Republican Presidential Candidate Profile: Rick Santorum

The Hill Talk is giving a quick rundown of each Republican candidate in advance of the first primary debate on Thursday, August 6.

Here is our profile of former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum.

Rick SantorumQuick Facts:

  • Born in Winchester, Virginia. Raised in Butler, Pennsylvania.
  • 57 years-old.
  • Catholic.

Political Experience:

  • Santorum entered the political world in 1990 when he ran for U.S. Congress. He represented Pennsylvania’s 18th district from 1991-1995.
  • In 1995 Santorum was elected to the U.S. Senate, and then served there until his failed bid to win re-election in 2006.
  • Since then, Santorum has twice tried to win the Republican nomination for President in 2008 and 2012.

Positions on the issues

Healthcare:

  • Is strongly against the Affordable Care Act.
  • Has implied that he believes that Obamacare is a sinister conspiracy.
  • “Take care of the people who can vote and people who can’t vote, get rid of them as quickly as possible by not giving them care so they can’t vote against you,” Santorum said of Obamacare at a Young Americans for Freedom event in 2013.
  • Backs private sector insurance, even for Medicare.
  • Says child vaccinations shouldn’t be mandatory.

Jobs/ The Economy:

  • Has called for raising the minimum wage by 50 cents on hour, every year, for the next three years from the current floor of $7.25 an hour.
  • “If conservatives got the vote of every job creator in the country, we’d still lose,” said Santorum in his book Blue Collar Conservatives where he argues that for the Republican Party to succeed they have to reform their message to appeal to blue collar workers.

Climate Change:

  • “There are more pressing problems confronting the earth than climate change,” said Santorum recently.

Immigration:

  • Has proposed reducing legal immigration to the United States.
  • Said that “since 2000 there have been 6 million net new jobs created in America. … How many of those net new jobs are held by people who were not born in this country? All of them.”
  • In fact, native-born Americans aged 16+ gained 2.7 million jobs between 2000-2014.

Social Issues:

  • Known as a big right-wing social crusader.
  • Pro-life.
  • Said that JFK went too far in 1960 when he said that he would not “take orders from the Vatican.”
  • “(Kennedy) went far too far in separating out faith in the public square absolutely, and that’s what he said, he said people of faith have no role in public discourse.” Thereby ignoring the separation of church and state.
  • Has said that vaccinations sponsored by the United Nations are the “underlying cause” of homosexuality. “Before the 1960’s you never saw homosexuality,” Santorum explained, “There were no gay bars. There were no gay TV characters. There were no parades. Then suddenly – just about the time this vaccine is introduced – you started seeing homosexuality everywhere.”

Relevant Scandals:

  • Besides his verbal gaffs, last election there was controversy concerning Santorum’s name being the butt of an internet joke.

Who will vote for him?

He has a certain following amongst Christians, but unfortunately, he won’t be at the prime-time debate on Thursday.

Debate video:

On immigration policy