The Blog

Santorum Rises in Saint Anselm Debate

12:52 AM, Jan 8, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Manchester, N.H.
Coming off his strong near victory in Iowa last week, Rick Santorum shared the center stage with Mitt Romney at Saturday night’s debate at St. Anselm College just outside of Manchester. With a solid performance, Santorum showed he deserved his new position and that he might remain Romney’s toughest primary challenger.

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum

A glimpse of how Santorum might go after Romney arose early in the debate, when the former Pennsylvania senator was asked about his comment from earlier in the day that the United States government doesn’t “need a manager” and about whether he was referring to Romney. 

“Of course I was talking about Governor Romney,” Santorum said. “[Romney says] ‘I’ve got business experience.’ Well, business experience doesn’t necessarily match up with being the commander in chief of this country.”

Santorum continued: “We need a leader, not a CEO . . . What we need is someone who can paint a positive vision for this country.”

Perhaps Santorum’s strongest debate moment came when he chastised Romney for using the term “middle class.”

“There are no classes in America,” Santorum said. “We don’t put people in classes. They may be middle income. But the idea somehow that we’re buying into the class warfare arguments of Barack Obama should not be a part of the Republican lexicon. That’s their job: divide, separate, put one group against other. That’s not the language that I will use as president. I’ll use the language of bringing people together.”

Additionally, Santorum engaged often with Ron Paul, who has been running ads calling the former Pennsylvania senator a lobbyist as well as “one of the most corrupt members in Congress.” Santorum responded to Paul by noting that the study of corruption in Congress was carried out by Citizens for Responsbility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a left-wing activist group that primarily targets Republicans for taking money (legally) from political action committees.

“If you haven’t been sued by CREW, you’re not a conservative,” Santorum quipped. “It’s a ridiculous charge, and you should know better to cite a George Soros-like group.” 

Santorum also reminded Paul, as he has been doing with voters in New Hampshire this week, that he helped author the landmark welfare reform legislation of 1995, adding that it has been the only major bill to repeal parts of a major federal entitlement program.

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 18 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers