|Santorum in 2013.|
|United States Senator
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2007
|Preceded by||Harris Wofford|
|Succeeded by||Bob Casey, Jr.|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 18th district
January 3, 1991 – January 3, 1995
|Preceded by||Doug Walgren|
|Succeeded by||Mike Doyle|
|Born||Richard John Santorum
May 10, 1958
Winchester, Virginia, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Karen Garver Santorum (m. 1990)|
|Children||8 (1 deceased)|
|Residence||Great Falls, Virginia, U.S.12|
|Alma mater||Pennsylvania State University (BA)
University of Pittsburgh (MBA)
Dickinson School of Law (now part of Penn State) (JD)3
Richard John "Rick" Santorum (born May 10, 1958) is an American attorney and Republican Party politician. He served as a United States Senator representing Pennsylvania from 1995 to 2007, and was the Senate's third-ranking Republican from 2001 until 2007.5 He ran as a candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination,6 finishing second to the eventual Republican nominee Mitt Romney.i
Born in Virginia, Santorum was raised primarily in Butler, Pennsylvania. He obtained an undergraduate degree from Pennsylvania State University, an M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh, and a J.D. from the Dickinson School of Law (now part of Penn State). Santorum worked as an attorney at Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, where he met Karen Garver. They married in 1990, and have seven living children (one child died shortly after birth). Santorum was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives to represent Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district in 1990 and later became a member of a group dubbed the "Gang of Seven".
Santorum was elected as a United States Senator for Pennsylvania in 1994. He served two terms until losing his re-election bid in 2006. A devout, practicing Catholic, Santorum is a social conservative who opposes same-sex marriage and artificial birth control. While serving as a senator, Santorum was the author of what came to be known as the Santorum Amendment, which promoted the teaching of intelligent design. In 2005, Santorum introduced the Workplace Religious Freedom Act along with Senator John Kerry.
In the years following his departure from the Senate, Santorum worked as a consultant, private-practice lawyer, and news contributor. On June 6, 2011 Santorum announced his run for the Republican nomination in the 2012 U.S. presidential election. Upon announcing his campaign suspension on April 10, 2012, he had won 11 primaries and caucuses and received nearly 4 million votes. Santorum officially endorsed Mitt Romney on May 7, 2012.7
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Early career
- 3 U.S. House of Representatives (1991–1995)
- 4 U.S. Senate (1995–2007)
- 5 Post-Senate career
- 6 Patriot Voices
- 7 Religious faith
- 8 Political positions
- 9 Personal life
- 10 Business ventures
- 11 Writings
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Rick Santorum is the middle of the three children of Aldo Santorum (1923–2011), a clinical psychologist who immigrated to the United States at age seven from Riva del Garda, Italy,8 and Catherine (Dughi) Santorum (b. 1918), an administrative nurse8910 who is of Italian and Irish descent.11
Santorum was born in Winchester, Virginia,12 and grew up in Berkeley County, West Virginia, and Butler County, Pennsylvania. In West Virginia, his family lived in an apartment provided by the Veterans Administration.13 As a Butler Area public schools student, he was nicknamed "Rooster", supposedly for both a cowlick strand of hair and an assertive nature, particularly on important political issues.14151617 After his parents transferred to the Naval Station Great Lakes in northern Illinois, Santorum attended the Roman Catholic Carmel High School in Mundelein, Illinois, for one year, graduating in 1976.18
Santorum attended Pennsylvania State University for his undergraduate studies, serving as chairman of the university's College Republicans chapter and graduating with honors in 1980 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science.19 While at Penn State, Santorum joined the Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity.20 He then completed a one-year Master of Business Administration program at the University of Pittsburgh's Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, graduating in 1981.21
Santorum first became actively involved in politics in the 1970s through volunteering for Senator John Heinz, a Republican from Pennsylvania.23 Additionally, while working on his law degree, Santorum was an administrative assistant to Republican state senator Doyle Corman, serving as director of the Pennsylvania Senate's local government committee from 1981 to 1984, then director of its transportation committee.22
After graduating, Santorum was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar and practiced law for four years at the Pittsburgh law firm Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, a firm known for raising political candidates and lobbyists (later named K&L Gates). As an associate, he successfully lobbied on behalf of the World Wrestling Federation to deregulate professional wrestling, arguing that it should be exempt from federal anabolic steroid regulations because it was entertainment, not a sport.242526 Santorum left his private law practice in 1990 after his election to the House of Representatives.
