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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Who is Richard John Santorum?

Who is Richard John  Santorum? The political world knows him as Rick Santorum, he is an American author, attorney, and Republican Party politician. He served as a United States Senator representing Pennsylvania from 1995 to 2007, and was a candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination.[4]
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. Santorum worked as an attorney at K&L Gates where he met Karen Garver. They married in 1990, and have seven children; an eighth child died shortly after birth. Santorum was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on behalf of Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district in 1990, becoming 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. Santorum holds socially conservative positions, and is particularly known for his opposition to same-sex marriage and birth control. While serving as a senator, Santorum was the author of the National Weather Service Duties Act of 2005 and the Santorum Amendment. 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 over 3 million votes. Santorum officially endorsed Mitt Romney on May 7, 2012.[5]

Early life and education

Rick Santorum was born May 10, 1958 and  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,[6] and Catherine (Dughi) Santorum (b. 1918), an administrative nurse[6][7][8] of Italian American and Irish American descent.[9]
Santorum was born in Winchester, Virginia,[10] 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.[11] 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.[12][13][14][15] 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.[16]
Santorum attended Pennsylvania State University for his undergraduate studies, serving as chairman of the university's College Republicans chapter and graduating in 1980 with a Bachelor of Arts with honors in political science.[17] 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.[citation needed]
In 1986, Santorum received a Juris Doctor with honors from the Dickinson School of Law.[18]

Early career

Senator John Heinz
Santorum first became actively involved in politics in the 1970s through volunteering for Senator John Heinz, a Republican from Pennsylvania.[19] 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.[18]
After graduating, Santorum was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar and practiced law for four years at the Pittsburgh law firm Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, now known as 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.[20][21][22] Santorum left private law practice after being elected to the House of Representatives in 1990.[citation needed]

U.S. House of Representatives (1991–1995)

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.[23] During his campaign Santorum repeatedly criticized Walgren for living outside the district for most of the year.[24] 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.[25]
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.[26] He also joined a minority of Republicans to vote against the North American Free Trade Agreement that year.[27] 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]

U.S. Senate (1995–2007)

Tenure

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.[28] 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.[29] 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.[30] by a 41%-59% 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.[31] 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.[32]
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.[33]

Legislative proposals

Religious freedom and ideological diversity

Santorum sponsored the Workplace Religious Freedom Act (WRFA) with U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA).[citation needed]
In 2003, Santorum and fellow Republicans heard from Hillel, the Anti-Defamation League, and the Zionist Organization of America about combating anti-Semitism in American colleges.[34] Santorum drafted language on "ideological diversity," which Race & Class magazine suggested was tantamount to "policing thought".[35] Inside Higher Ed suggested that he was pandering to David Horowitz and had no deep-seated position on the legislation.[36]

Teaching of evolution and intelligent design

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.[37][38] The bill, with the Santorum Amendment included, passed the Senate 91-8[37][39] and was hailed as a victory by intelligent design theory promoters.[40][41][42][43] 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.[40][41][42][43][44] 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."[45][46]
In 2002, Santorum called intelligent design "a legitimate scientific theory that should be taught in science classes."[47] By 2005, though, he had adopted the Teach the Controversy approach.[48][49] 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."[50] 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.[51] 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.[51] Santorum critics claimed he was backtracking from his earlier position because he was facing a tough reelection fight for 2006.[51] When asked in November 2011 about his views on evolution, Santorum stated that he believes that evolution occurred on a tiny, micro level.[52]

National Weather Service Duties Act

Santorum introduced the National Weather Service Duties Act of 2005[53][54] 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.[55] The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association was organizing a lobbying effort in opposition to the legislation,[56] but it never passed committee.[56] 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.[57] 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".[58] In support of the bill, Santorum criticized the National Weather Service in September 2005, saying its evacuation warnings for Hurricane Katrina were "insufficient".[55][59][60]

Fuel tax credit

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".[61] 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."[61]

