum did not say today that he would, or even that he could, but he would not rule out running for President in 2012.  In advance of upcoming speeches in Iowa, Arizona, California and North Carolina, Rick Santorum spoke with me and other reporters on a conference call this morning.

He clearly gave Democrat Joe Sestak some lines to repeat.  Rick Santorum, speaking about Sen. Arlen Specter, said, “”Arlen Specter voted with us more often than he voted against us.”  And, “I do not believe Justice Alito would be on the Supreme Court today, if it wasn’t for Arlen Specter.”

I asked the conservative Santorum about talk show host Rush Limbaugh’s remark that President Obama “has surrendered” America.  Santorum says he would not use the term surrendered, but “I think the President has tried to back America out of its preeminent role in world affairs.”  Santorum went on to criticize the President for apologizing about America’s mistakes and said, “America leading the world is not something that he (Obama) has any intention” of doing, which Santorum says is a remarkable transition.

The former U.S. Senator says he told people Barack Obama would be the most liberal President the nation has ever elected, but “he surprised me in the boldness of his attempts to…jerk this country.”

Santorum says at times some Obama opponents, including talk radio, “have been pretty shrill,” but that talk radio hosts are not policy makers.  He says, now it’s time for Republican leaders to stand up and be more pointed as to criticism and antidotes.  Santorum says that Republicans by and large have not been particularly effective in articulating a health care system that entrusts health care decisions to individuals.

On Sarah Palin, “I think the media enjoys covering her.  She’s colorful…When you make good copy, you get a lot of ink.”

As for the Republican Party in Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum says, “The two best things the Republican Party has going for it are Ed Rendell and Barack Obama.”

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