Having been groomed by Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, Santorum decided Democratic congressman Doug Walgren was vulnerable, and took up residence in Walgren's district. Needing money and political support, he courted GOP activist and major donor Elsie Hillman,27 the chair of the state Republican Party.27 In 1990, at age 32, Santorum was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives to represent Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district, located in the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. He scored a significant upset in the heavily Democratic district, defeating seven-term Democratic incumbent Doug Walgren by a 51%–49% margin.28 During his campaign Santorum repeatedly criticized Walgren for living outside the district for most of the year.29 Although the 18th District was redrawn for the 1992 elections, and the new district had a 3:1 ratio of registered Democrats to Republicans, Santorum still won re-election with 61% of the vote.30
In 1993, Santorum was one of 17 House Republicans who sided with most Democrats to support legislation that prohibited employers from permanently replacing striking employees.31 He also joined a minority of Republicans to vote against the North American Free Trade Agreement that year.32 As a member of the Gang of Seven, Santorum was involved in exposing of members of Congress involved in the House banking scandal.citation needed
Santorum served in the United States Senate representing Pennsylvania from 1995 to 2007. From 2001 until 2007, he was the Senate's third-ranking Republican.5 He was first elected to the Senate during the 1994 Republican takeover, narrowly defeating incumbent Democrat Harris Wofford 49% to 47%. The theme of Santorum's 1994 campaign signs was "Join the Fight!" During the race, he was considered an underdog, as his opponent was 32 years his senior.33 He was re-elected in 2000, defeating U.S. Congressman Ron Klink by a 52–46% margin. In his re-election bid of 2006, he lost to Democrat Bob Casey Jr.34 by a 59–41% margin.
In 1996, Santorum served as Chairman of the Republican Party Task Force on Welfare Reform, and contributed to legislation that became the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act. Santorum was an author and the floor manager of the bill.35 In 1996, Santorum endorsed moderate Republican Arlen Specter in his short-lived campaign for president. Reporters have observed that though Santorum and Specter differed on social policy, Specter provided him with key political staff for his successful run in 1994.36
The National Taxpayers Union, a fiscal conservative organization, gave Santorum an "A-" score for his votes on fiscal issues, meaning that he was one of "the strongest supporters of responsible tax and spending policies" during his tenure, and ranked fifth in the group's rankings out of 50 senators who served at the same time.37
In 2002, Santorum was an cosponsor of that year's attempt to pass the Workplace Religious Freedom Act (WRFA).39 The bill had first been introduced in the Senate by Senator John Kerry (D-MA) in 1996, having been introduced in the House by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) in 1994. Although Santorum was in the Senate at the time, he was not a sponsor of the bill when it was introduced in 1996, or when it was reintroduced in 1997 and 1999.404142 Once signed on as a cosponsor, Santorum remained so throughout his tenure in the Senate. However, the bill did not pass while Santorum was in the Senate (and has not passed as of 2013, despite further reintroductions of the bill).
Santorum also founded the Congressional Working Group on Religious Freedom in 2003.4344 The working group included members of both the Senate and the House of Representatives, and met monthly to address issues such as the Workplace Religious Freedom Act, tax-exempt status for churches, the CARE act, international religious freedom, and anti-semitism.45
Santorum added to the 2001 No Child Left Behind bill a provision that would have provided more freedom to schools in teaching about the origins of life, including the teaching of intelligent design along with evolution.4647 The bill, with the Santorum Amendment included, passed the Senate 91–84648 and was hailed as a victory by intelligent design promoters.49505152 However, before the bill became law, scientific and educational groups successfully urged its conference committee to strike the Santorum Amendment from the final version. Intelligent design supporters in Congress then preserved the language of the Santorum Amendment in the conference committee report of the legislative history of the bill.4950515253 The Discovery Institute and other intelligent design proponents point to this report as "a clear endorsement by Congress of the importance of teaching a variety of scientific views about the theory of evolution."5455
In 2002, Santorum called intelligent design "a legitimate scientific theory that should be taught in science classes",56 but by 2005 he had adopted the Teach the Controversy approach.5758 He told National Public Radio, "I'm not comfortable with intelligent design being taught in the science classroom. What we should be teaching are the problems and holes ... in the theory of evolution."59 Later that year, Santorum resigned from the advisory board of the Christian-rights Thomas More Law Center after the Center's lawyers lost a case representing a school board that had required the teaching of intelligent design.60 Santorum, who had previously supported the school board's policy, indicated he had not realized that certain members of the board had been motivated by religious beliefs.60 Santorum critics claimed he was backtracking from his earlier position because he was facing a tough reelection fight for 2006.60 When asked in November 2011 about his views on evolution, Santorum stated that he believes that evolution occurred on a tiny, micro level.61
Santorum introduced the National Weather Service Duties Act of 20056263 which aimed to prohibit the National Weather Service from releasing weather data to the public without charge where private-sector entities perform the same function commercially.64 The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association was organizing a lobbying effort in opposition to the legislation,65 but it never passed committee.65 The motivations surrounding the bill were controversial, as employees of AccuWeather, a commercial weather company based in Pennsylvania, donated $10,500 to Santorum and his PAC.66 The liberal advocacy group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington cited the bill as one of several reasons for listing Santorum as one of its "most corrupt politicians".67 In support of the bill, Santorum criticized the National Weather Service in September 2005, saying its evacuation warnings for Hurricane Katrina were "insufficient".646869