Foreign policy


Santorum is a supporter of the War on Terror and shares the views of neoconservatives and the Bush Doctrine in regard to foreign policy. He says the war on terror can be won and is optimistic about the U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan for the long-term.[citation needed]
He sponsored the Syria Accountability Act of 2003, which required Syria to end all engagement in Lebanon and cease all support for terrorism. He originally wanted to go further with the bill, asking for the United States to create economic sanctions on Syria if it did not do so.[62] In June 2006, Santorum declared that weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) had been found in Iraq.[63] Santorum's declaration was based, in part, on declassified portions of the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command.[64] 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.[63] 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.[65]
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.[66] 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.[citation needed]
Santorum said in July 2006 that "Islamic fascism rooted in Iran is behind much of the world's conflict, but he is opposed to military action against the country", in a speech where he "also defended the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay."[67] Santorum indicated that "effective action against Iran" would require America's fighting "for a strong Lebanon, a strong Israel, and a strong Iraq."[67]
On September 7, 2006, Santorum outlined his views on foreign policy in an op-ed piece for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and discussed Islamic fascism, closing with a rallying cry:
[...] the fight against Islamic fascism is the great test of our generation. Leaders are obliged to articulate this threat and to propose what is necessary to defeat it. That is my purpose, and our national calling. The American people have always rallied to the cause of freedom once they understood what was at stake. I have no doubt that they will again."
—Rick Santorum[68]
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.[69]
In 2006, Santorum introduced the term "Islamic fascism", while questioning "his opponent's ability to make the right decisions on national security at a time when 'our enemies are fully committed to our destruction.'"[70]
A supporter of enhanced interrogation, he said in 2011 that John McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner of war, did not understand how the process works.[71]

Party leadership

In a 2002 PoliticsPA feature story designating politicians with yearbook superlatives, he was named the "Most Ambitious".[72]
As chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, 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.[73][74] 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.[73][74]
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.[75] The move came because it was presumed that the incumbent whip, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, had the inside track to succeeding Bill Frist of Tennessee as Senate Republican leader.[citation needed]

K Street Project

Although some sources indicate that Santorum played a key role[76][77] in the K Street Project, Santorum has denied any involvement,[78][79] and 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."[80]

2006 campaign

In 2006, Santorum sought re-election to a third Senate term and ran unopposed in the Republican primaries.[81] His seat was considered among the most vulnerable for Republicans and was a prime target of the Democratic Party in the 2006 elections. His 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.[82]
For most of the campaign, Santorum trailed Casey by 15 points or more in polls.[83] According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Santorum "encouraged everyone in state politics to help the Green Party earn a spot on the November ballot", with the result that 14 Santorum supporters funded a Green Party petition drive for Carl Romanelli, a railroad industry consultant.[84][85] Romanelli came up 9,000 signatures short of the total required for ballot access, further hurting Santorum's prospects, as there were no other candidates to siphon away votes from Casey.[86]
Santorum was mired in a residence controversy after stating that he spent only "maybe a month a year" at his Pennsylvania home.[87] Critics pointed out that Santorum himself had once denounced his former opponent U.S. Representative Doug Walgren for living away from his House district.[88] 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.[89] After the Penn Hills school district challenged the Santorum's residency and billed Santorum $73,000, he withdrew the children from the cyber school, and suggested they were being used as political pawns by his opponents.[89]
Santorum aimed 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.[90] In fact, two of the persons cited in Santorum's campaign ad actually gave contributions to him in 2006, and one died in 2004.[91] Santorum's campaign countered that those donations were not kept, and had been donated to educational institutions.[92] Santorum faced controversy for statements against "radical feminism", which he claimed had made it "socially affirming to work outside the home" at the expense of child care.[citation needed]
Toward the end of his campaign, Santorum shifted his theme to the threat of radical Islam.[70][93] In October 2006 he gave a "Gathering Storm" speech, invoking British Prime Minister Winston Churchill's description of Europe prior to World War II.[70][93] 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.[94] Casey responded, "No one believes terrorists are going to be more likely to attack us, because I defeat Rick Santorum."[95] 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".[93]
A heated debate between the candidates occurred on October 11, 2006.[96] Bill Toland of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette described both candidates' performances during the debate as "unstatesmanlike".[96]
In the November 7, 2006, election, Santorum lost by over 700,000 votes, receiving 41% of the vote to Casey's 59%, the largest margin of defeat for an incumbent senator since 1980.[97][98]

Endorsement of Specter

Santorum's endorsements have been identified as factors in his 2006 defeat. Despite President George W. Bush's having a 38% approval rating in Pennsylvania, Santorum said in a debate that "I think he's been a terrific president, absolutely."[99] Also problematic was Santorum's 2004 endorsement of his Republican Senate colleague Arlen Specter over conservative Congressman Pat Toomey in the 2004 primary for Pennsylvania's other senate seat. Many socially and fiscally conservative Republicans considered the Specter endorsement to be a betrayal of their cause.[100][101] However, Santorum says he endorsed Specter to ensure that Bush's judicial nominees would make it through the Senate, as Specter was then the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the White House told Santorum that Specter would be more electable than the more conservative Toomey.[102] Santorum said that Supreme Court Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito would not have been confirmed without Specter's re-election and that those two justices made "a pretty good trade" for the objectionable endorsement.[103]

