The PJ Tatler

Santorum to CPAC: 'Put Honor on the Line' and Pick Most Conservative

Riding high from this week’s trio of primary victories, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) sought to convince CPAC attendees today that since no Republican will top President Obama’s war chest of campaign funds, they must have the “honor” to nominate the most conservative candidate to run for the White House.

Santorum said that the right should “no longer apologize” for the principles that made America great in order to secure a “hollow victory” in November.

“We know it’s about really big things, more than just the economy,” he said, calling it “the most important election in your lifetime.”

He also promised to make sure his cabinet is stocked with people just as conservative.

“We are not just wings of the Republican Party; we are the Republican Party,” Santorum said. “We will surround ourselves in this administration with people who share our values.”

He addressed a packed house and got a very warm reception, yet didn’t get the ovations that former Texas Gov. Rick Perry or Sen. Marco Rubio received on Thursday.

Santorum walked onstage with his family, except for his youngest daughter Bella, who he said is “doing amazingly well thanks to all of your prayers.” His wife and kids stood behind him during the entire speech.

“This is not the von Trapp family, and we’re not going to sing,” he quipped.

Santorum said that “conservatives failed conservatism” in the last election, and needed to realize that this election is “not just about jobs.”

He did add that creating jobs in the country is very important, for all including the “very poor” — a dig at the recent Mitt Romney gaffe.

Though he didn’t mention Romney by name, even when citing Massachusetts’ state healthcare system and introduction of the first state carbon cap in the country. The former senator asked who would be the candidate with the best track record, including in terms of “faith and family.”

Several people in the center of the auditorium shouted, “You!”

“I guess I can quit now that you’re all convinced of that,” Santorum quipped.

He addressed the hot issue of the conference — the mandate that Catholic institutions pay for employees’ birth control without a co-payment (READ: White House announces compromise). “It’s not about contraception,” he said. “It’s about government control of your lives and it’s got to stop.”

He accused the Obama administration of using a philosophy of being “stewards of the Earth… to try to scare you into supporting radical ideas on the environment.”

Most of all, Santorum implored conservatives to “put honor on the line” and vote rightward.

“We’re not going to win this because the Republican candidate has the most money to beat up their opponent and win the election,” he said. “President Obama will have the most money whoever the nominee is.”

“We’re going to win with contrast,” he said. “We need conservatives to rally now for conservatives… to excite the conservative base.”

Santorum said he was asking conservatives to pledge their honor, not their lives or fortunes.

“Although if you go to ricksantorum.com,” he said, “a piece of that fortune would be very helpful.”