Santorum: Obama Contraception Stance 'Tramples' 1st Amendment

Wednesday, 08 Feb 2012 10:03 AM

By Greg McDonald

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Fresh off his stunning caucus and primary victories, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum tore into President Barack Obama Wednesday morning, accusing him of trampling on the First Amendment by insisting that religious employers provide birth control coverage in their healthcare plans, even if it goes against their moral convictions.
 
“The First Amendment is sort of important in this country,” the former Pennsylvania senator said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “And while not everybody necessarily agrees on how you exercise that First Amendment, people do believe you have the right to exercise it. And they don’t believe the government should be . . . forcing you to do things that you find deeply, morally wrong.”
 
“And this president tramples it on a regular basis,” added Santorum, who upset the GOP presidential race again Tuesday night with a three-way sweep of contests in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri.
 
Santorum, considered to be the most conservative GOP candidate in the race on social issues, used his appearance on Morning Joe to push his consistent message that the federal government has gotten too big and too powerful.
 
Pointing to the controversial effort to force religious employers to include contraceptives in healthcare plans, and the California federal court decision striking down the Proposition 8 ban on gay marriages, he described the government as essentially out of control.
 
“These are the kind of outrageous overreaches that when you give government power, they will wield that power over you,” he said. “And that’s why you have to be very, very careful about not just this administration but any kind of administration.”
 
Santorum also lit into former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who up until Tuesday’s primaries had been considered the GOP front-runner and a fairly certain lock to win the Republican nomination.
 
“Mitt Romney is not the best choice to go up against Barack Obama on the central issue of the day, which is government oppressing and taking away our freedoms and our economic freedoms,” Santorum said, expressing a view that resonates with many GOP conservatives.
 
“And as we saw with Obamacare, and religious freedoms, and First Amendment rights, this is a government that has gone out of control and it’s hurting our economy, it’s hurting our families,” he continued. “And we need someone who’s got a strong record to go up against President Obama on the biggest big government issues of the day.”
 
Asked how he intends to create new jobs and educate Americans to fill them by reducing the size of government, Santorum basically described the current public-education system as complete failure.
 
“The more government we put in, the less results we’re getting back,” he said, adding that the nation’s primary and secondary education systems have become part of the tangled federal bureaucracy.
 
“We don’t have public schools, we have government-run schools . . . It’s a failure,” he declared. “We need to get the money and the resources and the power back in the hands of teachers and parents.”
 
Santorum went on to blame many of the problems facing the nation’s children on what he described as “broken families” torn apart by financial stress or parents who aren’t at home nurturing and caring for their kids.
 
“We need the government to be on the side of families instead of trying to pull children out of the home and educate them in some sort of separate setting,” he said.
 
Santorum, who served two terms in the U.S. Senate, said he plans to keep pushing his vision of “conservative governance and getting back to the founding principles of our country.”
 
Asked whether he’s likely to pick up the support of senators he served with because of his primary successes, Santorum said, “I really don’t look for folks who are in Washington, D.C. to affirm our campaign.”
 
But he suggested that his momentum coming off his wins Tuesday night would help pick up more support as he rolls into upcoming primaries, which he said includes the all-important state of Michigan, where Romney grew up.
 
“We think Michigan is a great place for us to plant our flag and talk about jobs, and manufacturing, and giving opportunities for everybody in America to rise,” he said.
 
 

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