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Can Rick Santorum Appeal to Independents?

His speech on the night of the Iowa caucuses suggests he can.

9:30 AM, Jan 7, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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“And so when Republican purists say to me, well, why are you treating manufacturing different than retail? I say, because Wal-Mart’s not moving to China and taking their jobs with them.

“So we eliminate the corporate tax on manufacturing so we can compete. We take the regulations, every regulation that’s over $100 million, and we repeal all those regulations, repeal them all, and there’s a lot of them. Under the Bush and Clinton administrations, they averaged 60 regulations over $100 million a year. This administration hit 150 last year....[W]ant to know what’s crushing business? This administration is crushing business.”

Lastly, Santorum turned to civic virtue (from 12:15 to 14:00), connecting it both to freedom and to the economy:

“If we [Republicans] have someone who can go out to western Pennsylvania and Ohio and Michigan and Indiana and Wisconsin and Iowa and Missouri and appeal to the voters that have been left behind by a Democratic Party that wants to make them dependent instead of valuing their work, we will win this election. 

“Those are the same people that President Obama talked about who cling to their guns and their Bibles.  Thank God they do.  They share our values about faith and family. They understand that when the family breaks down, the economy struggles.  They understand when families aren’t there to instill values into their children, and into their neighbors, as Little League coaches, as good neighbors of fathers and mothers being part of a community, that the neighborhood is not safe and they are not free.

“These are the basic values that Americans stand for. And those are the values that we need if we’re going to go up against Barack Obama and win this election and restore the founding principles of our country....”

Maybe there’s a reason why Santorum has a 67 percent winning percentage in statewide elections in Pennsylvania — a must-win state for Obama. 

As Santorum put it, “[W]hat wins in America are bold ideas, sharp contrasts, and a plan that includes everyone…a plan that says we will work together to get America to work.” Meanwhile, Obama’s plan to win reelection is to offer up a steady stream of class-warfare rhetoric and hope that everyone forgets about Obamacare. Is it really so clear that Romney is the opponent best suited to defeat that strategy?

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