Santorum: GOP Needs to Lead

Tuesday, 19 Jul 2011 04:38 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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Former Pennsylvania senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum said Monday he opposes Sen. Mitch McConnell’s “last-ditch” proposal to raise the debt ceiling.
“You don’t give someone who is fumbling the ball in leadership to run with it,” Santorum told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren. “The bottom line is the president has abdicated his responsibility in leading this country through this very difficult debt crisis that he has in large part created. And you don't then turn around and hand him the ball to run with, particularly when you are trying to compete with him on message.
“The Republican message has to be clear: The president has not led, and we are prepared to lead,” he said. “Where we are going to lead is cut, cap and balance. And as you know I've said repeatedly the most important of those three things is balance. We can cut temporarily. That’s a good short term fix. Capping is a good idea for the intermediate term. But ultimately what needs to be done if we are going to solve this problem . . . we must balance the budget and through a balanced budget amendment. That's the only way Washington is going to work.”

Santorum said Washington cannot play politics with the deficit issue.

“I think this is too important a debate to play politics with it. This is a debate that we have to be principled on, be very direct with the American public, talk to them about the magnitude of this problem, talk to them about the ugly politics that this president playing,” Santorum said. “Threatening Social Security checks and veterans’ benefits and other things. That is just absolutely absurd.

“The bottom line is that we can solve this problem if we had leadership. Republicans are going to try to provide that leadership with a very clear, direct message,” he said. “And I think everything else is off message and is not helping the situation.”

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