In February 2006 Time magazine described a synthetic-fuel tax-credit amendment that Santorum added to a larger bill as "a multibillion-dollar scam" that benefited "a small group of the politically well connected".70 A Santorum aide said a reason the senator pushed the amendment was to "provide parity for the non-conventional fuel tax credit with other energy tax credits and to provide certainty for taxpayers". He added that it would also "allow coke plants" to take advantage of tax incentives, claiming "this is important to the steel industry, which employs thousands of Pennsylvanians – making it more competitive in the global market."70
Santorum is a supporter of the War on Terror and shares the views of neoconservatives and the Bush Doctrine in regard to foreign policy. Santorum felt that the War in Iraq was justified, and in 2006 declared that weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) had been found in Iraq. Santorum made the declaration regarding WMDs71 based, in part on declassified portions of the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command.72 The report stated that coalition forces had recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions that contain degraded or vacant mustard or sarin nerve agent casings. The specific weapons he referred to were chemical munitions dating back to the Iran–Iraq War that were buried in the early 1990s. The report stated that while agents had degraded to an unknown degree, they remained dangerous and possibly lethal.71 However, officials of the Department of Defense, CIA intelligence analysts, and the White House have all explicitly stated that these expired casings were not part of the WMDs threat that the Iraq War was launched to contain.73
He says the war on terror can be won and is optimistic about U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan in the long term. Santorum has defended the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, specifically defended waterboarding and stated that John McCain, who opposes the practice, "doesn't understand how enhanced interrogation works."74757677 Santorum called the War in Afghanistan "a very winnable operation" in 2012, dismissing efforts for withdrawal by 2014. He similarly criticized President Obama's foreign policy, saying he was "not focused on trying to win the war" in Afghanistan,78 and said he was against any withdrawal in Iraq in 2012, saying, "We want victory."79
He supports U.S. political intervention80 and economic sanctions against state sponsors of terrorism.81 Santorum views "Islamic-fascism" in Iran as the center of the "world's conflict", and his geo-political strategy for peace involves the United States promoting "a strong Lebanon, a strong Israel, and a strong Iraq."80 He sponsored the Syria Accountability Act of 2003 to require Syria cease all activity with Lebanon and end all support for terrorism.81 In 2005, Santorum sponsored the Iran Freedom and Support Act, which appropriated $10 million aimed at regime change in Iran. The Act passed with overwhelming support. However, Santorum nevertheless voted against the Lautenberg amendment, which would have closed the loophole that allows companies like Halliburton to do business with Iran through their foreign affiliates.82 Santorum reflected on his last year in the Senate as one spent talking a lot about Iran, and was characterized by The Atlantic Wire as an "extreme hawk" in his approach with Iran.8384 Santorum stated that Iran was the creator of Hezbollah and the driving force of Hamas. He said Iran was at the center of "much of the world's conflict" but he was opposed to direct military action against the country in 2006.80 Santorum was one of only two senators who voted against confirming the nomination of Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense. Santorum stated that his objection was to Gates's support for talking with Iran and Syria, because it would be an error to talk with radical Islamists.85
Santorum became chairman of the Senate Republican Conference in 2000, the party's third-ranking leadership position in the Senate.4 In that role, Santorum directed the communications operations of Senate Republicans and was a frequent party spokesperson. He was the youngest member of the Senate leadership and the first Pennsylvanian to hold such a prominent position since Senator Hugh Scott was Republican leader in the 1970s.8687 In addition, Santorum served on the Senate Agriculture Committee; the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; the Senate Special Committee on Aging; and the Senate Finance Committee, of which he was the chairman of the Subcommittee on Social Security and Family Policy. He also sat at the candy desk for ten years.8687
In January 2005, Santorum announced his intention to run for Senate Republican Whip, the second-highest post in the Republican caucus after the 2006 election, saying he expected the incumbent whip, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, to run for Senate Republican leader to succeed Bill Frist of Tennessee, who was planning to retire.88 As a result of Santorum's loss in the 2006 election, this plan was never realized.
Beginning in 1995, Republicans leaders such as Tom Delay and Grover Norquist initiated in order to place Republicans in lobbying firm jobs, and exclude Democrats. In addition, the initiative pressured lobbying firms to contribute to Republican campaigns, by withholding access to lawmakers from firms that did not comply.89 The initiative became politically toxic for Republicans when the Jack Abramoff scandal broke in late 2004. Although some sources indicate that Santorum played a key role9091 in the K Street Project, Santorum has denied any involvement.9293 In November 2005, several months after the indictments of Abramoff and Delay, Santorum told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "The K Street project is purely to make sure we have qualified applicants for positions that are in town. From my perspective, it's a good government thing."94 A few months later, however, Santorum emphatically denied any connection with either the K Street Project or Norquist, saying: "I had absolutely nothing to do -- never met, never talked, never coordinated, never did anything -- with Grover Norquist and the quote K Street Project."95 In January 2012 The Washington Post's "Fact Checker" concluded that "we can't prove definitively whether or not Santorum collaborated on the K Street Project", saying that it "depend[ed] on how you define the initiative".96 However, Fact Checker concluded that Santorum had not been truthful about his relationship with Norquist.
