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Santorum Thanks PA for ’06 Loss at PLC

Camp Hill — Rick Santorum’s 2006 loss was a necessary “self-correction,” the presidential candidate said Saturday morning. He told a crowd of conservative activists at the Pa. Leadership Conference that his lopsided re-election defeat gave him a better perspective from outside the beltway.

“Candidly, I’ll be honest. It just didn’t quite resonate with me. Because you’re in there sort of doing the sausage making, and it’s like, well, they don’t understand. And in a sense, I didn’t understand.”

Many observers, and Republican insiders, view Santorum’s staggering defeat – he lost to Bob Casey Jr. by a historic 17.4 percent margin – as proof that he could defeat President Barack Obama.

At PLC, Santorum spun it as a positive.

“[The loss] it was in many respects for me, a great gift to get away, to separate out, to get back involved in the private sector and have a little distance from Washington to see what was going on. But I felt that I needed to reassess,” and focus on his family, he said.

His appearance in Pa. comes after several days of mounting pressure for Santorum to prepare an exit plan to leave the race. The Washington Post reported this week that GOP figures are coalescing around Romney, and looking for Santorum to pull back from direct attacks on the front runner.

But Santorum showed no such restraint in his Saturday morning speech. He repeatedly jabbed Romney for his support of a health care mandate in Massachusetts, limits on carbon emissions, and more.

“Oh, he’s not for repealing Obama, he’s not for drilling,” Santorum said. “But he wasn’t. As his top adviser said, you take out the Etch-a-Sketch.”

“Folks, we don’t need someone who writes their public policy in Etch-a-Sketches,” he declared, pulling out his campaign’s new signature prop.

He also turned the Senate loss argument around, noting that in the strong Republican election year of 1994, Romney lost by 17 points in his bid against Sen. Ted Kennedy.

He lost, “because he didn’t run as a conservative. He ran to the audience he thought he had to run in front of to win. Etch-a-Sketch.”

The most recent Quinnipiac poll of the race in Pa. showed Santorum leading Romney in the primary 36 to 22 percent, and statistical tie with Obama (Obama 46, Santorum 45).

And when the primary rolls into Pennsylvania on April 24, Santorum said, his consistency will help.

“As you know in Pennsylvania a lot of folks who voted for me – particularly in the eastern half of the state – didn’t necessarily agree with me. But I heard this many many times as a traveled through the Southeast: ‘I don’t believe in the same things that you believe in. I don’t agree with you on every issue. But I believe that you believe what you believe in, and I trust you.”

He concluded:

“I’m not asking you to help me as a favorite son. I’m asking you to stand up, and do it for your sons and daughters, so they can be free.”

4 Responses

  1. yeah, he went on to earn a load of money peddling influence from his mansion in virginia

  2. FOR ALL YOU REAL POLITICAL JUNKIES
    HOW DID CARL ROMANELLI FACTOR IN PA POLITICS CIRCA 2006 AND SANTORUM 2012?

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