April 01, 2020
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Moderates stump for Santorum

PHILADELPHIA – In a hunt for votes in the Philadelphia suburbs, Sen. Rick Santorum’s campaign brought four Senate colleagues to town Wednesday to spin Santorum as a moderate in conservative clothing.

“The caricature that is so often drawn of him as being an extremist is not the senator that I see,” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said at a morning news conference.

“None of us agree with Rick Santorum on every issue. I am pro-choice,” Collins said. “[But] Rick is someone who works well with senators of all ideologies.”

Santorum is facing an uphill battle against his challenger, state Treasurer Bob Casey. Independent polls have shown Santorum’s approval rating this year hovering below 40 percent and Casey with a lead over the senator.

Fellow Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Collins all set aside the day to campaign for Santorum in the vote-rich Philadelphia suburbs. Santorum hopes to woo enough moderates there to win the Nov. 7 election over Casey, a socially conservative Democrat.

Santorum clenched his fists and looked tense as his colleagues talked of what they called his unheralded work on social issues, from AIDS research to Amtrak funding. They spent less time discussing the war in Iraq.

“It’s very easy to stereotype … to play off the old themes and ignore what goes on,” said Santorum, the third-ranking Republican in the Senate.

He said he knows some people may wonder if he is trying to run away from his record or his conservative stance. “Absolutely not. But there’s more to the story,” Santorum said.

Santorum offered an “alternative story line” about his 12 years in the Senate, describing his work on Amtrak, energy assistance programs and puppy mills.

“Those are the kinds of things that are real meat and potatoes for people in southeastern Pennsylvania,” Santorum said.

Santorum has drawn headlines for his remarks comparing homosexuality to polygamy and bestiality and for suggesting more parents could afford to quit their jobs and stay home with their children.

Specter acknowledged that Santorum’s candor draws attention.

“He has very strongly held views and he insists on saying them,” Specter said. “My father taught me to know what you say, don’t say what you know.”


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