Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Fearing a nation on the brink, North Idaho conservatives rally for Santorum

Posted on Tue, Feb 14, 2012 at 6:01 PM

There are many reasons for former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum to bring his presidential campaign to North Idaho.

The state caucuses on March 6, and Idaho's 32 delegates are more than other early voting states like New Hampshire and Iowa. The state's heavily Republican voters would seem a fertile ground for Santorum's family-values message.

So what brought the people of Coeur d'Alene to the Hagadone Events Center in such quantities that organizers were forced to close the gates and turn cars away?

"I think he's going to ensure best the future for our nation and my children," says Roseann Loftus of Coeur d'Alene, who was already set on voting for Santorum prior to his two-hour speech.

Wearing his characteristic sweater vest, jeans and holding nothing but a small bottle of water, Santorum laid out some of the central tenets of his campaign.

He brought the crowd to its feet by saying that he knew that life began at conception and pledging to stop abortion. He would play off the audience, talking about "rights given by," and then pausing to let audience members answer "God."

Many times, he accused President Barack Obama of thoughtlessly supporting laws that hurt the country, and declared that overturning "Obamacare," the president's hard-fought federal health care overhaul, was "the best possible grounds on which to focus the election."

"If we don't win this election, Obamacare will be implemented," Santorum told the crowd. "And if Obamacare [is] implemented, America as I described will be no more."

Post Falls resident Ray Judge was an undecided voter before the speech, leaning towards former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. When the speech was over, he was a Santorum supporter.

"I think he's more of a solid individual," Judge says of Santorum. "I think he's more conservative than Newt."

Gingrich, though at one time considered a an alternative to front-runner Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, has been dogged lately by questions about marital fidelity and a lack of funds.

Santorum, meanwhile, has seen his poll numbers shoot up recently. Gallup yesterday announced that Santorum was neck-and-neck with Romney, who will be stopping in Boise for a lunchtime fundraiser and factory tour on Friday.

Coeur d'Alene resident Ken Watkins says he was "90 percent" sure he would vote for Santorum. Watkins believed Santorum was reliably conservative and had the moral fiber that Gingrich lacked.

"His work ethic and the way he is, it just shows everyone how to be," Watkins says.

Many in the room glowed for Santorum, and several people during and after the speech asked him to be their valentine. But questions still linger over Santorum's electability.

Late last month, Gallup released a poll showing registered voters preferring Obama over Santorum by 8 percentage points. 

Meanwhile, the Romney campaign has accused Santorum of wantonly funneling money to his state while in office.

Speaking to reporters after the event, Santorum questioned Romney's conservatism.

"Governor Romney's big selling point is 'I have the most money,'" Santorum says. "When the primary's over, will he still be conservative?"

Those in the audience differed as to whether Santorum could beat Obama.

Watkins says he believes the election's outcome would depend on whichever side spent the most money.

Judge thinks Santorum could triumph over Obama, so long as the former senator stuck to the issues. "If we don't win the election, we're done as a country," Judge says.

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , ,

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu
Travel Expert Rick Steves

Travel Expert Rick Steves @ CenterPlace Regional Event Center

Sat., Nov. 22, 2-3:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

Top Topics in Bloglander

News (171)


For Fun! (66)


Culture (53)


Music (44)


Sports (16)


© 2014 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation