MONTROSE – With the Colorado Republican Primary just days away, Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum took his campaign to Montrose Saturday arguing that he’s the true conservative candidate in the race and the only Republican candidate that has a chance at beating President Barack Obama next November.
“Folks, we need a contrast,” Santorum told a packed conference room inside the Holiday Inn Express on Saturday morning. More than once, he emphasized that GOP candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich aren’t far enough away from many of Obama’s policies and that he is the choice for a true conservative change. “[Romney and Gingrich] will be the issue if they run against Obama. And in that case, we will lose. They may be a little different but they are not the contrast we need.”
The Colorado Republican Caucus is on Tuesday, Feb. 7 beginning at 7 p.m. across the state. Montrose Republicans were eager to hear him: Santorum’s speech was set to begin at 9 a.m. and already by 7:45 a.m. almost every seat in the conference room was taken. By the time he started his speech it was standing room only.
“This is the most important election of your lifetime,” Santorum said. “People say this president is radical. You have no idea how radical this president is.”
Particularly, he said, Obama and the left know how to take away freedom and the basic values that made America great: God and family.
“We need change that believes in you,” Santorum said. “We need someone who can go into the public and remind us who we are.”
Santorum took several shots at “Obamacare” saying that he’s always supported privatized health care and that forms of socialized medicine, like Obamacare, is just one of the many ways progressives erode citizens’ rights
“Obamacare will destroy everything,” he said. “Once they take that power away, they have you. It creates a dependency on the government.”
Santorum went on to say that Obama’s foreign policy is “pathetic,” “weak” and that the U.S. is “disrespected around the world.”
The event was hosted by the Montrose Republican Party and was attended by all three Montrose Board of County Commissioners several Montrose city councilmembers and State House District 58 Rep. Don Coram. During the question and answer period, Coram asked if the federal government could find a better way to let state governments do their jobs.
“As a state legislator, please stop sending us unfunded mandates,” Coram said, “and rein in the EPA. Let us do our jobs.”
Santorum was quick to give him an answer on the EPA.
“The easy part of that is we will fire everybody at the EPA that we can,” Santorum said. “But that’s not enough. We can rein in the EPA but we have to also get rid of the laws.”
This answer, perhaps, received the loudest applause during the presentation. He went on to say the left uses global warming “to stop every kind of economic activity.”
While Santorum focused on national issues, he did discuss one area of interest in Western Colorado, describing federal lands as “your lands” that the government under Obama wants to limit access to. Santorum didn’t get more specific on that issue.
“I am here to ask you to stand up for somebody who represents the values of our party,” Santorum said. As to his chances of winning the Colorado primary, he said: “This state is wide open.”