Santorum: America Needs Leadership That Can Inspire

Friday, 15 Mar 2013 07:17 PM

By Cyrus Afzali and Kathleen Walter

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Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said Americans lack the sense of sacrifice they had in decades past that helped make the country what it is today.

Speaking to Newsmax TV at CPAC 2013 on Thursday, Santorum believes the nation’s leaders currently lack the ability to persuade Americans to aim for greatness.

Story continues below video.


“We have material wealth because of technology, yet people feel like they’re suffering now,” Santorum said. “I make the argument that’s because leaders and culture are leading people to think there’s nothing to suffer for and that there’s no great aim. We have to inspire people so they’re willing to make the sacrifices.”

Despite being troubled by the current direction of the country, Santorum does find plenty of reason for optimism.

“As I travel around the country, I get a tremendous amount of encouragement from people who are fearful, but are resolved to make a difference politically,” Santorum said. “The answers aren’t just in politics, but we also need to fight in our schools, in our families and churches.”

However, Santorum is quick to point out that advancing a platform that allows individuals to succeed on their own should not mean abandoning those in need.

“If we just say we need less government and it’s everyone for himself, we won’t win elections,” Santorum said. “We have to do what our founders did, which is not just to take care of ourselves, but take care of our fellow Americans.”

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While Ohio Sen. Rob Portman’s reversal on gay marriage was the subject of much talk among CPAC attendees Thursday, Santorum believes the Republican Party needs to stand firm on its embrace of a traditional marriage.

“I respect Rob Portman and his decision, but the truth is, marriage is a union between a man and woman that’s unique in nature. You can’t consummate any other marriage because nothing else is a construct in nature,” he said. “It’s an important building block of society for people to come together and have children and raise them on the solid platform with a father and mother.”

Speaking about the budget impasse, Santorum believes the best approach for the president would be to stop making a campaign of the issue.

“We won’t have a budget because the president doesn’t feel he has to move the ball to accommodate Republicans to get anything done. He feels he can campaign to the American public against the Congress,” Santorum said. “He feels it’s no problem to not have a budget and that he can spend whatever he wants, which is why he’s not concerned that we don’t have one.”

Santorum also criticized the president’s stance on nuclear readiness, saying that the current conflicts with North Korea and Iran illustrate the need for a strong approach to readiness.

“I find it interesting the president has done everything he can to destroy our missile defense capabilities,” Santorum said. “He has lived in a fantasy world of nuclear disarmament. As Iran and North Korea are threatening us, it’s a fantasy and the reality is now coming home.”

In his CPAC speech Santorum paid tribute to his nephew, Billy, who died Thursday night in Pittsburgh.

“Our family and his girlfriend were in incredible agony as he slowly and peacefully took his last breath,” Santorum said in the emotional speech, Politico reports. “I couldn’t help but have my experience yesterday impact my message to you today.

“Billy was a terrific, vibrant young man who, for the last few months, has been struggling against a horrible painful disease that almost overnight began ravaging his body,” Santorum added.

“There was more going on yesterday than just suffering: our tears were full of hope that all of this suffering was not in vain, that this was not the end.”

Santorum said it’s much too early to start seriously thinking about a potential 2016 presidential run, although he did say he’s heartened by the encouragement he received at CPAC.

“I am certainly open to it. Just as I said four years ago, I’m currently walking, not running, and will do what’s best for my family and my country.”

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