CP Politics

Tuesday, Nov 25, 2014

Santorum Takes His 'Narrative' to Florida Christian School

January 25, 2012|5:58 am

STUART, Florida – A week before Florida’s crucial GOP primary, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum asked this question to a crowd gathered on the football field of Community Christian Academy, “Who has the best narrative to go up against Barack Obama?”

Many in the crowd believe Santorum does. In a political era where story matters, Santorum is tapping into his family’s narrative of immigration, hard work, and eventual success – hoping it will resonate with working class voters.

“At my Granddad’s funeral, I knelt down by his casket and looked at his hands –enormous, working man’s hands,” said Santorum of his grandfather who worked in the coalmines until he was 72. “And I was thankful for what he did, clawing his way for my freedom.”

He added, “Each of us has someone who clawed their way to freedom for us.”

Santorum contrasted the freedom his grandfather sought in fleeing fascist Italy with what he called the “big-government activism” of President Obama.

“President Obama wants to make us like a European welfare state,” Santorum told a receptive crowd of varied ages, “but our ancestors left Europe because they didn’t want that. America is different.”

Turning to the economic situation in the country, Santorum said, “The president is going to be giving a state of the nation address tonight. And what is the state of the nation?”

Some in the crowd shouted out, “Bad.”

Though Santorum kept most of his criticism for the president, he made a slightly veiled reference to the two frontrunners in the race. Presumably referring to the concern many have about former House speaker Newt Gingrich’s temperament and possible ethical breaches, he said, “We have to have a candidate who is not going to be the issue.”

And when Santorum reached into his pocket for his copy of the Constitution that he keeps with him, he remarked, “That’s a $20 that just fell out, not a $100,” – a reminder that he, unlike millionaire Mitt Romney, is in tune with average Americans.

Santorum fielded questions from students at the K-12 private Christian school.

Junior Matt Lindahl asked about solving the problem of illegal immigration. The former senator responded, “We shouldn’t bring up the drawbridges. Immigrants bring great enthusiasm and diversity to our country. But the best way you can show me you want to be a great American is by respecting the rules of the country.”

“I thought his answer was pretty good,” Lindahl later said.

When asked by a woman in the crowd what his top three goals would be as president, Santorum said “repeal Obamacare, pass a pro-growth package to get the economy going” and reduce the size of government.

His economic message resonated with local farmer Nick Scardigno who has already cast his ballot for Santorum in early voting. “He’s going to get America back to work,” Scardigno said, “and if he does that, people can start buying the goods and services that people are providing once again.”

Keeping to the theme of narrative, Santorum shared more of his personal story in the decision to run for the Republican nomination for president.

“My wife Karen and I prayed about it at the kitchen table with friends,” Santorum said. “Other than my thirteen-year-old daughter, there weren’t a lot of people pushing me to run. But I decided the best way to be a good husband and father is to go out on the road to help make an America I want my children and your children and grandchildren to grow up in.”

Another student brought up the issue of faith and politics.

“The role of faith should be a vibrant one,” Santorum said, mentioning a recent Supreme Court decision that ruled on behalf of religious institutions in disputes over employment. “That decision kicked this administration in the teeth,” Santorum said.

“It’s so refreshing to hear someone be so unabashed about faith,” said Dr. Joy Lee Story, a professor of economics who attended the event.

Regina Jones, a behavior specialist and mother of a Community Christian Academy student, said it’s not just people of faith who support Santorum, “There’s a Facebook page called ‘Atheists for Santorum.’ Check it out.”

Lee Story admitted that she has not yet decided whom she will vote for. “I’m trying to learn as much as I can,” she said.

Santorum is hoping both his proposed policies and his personal narrative will be enough to persuade Lee Story and others in this diverse state, where he is currently running third, to vote for him.

Source URL : http://www.christianpost.com/news/santorum-takes-his-narrative-to-florida-school-67885/