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Prospective presidential candidate visits Lincoln

April 01, 2011
LINCOLN- The first of the probable candidates for the next presidential election made a stop in the North Country Monday night, headlining the Lincoln-Reagan Dinner at the Indian Head Resort. Former Senator Rick Santorum, of Pennsylvania, is expected to make a bid for the Republican candidacy as the race progresses, and was ready to talk the issues.

"We are at a time in America when that basic understanding of what America is is in the balance," said Santorum to a gathering of Grafton County Republicans during his twelfth visit to the state in 12 months. Santorum served for 12 years in the U.S. Senate, being defeated by Democrat Incumbent Bob Casey, Jr. in 2007. Prior to that, he served four years in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is a self-described "social conservative."

Monday, Santorum warned about a "foundational change" happening in Washington. He believes that the power is shifting to from the people to the government, and that is threatening the very thing that makes the country great. Santorum believes that President Barack Obama is moving the country towards a "socialist state," similar to countries in Europe where he says sovereigns were never truly replaced by the rule of the people, but rather the rule of a replacement government. Santorum sees the pinnacle of that "walk towards European socialism, towards rejecting the American dream," as "Obamacare," or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) that reformed the country's health care system last year.

"We need to have a strong, bottom-up system that believes in the strength of the individual," said Santorum, contrasting this idea with the foundation of the health care reform act. Rather than trusting the people to make their own decisions, said Santorum, the current administration believes they know better. Santorum calls for the repeal of PPACA, to be replaced by a system that leaves the decisions in the hands of the customer, or the patient a system he has dubbed "You Care."

Santorum's stance on energy is "produce it all." He is in favor of increasing energy production in all sectors, from coal to wind to gas. An increase in energy production will bring jobs to the United States and ensure security by moving away from a dependency on the unstable Middle East, he said. He wants to remove the barriers in place that prevent oil drilling in many parts of the United States. The United States has the capacity to continue extracting oil for the next 269 years, said Santorum, if regulations preventing much of it were to be removed.

Finally, Santorum reiterated his plea for citizens to stand up to stop the course the country is on.

"You have a great opportunity to strike a blow for freedom," said Santorum, adding that this generation has the chance to be another "Greatest Generation," referring to the generation that grew up during the Great Depression and fought World War II. "I implore you to stand up and join. We have a great opportunity to put the uniform on of the citizen, and do great things for our country."

Santorum said he is the father of seven children, and he has plenty to keep him home and to lead a more peaceful life than running for the presidency, but it is his responsibility to do something.

"It is our watch," said Santorum. "We cannot let this happen."

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