Politics
Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) speaks to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, March 15, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) speaks to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, March 15, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst  

Santorum whacks Romney, clubs Rand Paul

Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

Former Sen. Rick Santorum says he would have won the 2012 election by carrying heartland states, and that Sen. Rand Paul’s minimalist foreign policy is dangerous.

Gov. Mitt Romney “would probably do better than me in New Jersey and California and New York,” Santorum told Time magazine.

They’re all immigrant-heavy, union-heavy, Democratic dominated states, where GOP candidates are unlikely to win a majority.

“But I’d do better in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Virginia—in the [swing] states that were going to decide the election,” said Santorum, who is readying a 2016 campaign.

“Look at how we did in Ohio in the primary… I didn’t run a single ad in the Cleveland market, and we still almost beat [Romney] in Ohio,” said Santorum, who also spoke at a March meeting of conservative activists.

His populist message will resonate in 2016, he suggested to Time. “I just look at the overall culture of the country and see a lot of people who are fearful, don’t believe that good times are coming, feel like there are people out there left behind,” he said.

That pitch is more sincerely populist than the likely pitches from other possible candidates, such as as Florida Gov. Jeb Bush or Sen. Rob Portman.

It’s less libertarian than the pitches offered by Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Rand Paul.

Paul’s dovish foreign policy is “a very serious threat to our own security,” Santorum said.

“I see the Rand Paul wing of the Republican Party for what it is: allied with Barack Obama’s foreign policy,” he said.

Obama’s foreign policy is dangerous, he said, because it is passive and invites foreign aggression, such as the Russian seizure of Ukraine’s Crimean region.

“What we’ve seen over time is the President [Barack Obama] serially deferring, backing away from red lines or lines in the sand, saying that the U.S. needs not to be involved in all these things [and] You send a signal,” Santorum said.

“You can deliver a positive message for the country on national security without saying we need to be in a war in every country, which of course we can’t do, and we wouldn’t,” he said.

“But that doesn’t mean we need to disengage. There’s a cost to disengagement,” he said.

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