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Santorum Mocks Paul's "Craziness" in Cedar Rapids

Rick Santorum rallied with supporters at TrueNorth Learning Center in Cedar Rapids.

Up and coming GOP presidential hopeful at rival Ron Paul during a campaign stop in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday night.

Santorum equated Paul’s foreign policy plans to fringe Democrat Dennis Kucinich, called some of the Texas Congressman’s policies “craziness,” and suggested some of the changes Paul proposes to make are dictatorial.

“He is out in the Dennis Kucinich wing of the Democratic party. He may even be left of Dennis Kucinich,” Santorum said of the libertarian Paul. “What people don’t like about Ron Paul is this craziness about cutting military in half, pulling our troops in from all over the world. (As president), he can do that."

“Let’s get serious about what message Iowa is going to send to the country. We want a responsible conservative,” he said. “Where you can be a dictator is the scary stuff he is for.”

Santorum also blasted President Barack Obama as a practitioner of “bureaucratic socialism,” while declining to make the leap to call Obama a socialist.

“Some people have suggested the president is a socialist. ... What he is basically doing is a term I would call bureaucratic socialism. It's still private ownership, but bureaucrats are managing it,” he said.

Santorum appeared at the campaign rally fresh off a recent surge to third place in the polls, although polls are not to be trusted, he said.

The former Pennsylvania senator had a simple message for Iowans during the stop: don’t let national media and polls decide whom to vote for on caucus night, less than a week from now.

Polls are based largely on uninformed responses and the national media follows those polls, he said.

“This is crunch time,” he told a crowd of about 100 at a campaign rally Wednesday evening at TrueNorth Learning Center in Cedar Rapids. “Iowans fight to be first. Don’t defer your judgment to those who aren’t paying nearly the amount of attention to this race as you are. … Don’t defer judgment about what you know and see to polls of people who don’t know nearly as much about this race as you do.

“You decide, lead. That is what you have been charged to do,” he said.

The setting was in a fairly sterile meeting room of the financial company. The crowd listened intently, but quietly and only applauded a handful of times. The event didn’t garner heckling treatment some of his rivals have experienced. 

For months, Santorum couldn't catch a break, but now finds himself gaining momentum at just the right time.

The GOP presidential hopeful visited all 99 Iowa counties before it became a cool thing for candidates to do. He's shaken hands, chatted with farmers in coffee shops and indulged in pies up and down the Iowa landscape.

Santorum has spent 97 days in Iowa this cycle (the most of any candidate) and said has held 357 town hall meetings. He’s put in the time and effort and embraced the grassroots caucus mentality (if for no other reason than it's far more economical campaigning than slick advertising). But, Santorum couldn't crawl out of the basement of GOP candidates and consistently polled in single digits.

“If you don’t have the money you don’t do it,” he said.

Suddenly, the candidate who espouses social conservative values is peaking. He is racking up and his campaign is trying to capitalize, plugging on Twitter to “Help me deliver an #IowaSurprise on Jan 3rd! Support my #IowaSurprise Moneybomb today!”

Jenn Jones, 40, drove down from her home in Anamosa to attend the event. She has been with Santorum since June, and plans to be a precinct captain in Jones County next week. He has captains for nearly 1,000 of the 1,700 precincts in Iowa, she said.

Santorum’s message hasn’t changed, and his base of support has been consistent, too, she said. While much is the same, the recent successes are energizing his supporters.

“His grassroots support has been very consistent all along, but the energy is starting to pick up because we are seeing the hard work paying off,” she said.

Her husband, Freddie Jones, 46, added, “It’s frustrating he didn’t catch on more quickly,” but it will benefit him that “he’s stuck to his principles” now that he’s “starting to catch fire.”

Santorum said he hasn’t bent his message to curry favor, particularly on social issues.