Post-Senate career

Lawyer, political consultant and commentator

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.[93] In February 2007 he signed a deal to become a contributor on the Fox News Channel, offering commentary on politics and public policy.[104] In March 2007 he joined Eckert Seamans,[105] 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.[106] He also began writing an Op/Ed column, "The Elephant in the Room", for the The Philadelphia Inquirer.[107]
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.[76][108][109] In 2010 he was paid $23,000 by The Philadelphia Inquirer for his work as a freelance columnist.[76]

Speculation of political plans

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.[110]
On February 1, 2008, Santorum said he would vote for Mitt Romney in the 2008 Republican presidential primary race.[111] 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.[112] 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.[113]
Santorum was mentioned as a candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania in 2010.[114] At one point, he was said to have "quietly but efficiently put his fingerprints on a wide-array of conservative causes in the state."[115] However, Santorum declined to seek the gubernatorial nomination and instead endorsed eventual winner Tom Corbett.[116]

2012 presidential campaign


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.[117]
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.[118][119]
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".[120] 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.[121]
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.[122][123] 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.[124] Santorum later focused on the states holding votes on February 7, a strategy that paid off as the former Pennsylvania Senator won all three.[125][126] Santorum has surged in polls taken since then, taking first place in some and a close second in others.[127] In the March 13 primaries, Santorum narrowly won in both Mississippi and Alabama[128] and followed up with a victory in Louisiana on March 24.[129]
Santorum announced the suspension of his campaign on April 10, 2012, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.[130][131] Romney acknowledged his former rival, saying that Rick Santorum is “an important voice” in the GOP.[132]

Political positions

Santorum has consistently held socially conservative views and has advocated "compassionate conservatism".[133] He has a more mixed record on fiscal issues.[134] 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.[134] However, he has been criticized for supporting costly federal programs in education and transportation and for using earmarks to fund Pennsylvania projects.[134] He says he regrets many of his votes for such programs, and opposes earmarks.[134] 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.[134][135]
He has been described as having a "confrontational, partisan, ‘in your face’ style of politics and government.”[136] “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.”[137]

Higher education

In an interview with Glenn Beck, Santorum said, "I understand why Barack Obama wants to send every kid to college, because of their indoctrination mills, absolutely … The indoctrination that is going on at the university level is a harm to our country." He added "62 percent of kids who go into college with a faith commitment leave without it." Santorum declined to provide a source for that figure.[138][139]

Separation of church and state

In an interview with ABC's television program This Week, Santorum said, "I don't believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute." Santorum continued, "The First Amendment means the free exercise of religion and that means bringing people and their faith into the public square."[140][141]

Separation of religious views and public life

In an interview with the National Catholic Reporter, Santorum said that the distinction between private religious conviction and public responsibility, espoused according to Santorum 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."[142]

Same-sex marriage and reproductive rights


In his 2005 book, It Takes a Family, Santorum advocated for a more "family values"-oriented society centered on monogamous, heterosexual relationships, marriage, and child-raising. While prior to his running for congress Santorum considered himself pro-choice on abortion,[143][144][145] 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."[146]
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.[147] He has described contraception as "a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be,"[148] and said in 2003 that he favors having laws against polygamy, adultery, sodomy, and other actions "antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family".[149]
In 2003, Santorum became the subject of a controversy when he juxtaposed same-sex marriage with pedophilia and bestiality during an interview.[149] 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.[150] The outcome was a definition pertaining to anal sex,[151] and 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".[151][152] Santorum has characterized the campaign as a "type of vulgarity" that was spread on the Internet.[152] In September 2011, Santorum unsuccessfully requested that Google remove the content from its search engine index.[153]

Death penalty

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."[154] 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."[155]

Opposition to libertarianism

In June 2011, Santorum said he would continue to "fight very strongly against libertarian influence within the Republican party and the conservative movement."[156] In an NPR interview 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..."[157]

Against pornography

According to The Huffington Post, Santorum promised to initiate a "war on porn" if he is elected.[158] 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."[159] But according to the USA Today, some conservatives believe that Santorum's focus on porn may "hurt the party politically."[159] Nonetheless, on 23 March 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."[160] Researchers say that there is no such evidence of brain changes, although pornography's harmfulness "is still in dispute."[160] James Poulos, a writer from Forbes, wrote on 19 March 2012 that Santorum's attack on pornography is an "ability to transform relatively irrelevant issues into politically relevant controversies."[161]
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."[162] 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."[162] 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."[163]

Poverty

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 relief. In 2006, rock musician and humanitarian Bono said of Santorum, "he has been a defender of the most vulnerable."[164][165] 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.[164]

Illegal immigration

In 2006, Santorum opposed the Senate's immigration reform proposal.[166] 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.[167] 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".[168]

Social Security

He supported partial privatization of Social Security, and following President Bush's re-election, he held forums across Pennsylvania on the topic.[169]