In 2006, Santorum sought re-election to a third Senate term.97 He ran unopposed in the Republican Party. His seat was considered among the most vulnerable for Republicans and was a prime target of the Democratic Party in the 2006 elections. George W. Bush had a 38% approval rating in Pennsylvania in 2006.98 Mary Isenhour, a Democratic strategist, reflected on Santorum's campaign and his connection to the unpopular president, "In 2006, we were doubly blessed -- we could run against George W. Bush and Rick Santorum"99 Santorum chose to campaign alongside George W. Bush, and called him a "terrific president", hurting his popularity. Also problematic was Santorum's 2004 endorsement of his Republican Senate colleague Arlen Specter over conservative Congressman Pat Toomey in the primary for Pennsylvania's other senate seat. Many socially and fiscally conservative Republicans considered the Specter endorsement to be a betrayal of their cause.100101
Santorum's opponent was Democratic State Treasurer Bob Casey, Jr., the son of popular former governor Robert Casey, Sr. Casey was well known for his opposition to abortion, negating one of Santorum's key issues.102 For most of the campaign, Santorum trailed Casey by 15 points or more in polls.103 Green Party candidate Carl Romanelli failed to gain ballot access in the race, further hurting Santorum's chances. Reportedly, several of Santorum's supporters had funded and petitioned for Romanelli to siphon away Democrats from Casey.104
Santorum was mired in controversy and spent much of his time on the campaign in defense against his own past statements and positions. He faced criticism from his rival Casey and others for several statements in his book, It Takes a Family, including his denunciation of 1960s "radical feminism", which he claimed had made it "socially affirming to work outside the home" at the expense of child care.105 In the book, Santorum also compared pro-choice Americans to "German Nazis." John Brabender, an adviser to Santorum's Senate and Presidential races, reflected back on the book's controversies and said Santorum was warned that sections could bring political damage, and Santorum was not willing to change much of it simply to gain moderate supporters.106 In addition, a past article Santorum wrote to The Catholic Online resurfaced in 2005, in which he linked liberalism and moral relativism in American society, particularly within seminaries, to the Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. He wrote, "...it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm."107108 His remarks were heavily criticized, especially in Massachusetts, and he was asked for an explanation. Santorum did not retract his statement and defended his premise that it was "no surprise that the center of the Catholic Church abuse took place in very liberal, or perhaps the nation's most liberal area, Boston."109 In addition, the question of Santorum's association with the K Street Project was an issue that his opponent made use of during the campaign.9495110111
Santorum stated that he spent "maybe a month a year" at his Pennsylvania home,112 raising allegations of hypocrisy as he had denounced his former opponent Doug Walgren for living away from his House district.113 Critics also complained that Pennsylvania taxpayers were paying 80% of the tuition for five of Santorum's children to attend an online "cyber school"—a benefit available only to Pennsylvania residents—when all his children lived in Virginia.114 The Penn Hills School District, which covered the tuition costs for the cyber school through local taxes, unsuccessfully filed a complaint against Santorum for reimbursement in 2005,115 but won reimbursement from the state in September 2006 in the amount of $55,000.116117 In response, Santorum asked county officials to remove the homestead tax exemption from his Penn Hills property, saying he was entitled to it, but chose not to take it because of the political dispute.118 Since 2006, Santorum has been home-schooling his seven children.119120 Santorum responded to the dispute saying that his children should not be implicated in the "politics of personal destruction".121 One of his children appeared in a 2006 re-election campaign ad saying, "My dad's opponents have criticized him for moving us to Washington so we could be with him more."122
Santorum ran a television ad suggesting that Casey's supporters had been under investigation for various crimes. The negative ad backfired, as the The Scranton Times-Tribune found that all but a few of Casey's contributors donated when he was running for other offices, and none were investigated for anything.123 In fact, two of the persons cited in Santorum's campaign ad actually gave contributions to Santorum in 2006, and one died in 2004.124 Santorum's campaign countered that those donations were not kept, and had been donated to educational institutions.125
Toward the end of his campaign, Santorum shifted his theme to the threat of radical Islam.75126 In October 2006 he gave a "Gathering Storm" speech, invoking British Prime Minister Winston Churchill's description of Europe prior to World War II.75126 As evidence that Islamists were waging a more than 300-year-old crusade against the Western world, Santorum pointed to September 11, 1683, the date of the Battle of Vienna.127 Casey responded, "No one believes terrorists are going to be more likely to attack us, because I defeat Rick Santorum."128 Noting that he had been "even more hawkish" during this time period than President Bush, Santorum later said, "Maybe that wasn’t the smartest political strategy, spending the last few months running purely on national security".126
In January 2007 Santorum joined the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a D.C.-based conservative think tank as director of its America's Enemies Program focusing on foreign threats to the United States, including Islamic fascism, Venezuela, North Korea and Russia.126 In February 2007 he signed a deal to become a contributor on the Fox News Channel, offering commentary on politics and public policy.132 In March 2007 he joined Eckert Seamans,133 where he primarily practiced law in the firm's Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., offices, providing business and strategic counseling services to the firm's clients. In 2007, he joined the Board of Directors of Universal Health Services, a hospital management company based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.134 He also began writing an Op/Ed column, "The Elephant in the Room", for The Philadelphia Inquirer.135
Santorum earned $1.3 million in 2010 and the first half of 2011. The largest portion of his employment earnings – $332,000 – came from his work as a consultant for industry interest groups, including Consol Energy and American Continental Group. Santorum also earned $395,414 in corporate director's fees and stock options from Universal Health Services, and $217,385 in income from the Ethics and Public Policy Center think tank.90136137 In 2010 he was paid $23,000 by The Philadelphia Inquirer for his work as a freelance columnist.90
Before the 2006 election, Santorum was frequently mentioned as a possible 2008 presidential candidate. Such speculation faded when, during the course of the 2006 campaign and in light of unimpressive poll numbers in his Senate race, he declared that, if re-elected, he would serve a full term. After he lost, Santorum once again ruled out a presidential run.138
On February 1, 2008, Santorum said he would vote for Mitt Romney in the 2008 Republican presidential primary race.139 Santorum criticized John McCain, questioning his pro-life voting record and conservative values. Santorum later said he endorsed Romney because he saw him as the "best chance to stop John McCain", whom he considered too moderate.140 In September 2008, Santorum expressed support for McCain as the nominee, citing McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate as a step in the right direction.141
Santorum was mentioned as a candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania in 2010.142 At one point, he was said to have "quietly but efficiently put his fingerprints on a wide-array of conservative causes in the state."143 However, Santorum declined to seek the gubernatorial nomination and instead endorsed eventual winner Tom Corbett.144
In the fall of 2009, Santorum gave a speech at the University of Dubuque on the economy, fueling speculation that he would run for president in 2012. Santorum later recalled, "It got a lot of buzz on the Internet, so I thought, 'Wow, maybe there's some interest'". He decided to campaign after multiple conversations with his wife, who was not enthusiastic at first.145
On September 11, 2009, Santorum spoke to Catholic leaders in Orlando, Florida, saying that the 2012 presidential elections were going to be "a real opportunity for success." He then scheduled various appearances in Iowa with political non-profit organizations.146147
On January 15, 2010, Santorum sent an email and letter to supporters of his political action committee, saying, "I'm convinced that conservatives need a candidate who will not only stand up for our views, but who can articulate a conservative vision for our country's future". He continued, "And right now, I just don't see anyone stepping up to the plate. I have no great burning desire to be president, but I have a burning desire to have a different president of the United States".148 He formed a presidential exploratory committee on April 13, 2011. Santorum has also referred to his grandfather's historical encounter with Italian fascism as an inspiration for his 2012 presidential campaign.149
He formally announced his run for the Republican presidential nomination on ABC's Good Morning America on June 6, 2011, saying he's "in it to win." He initially lagged behind in the polls, but gained as other conservative candidates slumped. By the weekend before the Iowa caucuses, polls showed him in the top three, along with Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.150151 The Des Moines Register also noted that the momentum was with Santorum. In the closest finish in the history of the Iowa caucuses, the count on the night put Romney as winner by a margin of eight votes, but the final result announced two weeks later showed that Santorum had won by 34 votes.152 Santorum later focused on the states holding votes on February 7, a strategy that paid off as the former Pennsylvania Senator won all three.153154 Santorum then surged in polls taken shortly after, taking first place in some and a close second in others.155 In the March 13 primaries, Santorum narrowly won in both Mississippi and Alabama156 and followed up with a victory in Louisiana on March 24.157
Following the hospitalization of his daughter Bella and losses in Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia, Santorum announced the suspension of his campaign on April 10, 2012, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.158159 Santorum had won 11 state primaries and nearly 4 million votes, more than any other candidate except Mitt Romney.160 Santorum topped Romney in polls for a brief period. Upon the conclusion of Santorum's run, Romney acknowledged his former rival, saying that Rick Santorum is "an important voice" in the GOP.161
Santorum received a primetime speaking slot at the 2012 Republican National Convention. He was originally slated to speak early in the evening, but convention organizers moved him to 9 pm with the other highly anticipated speakers of the evening, Ann Romney and convention keynote Chris Christie.162 Santorum spoke of the American dream his immigrant grandfather worked to give his family, and said Obama was turning the dream into a nightmare.163 He talked about his experiences on the presidential campaign trail, speaking with emotion about his daughter Bella and meeting disabled people and their families.164 He emphasized the importance of strengthening marriage and the family.165 He also condemned Barack Obama's actions on the welfare reform law,166 of which he was one of the chief proponents in Congress, and his actions on education, including school choice and student loans.167 Santorum concluded his speech to a standing ovation, saying,
