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Santorum Surprises Marion Gallery Owners With Hour-Long Stump Speech

Rick Santorum spoke to a private party of about 70 defense contractor employees, telling of his experience in national security, why the media underestimates him and why these Iowans should caucus for him.

 

Rick Santorum's visit to the Tuesday night was no surprise to the group he addressed, but came as a shock to the owners of the gallery. And then came a surprise for Santorum's campaign: The owners of the gallery blared music to drive a supporter off the stage and end the speeches.

"I was only told at nine this morning that he may be coming," said a co-owner of the gallery, Craig Campbell, adding in his remarks yesterday that he was told the event would be a Christmas party. "No one said he was going to do a 50-minute stump speech."

The Republican presidential nominee actually gave an hour-long campaign speech and question-and-answer session with the National Contract Management Association. Santorum spoke to the group of defense contract employees — mostly from Rockwell Collins — about his national defense experience with the U.S. Senate Arms Service Committee, his extensive campaigning in Iowa and why they should ignore the polls that place him sixth in the race.

After Santorum stepped off the stage and a supporter stepped up summarizing and commenting Santorum's speech, the music volume spiked dramatically. After the volume was turned down, the man made a joke about whether he was required to sing along, but just as he said that the music blared again and he promptly left the stage.

Soon after, Campbell was seen striding across the Gallery where he confronted Santorum.

"You are not my guy," he said to Santorum. "That was completely innapropriate."

Campbell explained that he supports free speech and the informative side of the campaigning process, where voters can learn where candidates stand on issues. But he said he had no intention of hosting an hour long campaign speech by a politician, when he was told he was hosting a christmas party that Santorum might be attending.

Though neither owner of the gallery was made aware of his visit by the organizers before Tuesday, the plan for Santorum to make a full campaign stop had been solidified long before, according to his website

Santorum has been in Iowa more often than any other GOP candidate. Over the course of his Iowa campaign, he has so far made 252 personal stops, sometimes appearing at several cities in the course of a day. The only other candidate that comes close to those numbers is Michele Bachmann, with 129 visits.

This is what University of Iowa Political Science associate professor, Tim Hagle, said in a previous interview could give Santorum an advantage.

Santorum's constant campaigning means he's had more face to face contact with potential caucus goers. The number his supporters may not reflect in the polls, but it might mean a surprising performance as those who he has had personal contact with to may be much more likely to caucus for him than the average polled Iowan.

But speaking to an organization of defense contractors confidently on a subject he has experience in, he seemed to win over members of the NCMA.

Beyond speaking of his time in Iowa, Santorum discussed his foreign policy experience, claiming he was the first to urge sanctions on Iran and preparing for wars like the War on Terror well before September 11.

This impressed the room full of defense contractors, said Mark Mitchell, the vice president and controller of government systems at Rockwell Collins.

"You can tell he has a great deal of knowlege of the national security threats and the need for a strong military to combat them," he said.

He also spoke on his low poll numbers, giving numerous reasons for why they don't matter.

For instance, he claimed the national media have paid presidential candidate Mitt Romney so much attention because they want him to win the nomination.

"The media says: 'Oh Santorum can't win,'" he said. "Hoping that, if they ignore me that people won't pay enough attention and they will select that shiny object called Romney."

Still, even with the rosiest of outcomes for Santorum, Hagle said he'd finish fourth. If he doesn't, Hagle said it could either kill his campaign or put him at a severe disadvantage in the New Hampshire primaries.

Jan T December 14, 2011 at 06:21 PM
It's really kind of sad. Santorum is so desperate for face time that he has to force his way into places where he's not welcome.
Kathleen Ann Casey Graeve December 23, 2011 at 04:56 AM
I support Rick Santorum and feel he's the best candidate for the USA in our election of 2012. I believe he is honest, moral, and upright. I like his faith, family, and freedom platform. Go Rick and let's get out and vote for the best man for president. I pray he will be the Republican nominee and win!!!
Nick George December 27, 2011 at 06:16 PM
"How low can you go?" I think Republican presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, answered that question when he "crashed" a holiday event at Campbell Sreele Gallery in Marion, Iowa recently. To make an appearance and say "Hi!" is one thing, but to take advantage of a "captured" audience at a holiday party and stump for an hour is "upstaging" at its worst! How high can you fly? I think co-owner, Craig Campbell answered that question when he took a stand behind the volume controls of his PA System.

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