Iran nuclear capability

In January 2012 The Atlantic Wire characterized Santorum as an "extreme hawk" on Iran.[170] The same month, Santorum criticized Obama for not doing enough to block Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Santorum said that, if elected, he would call upon Iran to open its facilities to international inspection and begin to dismantle them, and that if Iranian leaders did not comply, he would bomb the weapons sites.[171] Speaking in Greenville, South Carolina, and referring to the assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist, Santorum said Iran "cannot have a nuclear weapon, because you, in Greenville, will not be safe."[172]

Energy and environment

Santorum rejects the mainstream scientific opinion on climate change, having referred to it as "junk science"; he also embraces common threads of the global warming conspiracy theory, believing that global warming is a "beautifully concocted scheme" by the political left and "an excuse for more government control of your life."[173]
He has stated a policy of "drill everywhere" for oil and that there is "enough oil, coal and natural gas to last for centuries".[174]

Gun control

Santorum has often supported gun rights.[175]

Controversies

Catholic Online article regarding sexual abuse incidents

In 2005, a controversy developed over an article Santorum wrote in 2002 to a Catholic publication saying liberalism and moral relativism in American society, particularly within seminaries, contributed 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."[176] The comments were widely publicized in June 2005 by Philadelphia Daily News columnist John Baer who wrote, "I'd remind you this is the same Senate leader who recently likened Democrats fighting to save the filibuster to Nazis."[177] In Massachusetts, Santorum's remarks were heavily criticized, and on July 12, 2005, The Boston Globe called on Santorum to explain his statement. The newspaper reported that Robert Traynham, Santorum's spokesman, told him, "It's an open secret that you have Harvard University and MIT that tend to tilt to the left in terms of academic biases. I think that's what the senator was speaking to." Santorum said the statement about Boston was taken out of context and that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had targeted his article, written three years earlier, to coordinate with Kennedy's speech against him. Santorum continued to agree with the broader theme of a cultural connection, saying that it is "no surprise that the culture affects people's behavior. [...] the liberal culture—the idea that [...] sexual inhibitions should be put aside and people should be able to do whatever they want to do, has an impact on people and how they behave." He again agreed with the 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." He recalled mentioning Boston because in July 2002, he said, the outrage of American Catholics, as well as his own, was focused on the Archdiocese of Boston.[178]

Pennsylvania residency

Santorum's residency has been controversial, with critics noting that Santorum had made the residency of his opponent a major campaign issue when he first ran for Congress in 1990.[citation needed]
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,[109] but sold it in 2007 for $850,000,[179] and purchased a $2 million home in Great Falls, Virginia.[180]
In November 2004, the Penn Hills School District, which was paying 80% of the tuition costs associated with the Santorum's five older children attending the Western Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, asked Santorum to repay $67,000 in tuition costs, as the district believed that he and his family were spending most of the year in Virginia and did not meet the qualifications for residency status.[181] Santorum disputed the assessment and withdrew his children from the cyber education program.[182] On July 8, 2005, a Pennsylvania state hearing officer dismissed the complaint as not being filed in a timely manner. The school district sought reimbursement from the state and in September 2006, the Pennsylvania Department of Education agreed to pay the district $55,000 to settle the dispute.[183] In September 2006, Santorum asked county officials to remove the homestead tax exemption from his Penn Hills property.[184] Since 2006, Santorum has been home-schooling his seven children.[185][186]
Santorum responded to the dispute saying that his children should not be implicated in the "politics of personal destruction".[187] 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."[188]

Personal life

Karen Garver
Santorum met his future wife, Karen Garver (born 1960), while she was a law student at the University of Pittsburgh and he was recruiting summer interns for Kirkpatrick & Lockhart. She was a neo-natal nurse prior to attending law school. They married in 1990[15] and have seven living children. In 1996, the Santorums' son Gabriel was born prematurely after twenty weeks of pregnancy and died in the hospital two hours after birth. Karen wrote that she and Rick slept with the dead infant between them in the hospital that night, then brought his body home the following day and introduced it to their children as "your brother Gabriel".[3][189][190] The handling of their infant son's death attracted scrutiny in January 2012 following Santorum's success in the Iowa caucuses. However, mental health experts interviewed by ABC News said what the Santorums did was encouraged at the time, although no longer recommended.[191] 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,[192] and Jessica Heslam, writing that holding her own stillborn baby brought her "much peace".[193] 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.[194] In 2008 at the age of 48, Karen Garver Santorum gave birth to her 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.[195][196][197] Following the second hospitalization of Isabella 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.[142][198] 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.[199]
Santorum's net worth has been estimated between $880,000 and $3 million,[200] which mainly comes from five rental properties around Penn State University,[201] two personal homes in Great Falls and Penn Hills,[202] and some IRA accounts.[203]



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