I thank God that America still has one party that reaches out their hands in love to lift up all of God's children – born and unborn – and says that each of us has dignity and all of us have the right to live the American Dream. And without you, America is not keeping faith with that dream. We are stewards of a great inheritance. In November we have a chance to vote for life and liberty, not dependency. A vote for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will put our country back in the hands of leaders who understand what America can and, for the sake of our children, must be to keep the dream alive.165168
On December 2, 2012, Santorum joined WorldNetDaily, a conservative news site, as a commentator, to publish an exclusive column on the site every Monday.170 His column was discontinued on June 23, 2013.171
In June 2012, Santorum launched Patriot Voices, a 501(c)(4) non-profit with a mission to "mobilize conservatives around this country who are committed to promoting faith, family, freedom and opportunity" in support of causes and candidates across the country.173 Santorum supported U.S. Senate candidates Ted Cruz in Texas and Richard Mourdock in Indiana in their respective Republican primaries; both won their hotly contested primaries.174 In the general elections, Patriot Voices endorsed eight U.S. Senate candidates and four House candidates.175 Santorum also lent support to the "NO Wiggins" effort in Iowa to oust Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins in the 2012 retention elections, who they say carries a political and personal agenda in the court.176 They have also been vocal in opposition to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which they say threatens parental rights and U.S. sovereignty.177
Although he was raised in a nominally Catholic household, Santorum's faith began to deepen when he met his future wife, Karen. Santorum said that he was a "nominal Catholic" when he met his wife, Karen. By his account, conversations with her father, Dr. Kenneth Garver, a staunch Catholic and pro-life advocate, solidified his understanding and opposition to abortion. He and his wife have since become increasingly religious.178 Santorum now considers himself a devout Catholic and acknowledges his Catholic faith as the source of his politics and worldview.179 He attends Mass almost daily and organized a Catholic study group for lawmakers while in Congress.180
Santorum proudly calls himself a "culture warrior" and "true Christian conservative." In so positioning himself, he has garnered popularity among evangelicals, but his support among Catholics is not as robust.181182 Santorum's emphasis on his "Christian roots" to voters was especially favored by evangelicals in the Midwest and Southern states during the 2012 primaries, although he lost the Republican Catholic vote in most states to Mitt Romney.183 Exit polls found only 42% of those Catholics and less than a third of Protestant evangelicals knew Santorum was a Catholic.184 After Santorum won Protestant-majority states Alabama and Mississippi, but lost in heavily-Catholic Puerto Rico, the Huffington Post said he "seemed exasperated by the trend"185 and said his base support came from "people who take their faith seriously", not necessarily fellow Catholics.185
Santorum has written for Catholic publications and frequently comments on political issues from a religious standpoint. He has said, "I don't believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute. The First Amendment means the free exercise of religion and that means bringing people and their faith into the public square."186187 In an interview with the National Catholic Reporter, Santorum said that the distinction between private religious conviction and public responsibility, espoused by President John F. Kennedy, had caused "great harm in America". He said: "All of us have heard people say, 'I privately am against abortion, homosexual marriage, stem cell research, cloning. But who am I to decide that it's not right for somebody else?' It sounds good, but it is the corruption of freedom of conscience."188 Santorum has been criticized for not separating his politics from his personal faith, and has been accused of advancing a "Christian theocracy" through his work.189 He told a group of college students in 2008 that the United States had been founded on "Judeo-Christian" ethics, and now "it is a shambles, it is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it."190
Santorum states that he values faith over politics and considers the theological views of a politicians' faith as significant. He questions whether President Obama truly has a religion, alleging that he may have chosen Christianity as a politically expedient platform for power.191 Santorum stated, "if the President says he's a Christian, he's a Christian" but has stated that Obama's agenda is based on a "phony theology", not the Bible.192 In an interview with Glenn Beck, Santorum said Obama's desire for greater higher education rates nationwide was a veiled attempt at "indoctrination", claiming that "62 percent of kids who go into college with a faith commitment leave without it." Santorum declined to provide a source for that figure.193194 He believes colleges reinforce secular relativism and antagonize religiosity, particularly of Christianity, and lists young people's support for abortion, gay marriage, and pornography as "symptoms" of indoctrination.195
Santorum has consistently held socially conservative views and has advocated "compassionate conservatism".196 He has a more mixed record on fiscal issues.197 As a member of Congress, he voted for the Bush tax cuts, favored a balanced budget amendment and sought to curb entitlements, playing a key role in enacting welfare reform.197 However, he has been criticized for supporting costly federal programs in education and transportation and for using earmarks to fund Pennsylvania projects.197 He says he regrets many of his votes for such programs, and opposes earmarks.197 He has also specifically disavowed his 2003 support for the unfunded Medicare prescription drug benefit and his vote for the No Child Left Behind Act.197198
