Entries in National Press Club (1)


Rick Santorum: Obama Doesn't Believe in Freedom

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With Donald Trump and Ron Paul grabbing national headlines for their fledgling presidential campaigns, it is difficult for any candidate -- much less a former senator from Pennsylvania -- to distinguish himself in the field.

Potential 2012 presidential candidate Rick Santorum used a multi-faceted foreign policy address Thursday to cast himself as the national security candidate.

Santorum criticized Obama's foreign policy around the world, calling Libya a "morass" and attacking the president's handling of the recent uprisings in Egypt and Syria. He said America's outlook on international intervention should rely more on national security than President Obama.

"Freedom has been our watchword, our anchor and our moral guide for nearly every cause both here and abroad. But today, we have lost this mission because our president doesn't believe in it," Santorum said.

As a prime example of this failure, Santorum cited America's involvement in Libya.

"As for Libya: it is a morass. If we were going to support the rebel forces we should have acted swiftly in the early days of Benghazi's uprising by recognizing and arming the rebels and immediately enforcing a no-fly zone. Decisive action against Gadhafi would have been the end of him."

Unlike other potential 2012 contenders like Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney, who have both termed American's involvement in Libya a "mission creep," Santorum said he believes that America has done too little, too late.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll released last week found 40 percent of Americans oppose U.S. military involvement in Libya, and 65 percent disapprove of President Obama's handling of the situation.

In his speech at the National Press Club titled "Americans and the World," Santorum criticized U.S. policy from Syria to Venezuela to Egypt and Iran. His overarching message was that America is "truly a moral enterprise" but that Obama has forgotten this imperative.

"Syria's continued destabilizing of Lebanon, open hostility to Israel and support for terrorism has been rewarded by President Obama," Santorum said. He said the U.S. should not have an ambassador in Syria and that protesters there deserve American support.

Regarding Egypt, Santorum argued that the United States turned its back on its longtime ally, Hosni Mubarak, only to create a power vacuum filled by the Muslim Brotherhood. Turning to Iran, he said Obama's policies largely caused rebel uprisings to fail.

Santorum labeled "militant socialism" and "Sharia and its violent iteration jihadism" as the main two threats to the world. He called on America to "[reclaim] our legacy of liberty."

Only two weeks ago Santorum announced the formation of a Presidential Testing-the-Waters Effort and the creation of the Rick Santorum Exploratory Committee, and in the past year he has traveled to more than 25 states to speak with the American public about the issues facing our nation.

While still officially undecided about a formal run for the White House, increasingly his actions and schedules all point to it.

This past week alone, Santorum made his 12th visit to Iowa. Later this week he will head to Pennsylvania to address the National Rifle Association's Annual Meeting, and then to New Hampshire for his 15th visit there.

The first GOP presidential debate is scheduled for May 5 in South Carolina, and eight candidates have taken some step toward exploring a presidential campaign, leaving the field, at this early stage, wide open.

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