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July 27th, 2011
 

Santorum Needs To Seize The Day In Ames

Former United States Senator Rick Santorum began his final campaign push before the critically important Ames Straw Poll in a small Ankeny coffee shop named Café Diem.  The name of the business is a play off the Latin saying, “carpe diem.”  Seizing the day is exactly what Santorum needs to do in the days leading up to Ames if he wants to be a contender for the Republican nomination.

Like a number of other candidates, Santorum is putting everything on the line in Ames.  Over the next three weeks, Santorum will visit over 50 towns while on his  “The Courage to Fight for American Values” tour will his family.  The tour is the most extensive any candidate has embarked on in 2011.  Santorum is banking that the personal connections he is making on the campaign trail will pay big dividends in Ames at the Straw Poll

Santorum is mostly known for his strong stances and leadership on social issues.  During his Ankeny visit, Santorum took issue with a recent comment made by Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Last week in Colorado, Perry said, “Our friends in New York six weeks ago passed a statute that said marriage can be between two people of the same sex. And you know what? That’s New York, and that’s their business, and that’s fine with me.”

Santorum, who also supports states rights, took issue with Perry’s comment, but didn’t mention him by name.  Santorum said, “I am not, as some in this race have said, OK with New York doing what they’re doing. What New York did was wrong. I will oppose it and I will go to New York, if necessary, and help overturn it.”

Candidates like Perry, Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul have basically advocated that states can do what ever they really want to, as long as the proposal in question comes about legislatively and not by judicial mandate.  Santorum disagrees.  In his remarks, he stated that you can’t have one type of marriage recognized in some states but not others.  That’s why he supports a federal amendment.

While Ron Paul believes that states should be able to legalize things like drugs and prostitution as well as gay marriage if they choose, Bachmann and Perry have not been quick to join Paul in his libertarian positions.  One would hope that the candidates would all agree that a state should not be allowed to legalize rape or murder, but that’s the dangerous trap candidates who want to promote a strict adherence to the Tenth Amendment have to worry about.

While Santorum may be best known for his stance on social issues, he’s a full spectrum conservative, and he spent most of his time in Ankeny talking about jobs, the economy, and the fiscal showdown going on in Washington between the U.S. House and President Obama.

When it comes to the debt ceiling, Santorum once again differentiated himself from candidates like Bachmann and Paul.  “I’m not like some candidates who refuse to do anything when it comes to the debt ceiling.”  Santorum said he believes that Speaker Boehner and House Republicans have plenty of leverage and need to get significant spending cuts approved, but he also believes that part of the deal must include a balanced budget amendment.

Santorum also spent ample time talking about jobs and the economy.  Throughout his campaign, Santorum has put a focus on bringing back manufacturing jobs that have been sent overseas in the last 20 years.  To help stimulate the creation of manufacturing jobs he is pushing a zero percent corporate tax rate for manufacturing.

At one point in Santorum’s 45 minute speech, Matthew Jaffe of ABC News held up a Santorum campaign t-shirt and indicated that it was made in the Dominican Republic.  Santorum wasn’t fazed by the “got you” moment.  Instead he said, “It’s tragic that so many products in this country are made outside of this country. And what we have to do is create a different dynamic. I think my policies are very clear that we have to go out and make setting up a business in this country productive.”

Just like in the debates, Santorum performs well on the campaign trail.  However his biggest problem is getting noticed in the crowded field of candidates.  That’s why Ames is so important to the success of his campaign.  While other candidates have gained attention and improved poll numbers following first two national debates, Santorum needs to surprise in Ames in order to jump-start his campaign.

Santorum doesn’t have the large Iowa staff that Tim Pawlenty has or the popularity and star power that Michele Bachmann currently possesses, but he’s going about his campaign in the right way.  He and his entire family drove to Iowa over the weekend in a suburban and U-Haul.  He admitted that he brought his family to live in Iowa for the next three weeks because he didn’t want to be away from them for an extended time.

It is that type of commitment to campaigning in Iowa that has typically paid off for candidates in the past.  By the time of the Straw Poll, Santorum will have been to and held events in most parts of the state.  Other candidates are focusing more on the immediate area around Ames and Des Moines.  Time will tell if the long hours that Santorum has invested will pay off.

Santorum needs his straw poll experience to be like Mike Huckabee’s was four years ago.  Huckabee was able to use his strong finish in Ames to pump life into his campaign.  Santorum’s itinerary shows that he knows what he needs to do in Ames – seize the day.

 

Photo by Dave Davidson Prezography.com

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of TheIowaRepublican.com, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and TheIowaRepublican.com as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, TheIowaRepublcian.com. Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.




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