He has been described as having a "confrontational, partisan, ‘in your face’ style of politics and government.”199 “I just don’t take the pledge. I take the bullets,” Santorum said. “I stand out in front and I lead to make sure the voices of those who do not have a voice are out in front and being included in the national debate.”200
In his 2005 book, It Takes a Family, Santorum advocated for a society oriented toward "family values" and centered on monogamous, heterosexual relationships, marriage, and child-raising. While prior to his running for congress Santorum considered himself pro-choice on abortion,201202203 he has since changed his position to pro-life. He opposes same-sex marriage, saying the American public and their elected officials should decide on these "incredibly important moral issues", rather than the Supreme Court, which consists of "nine unelected, unaccountable judges."204
Santorum has stated that he does not believe a "right to privacy" is part of the Constitution. He has been critical of the Supreme Court decision in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), which held that the Constitution guaranteed that right and overturned a law prohibiting the sale of contraceptives to married couples.205 He has described contraception as "a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be,"206 and said in 2003 that he favors having laws against polygamy, adultery, sodomy, and other actions "antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family".207
In 2003, during an interview, Santorum expressed opposition to same-sex marriage, and compared homosexuality to bestiality.208 The remarks drew a retaliatory response from sex advice columnist and gay rights activist Dan Savage, who launched a contest to coin a "santorum" neologism among his blog's readers.209210 Since 2004, the website Savage set up for the campaign has regularly been among the top search results for Santorum's surname, leading to what commentators have dubbed "Santorum's Google problem".210211 Santorum has characterized the campaign as a "type of vulgarity" that was spread on the Internet.211 In September 2011, Santorum unsuccessfully requested that Google remove the content from its search engine index.212
In March 2005, Santorum expressed misgivings about the death penalty in light of wrongly convicted individuals who were sentenced to death. He went on to say, "I agree with the Pope that in the civilized world ... the application of the death penalty should be limited. I would definitely agree with that. I would certainly suggest there probably should be some further limits on what we use it for."213 On January 23, 2012, Santorum revised his position, saying "when there is certainty, that's the case that capital punishment can be used," but "if there is not certainty, under the law, it shouldn't be used."214
In June 2011, Santorum said he would continue to "fight very strongly against libertarian influence within the Republican Party and the conservative movement."215 In an interview with NPR in the summer of 2005, Santorum discussed what he called the "libertarianish right," saying "they have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do. Government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulation low and that we shouldn't get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn't get involved in cultural issues, you know, people should do whatever they want. Well, that is not how traditional conservatives view the world, and I think most conservatives understand that individuals can't go it alone...."216
In his official website, Santorum said that the "Obama Administration has turned a blind eye" to pornography, but promised that that "will change under a Santorum Administration."217 But according to USA Today, some conservatives believe that Santorum's focus on porn may "hurt the party politically."217 Nonetheless, on March 23, 2012, Santorum posted on his campaign website that there is "a wealth of research" demonstrating that pornography causes "profound brain changes" and widespread negative effects on children and adults, including "violence to women."218 Researchers say that there is no such evidence of brain changes, although pornography's harmfulness "is still in dispute."218 James Poulos, a writer from Forbes, wrote on March 19, 2012 that Santorum's attack on pornography is an "ability to transform relatively irrelevant issues into politically relevant controversies."219
Santorum defended his assertions by claiming that "the Obama Department of Justice seems to favor pornographers over children and families," and that department's insufficiency to prosecute the porn industry "proves his point."220 He then mentioned that Obama has not put a priority on tackling the porn industry, therefore "putting children at risk as a result of that."220 In a position paper circulated in March 2012, Santorum said he would order his attorney general to "vigorously enforce" existing laws that "prohibit distribution of hardcore (obscene) pornography on the Internet, on cable/satellite TV, on hotel/motel TV, in retail shops and through the mail or by common carrier."221
While in Congress, Santorum supported efforts to fight global HIV/AIDS, provide assistance to orphans and vulnerable children in developing countries, combat genocide in Sudan, and offer third world debt reliefcitation needed. In 2006, rock musician and humanitarian Bono said of Santorum, "he has been a defender of the most vulnerable."222223 On the domestic front, Santorum supported home ownership tax credits, savings accounts for children, rewarding savings by low-income families, funding autism research, fighting tuberculosis, and providing housing for people with HIV/AIDS. He supported increased funding for Social Services Block Grants and organizations like Healthy Start and the Children's Aid Society, and financing community health centers.222
