A fun family picnic took a serious tone when GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum concluded his speech with a warning about the International Atomic Energy Agency’s report on Iran’s nuclear progress.
Santorum made an appearance at the annual Palm Beach County GOP picnic in Lake Worth to speak to the crowd about his “Reagan model” economic plan, ideas for tax reform, war on regulations and his faith and family motto that’s become the cornerstone of his campaign.
Sharing a sobering picture of a nuclear Iran, the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania suggested that next week, when the IAEA report is scheduled for release, “may be the most important week from an international perspective that we’ve had since 9/11.”
“They could start an arms race. A nuclear Iran guarantees a nuclear Turkey, a nuclear Saudi Arabia and who knows who else. What a neighborhood Israel will be living in then,” Santorum said. “We need a president who understands that threat, who has the courage to stand up and articulate to the American public what that threat is. And for two presidents, unfortunately, we have not had one who has been honest with the American public about who the enemy is and why we have to stop that enemy in their tracks.”
Santorum said that he has had a “laser-beam focus “ on the dangers of Iran, even as others were only focused on Iraq a decade ago. In 2004, he proposed a bill called the Iran Freedom Support Act to squelch the Iranians’ attempt to dominate the Middle East. The bill called for sanctions and a regime change, but could not garner a single co-sponsor. Further impeding Santorum’s efforts, President Bush told him that he would not sign the bill at the time.
In September 2006, with Iran showing a willingness to support terror efforts, the bill was finally enacted. Part of the evidence that validated the legislation included the “end times” philosophy that Iran has publically and passionately pontificated. The scenario described by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for the total destruction of Israel and the United States.
Santorum stressed the importance of stopping Iran immediately, and told reporters that he would support a pre-emptive strike by Israel.
His efforts to prevent a nuclear Middle East were not Santorum’s only pitch for why he should be the Republican nominee for the country’s highest office. He said there was “only one real, comprehensive conservative” in the race, pointing out that Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry all supported the Wall Street bailout.
“How can you say that you’re a guy for limited government if you supported the biggest intrusion of government in the marketplace?” Santorum said. “It actually does pay off to have some experience in government and know that that wasn’t a good idea to have government play that role.”
Ending on a high note, Santorum pointed out, “There’s no bigger state in elections than Florida.”
He promised the crowd that he would surprise a lot of people in Iowa, and when he had themomentum, he would need the Republicans in Florida to quickly rally to help him win.
After his speech, a few of the attendees rushed over to tell Santorum that he had won their support. One Republican, tea party activist Anita Carbone, can understand why.
“He was so at ease and comfortable with himself, yet dynamic and not arrogant,” Carbone said. “He feels strongly about his powerful beliefs, and you can tell he is sincere.”
Carbone, who has met all of the Republican presidential candidates, called Santorum’s a unique combination of qualities.
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