Tags: GOP2016 | rick santorum | 2016 | leading | pundits | say

Rick Santorum 2016: What 5 Leading Pundits Say About GOP Presidential Hopeful

By    |   Monday, 29 Dec 2014 06:45 PM

Rick Santorum has been a player on the national political scene since his re-election loss as a U.S. senator from Pennsylvania in 2006. He has a strong, core following, and his ability to expand that support remains to be seen in a 2016 presidential campaign.

1. Bob Vander Plaats, president and CEO of The Family Leader, a Christian conservative organization, endorsed Santorum in 2012, but said there appears to be a stronger field for the 2016 campaign.

Urgent: Do You Support Rick Santorum for the GOP Nomination? Vote Here Now

“However, I have learned not to underestimate Rick Santorum,” he said. “And history would tell us never to underestimate the guy who finished second the go around before.”

Santorum finished second to Romney in the primaries in 2012, though he dropped further down when more delegates voted for Romney during the GOP convention for a show of unified support. Vander Plaats said the midterm elections signaled a rejection of the left’s failed policies, and that social conservatives need to rally around one candidate early in the 2016 campaign.

2. Santorum’s surprising primary victories in 2012 will be difficult to repeat in 2016, wrote Robert Costa, National Review’s Washington editor. However, advisors from the earlier campaign are staying closely in contact with him as the next presidential campaign gears up.

Santorum hopes to rebuild a Republican party that “has failed to connect with the voters who were the foundation of Ronald Reagan’s coalition,” Costa noted. Although Santorum is portrayed as the champion of the religious right, the candidate is also making “efforts to shift the GOP toward the working class.”

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3. Despite coming in second behind Mitt Romney in the 2012 GOP primaries, Santorum is still perceived as appealing to a specific segment of social conservatives in the party, according to Doug Mataconis of Outside the Beltway.

“In the two years that have passed since the race for the 2012 Republican nomination, there’s really no indication that Santorum’s appeal has evolved beyond this limited segment of the GOP,” Mataconis wrote. Santorum has further competition from possible candidates who also appeal to that same segment, he stated.

4. Santorum favors the conservative approach of advocating school vouchers to encourage school choice, but he has gone a step further in his criticism of public education, noted Russell Berman in The Hill. Santorum’s comments on public schools could place him in another small conservative segment.

Santorum, who with his wife home-schooled his children, has characterized public schools as promoting a “weird socialization” among children in his book, “It Takes a Family,” Berman wrote. Santorum has defended these remarks, but has said changes should involve a transformation that puts more control under the states and localities rather than the federal government.

5. Caroline B. Glick, a writer on cultural and political issues facing Israel and the U.S., has praised Santorum for his courageous stand on supporting Israel’s defense.

For his support and his concern about Iran’s nuclear program, “as well as his support for domestic issues where he has not shied way from taking controversial, inconvenient positions, Santorum’s critics have demonized him,” she wrote.

Vote Now: Which Potential GOP Candidate Would You Support in 2016?

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Rick Santorum has been a player on the national political scene since his re-election loss as a U.S. senator from Pennsylvania in 2006. He has a strong, core following, and his ability to expand that support remains to be seen in a 2016 presidential campaign.
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