In 2006, Santorum opposed the Senate's immigration reform proposal.224 Instead, Santorum stated that the U.S. should act to enforce currently existing laws. He has openly stated his opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants. He supports the construction of a barrier along the U.S.–Mexican border, an increase in the number of border patrol agents on the border, and the stationing of National Guard troops along the border. He also believes that illegal immigrants should be deported immediately when they commit crimes, and that undocumented immigrants should not receive benefits from the government. He believes English should be established as the national language in the United States.225 Santorum cites his own family's history (his father immigrated to the U.S. from Italy) as proof of how to immigrate "the right way".226
Santorum rejects the scientific opinion on climate change that stresses human causation for global warming, referring to it as "junk science". He has stated that global warming is a "beautifully concocted scheme" by the political left and "an excuse for more government control of your life."228
He has stated a policy of "drill everywhere" for oil and that there is "enough oil, coal and natural gas to last for centuries".229
Santorum has often supported gun rights.230 Santorum is a firm advocate of a citizen’s right to bear arms. He is also a staunch defender of gun manufacturers, and voted in favor of the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (Bill S 397), which among others, prevents civil suits from being brought against gun manufacturers for criminal acts perpetrated using their weapons.231
Santorum met his future wife, Karen Garver (born 1960), while she was a neo-natal nurse studying law at the University of Pittsburgh and he was recruiting summer interns for Kirkpatrick & Lockhart. They married in 199017 and have seven living children.
In 1996, the Santorums' son Gabriel was born prematurely after 20 weeks of pregnancy and died in the hospital two hours later. Karen wrote that she and Rick slept with the dead infant between them in the hospital that night, then brought him home the following day and introduced him to their other children as "your brother Gabriel".4232233 Fifteen years later, their handling of their infant son's death attracted scrutiny in January 2012 following Santorum's success in the Iowa caucuses. One psychologist interviewed by ABC News said what the Santorums did was encouraged at the time, although no longer recommended; another told the media outlet: "It's not far out of the norm at all ... There is nothing pathological about it or particularly alarming."234 Writers who had experienced a stillbirth defended the Santorums' actions, with columnist Charles Lane writing that he personally regretted not showing the body of his stillborn baby to his then-six-year old son,235 and Jessica Heslam, writing that holding her own stillborn baby brought her "much peace".236 The four eldest children appeared with their parents on Piers Morgan Tonight in January 2012. Elizabeth, who was five at the time of Gabriel's death, said she was glad to have seen him, and that he holds a place in her heart.237
In 2008 Karen Garver Santorum gave birth to their eighth child, Isabella, who was diagnosed with Edwards syndrome (Trisomy 18), a serious genetic disorder, with only a 10% chance of survival past one year old.238239240 Following her second hospitalization in a few months, Santorum officially suspended his campaign for the United States presidential election, 2012.citation needed
Rick Santorum traveled in 2002 to Rome to speak at a centenary celebration of the birth of Saint Josemaría Escrivá, founder of Opus Dei.188241 He and his wife were invested as Knight and Dame of Magistral Grace of the Knights of Malta in a ceremony at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York on November 12, 2004.242
Santorum's net worth has been estimated between $880,000 and $3 million,243 which mainly comes from five rental properties around Penn State University,244 two personal homes in Great Falls and Penn Hills,245 and some IRA accounts.246 In 1997, Santorum purchased a three-bedroom house in the Pittsburgh suburb of Penn Hills. In 2001, he bought a $640,000 house in Leesburg, Virginia,136 sold it in 2007 for $850,000,247 and purchased a $2 million home in Great Falls, Virginia.248
In June 2013, Santorum announced his new venture as CEO of EchoLight Studios, a production company that makes "family values"-oriented films.249 He produced the Christmas-themed movie The Christmas Candle.250
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- 2012 Republican Candidates
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rick Santorum.|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Rick Santorum|
- Rick Santorum official campaign site
- Column archives at Townhall.com
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Project Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Works by Rick Santorum on Open Library at the Internet Archive
- Works by or about Karen Garver Santorum in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Rick Santorum at the Open Directory Project
- Excerpt from Santorum interview USA Today, April 23, 2003
- Lawsuit Abuse Critic Explains Suit ABC Primetime, November 10, 2005
- Editorial: Charities on the Hill Washington Post, March 7, 2006
- Santorum Against the World, Michael Dougherty, The American Conservative, July 30, 2007
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district
|United States Senate|
|U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Pennsylvania
Served alongside: Arlen Specter
Bob Casey, Jr.
|Party political offices|
Connie Mack III
|Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference
|Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania
1994, 2000, 2006
|Youngest member of the United States Senate