“There are far too many candidates on the Republican side who bob and weave and duck and hid when it comes to these,” Santorum said pointing to a sign for his “Faith, Family and Freedom” tour.

jenny December 29, 2011 at 06:00 AM
Ron Paul 2012!
LaMorte December 29, 2011 at 02:58 PM
Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich are my dream team. I will be writing them in AGAIN this election cycle if necessary. Democrats and Republicans are the same party now-- owned by the same interests. Both of these guys refuse to be bought and the spin you get about them? well the worse it is, the more you can see how the vested interests in the status quo-- the Monsantos of the world, the banksters, KBR and the like-- are threatened by them. OWS movement and early Tea Party sentiment were on to something, but the TP was corrupted by establishment military complex interests, and OWS wasn't quite looking in the right direction, not digging deep enough. It sucks to wake up and realize the system is broken, to realize that the FDA/EPA is run by Monsanto shills, our state department sold to Haliburton/KBR, the education department resides over an increasingly pathetic educational system and the democratic party exploits minorities with care and understanding just to get our money then sells us all down the river once elected. I want a clean environment, safe food, effective living-wage jobs, smart kids, and an honorable international reputation-- this will never happen unless we start electing more Pauls and Kucinichs. This will never happen unless we vote-- period.
LaMorte December 29, 2011 at 02:58 PM
second that
hoboroadie December 30, 2011 at 03:18 PM
Scary Stuff indeed! What kind of Crazed Dictator would dare dismantle our Safety Shield? If we can't bomb them from our Imperial Outposts, why, we'll be fighting them here! Keep the Fear, Brother.
Steve Teters December 30, 2011 at 03:20 PM
It always amazes me that, for the most part, the people most supporting military intervention are the same ones that do so at no risk to themselves. I am a Viet Nam vet, have two Purple Hearts because I didn't duck fast enough, and had way too many friends die in my arms because I couldn't plug all the holes fast enough, (I was a Hospital Corpsman attached to the Marines). I consider myself a conservative constitutionalist, which sounds redundant, but given the massive distortion of the definition of "conservative" these days, a caveat is in order. Ron Paul understands the rule of law that this country was founded on and the physical, mental and moral dilemma that our troops face each day while we try to build this Empire that the present establishment espouses. Until you have pulled the trigger and watched a man die at your hands or watched a friend bleed out in your arms, your opinion about war is absolutely worthless and you should button it up. Enlist and put your money where your mouth is and you can have a voice in just what it means. As a Vet, Mr. Santorum is probably the most frightening candidate I have heard, since he so enamored with the idea of expanding the wars we are in and starting more, at the cost of our troop’s lives. For someone that is Pro Life, he seems way too willing to throw other people’s lives away. I will vote for Ron Paul, period.
CFBusinessOwner December 30, 2011 at 05:51 PM
It's hard to take Santorum seriously because of how much he focuses on issues like gay marriage or abortion. We're in the midst of an economic melt down and all he seems to speak about are these issues.
David Leonard December 31, 2011 at 11:22 PM
Good comments, Steve Teters. Most of the tough talking candidates are chicken hawks who never served in the military--just like Dick Cheney who had "other priorities" and multiple deferments to avoid serving during the Vietnam War but was plenty anxious to send troops to bleed and die in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Betty Liberty January 02, 2012 at 08:13 PM
This is what a Rally looks like: http://a.yfrog.com/img860/3606/419ln.jpg
Laurie RonPaul Shuck January 02, 2012 at 09:44 PM
I registered Republican to vote for Ron Paul! If this is Santorum's "surge", how many people were showing up before?
Alex Hoyle January 03, 2012 at 04:11 AM
Mr. Teters, As a 25 year old veteran of this current Iraq War and a fellow purple heart and bronze star recipient (as an airborne infantryman in the Army) I could not agree with you more. You have completely summarized my feelings on war and specifically on my thoughts of Santorum when I heard him speak in the debates. Its absolutely scary how hawkish most of these candidates are, without any of them having to bear the burden of the wars. (although if you look at Congress' investment portfolios you will see just how much money they have invested in "defense" companies) I do not live in Iowa anymore, but most of my family still does. I can only hope for all of our sake that you and others like you have a voice that will be heard on caucus night. I too will vote for Ron Paul...and only Ron Paul. Period

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