Rick Santorum Endorses Trump

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has “100 percent” endorsed Donald Trump for President.

In an interview with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News, Santorum said, “I had a good conversation with Donald… he asked for my endorsement, and I said what I needed was to deal with the most important issue… My number one thing was, give me a list of [Supreme Court] candidates that you will pick from, and pledge to pick from that list, and if those names are names that I can support, I’ll support you for President.”

Van Susteren asked what Santorum thought about Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees.

“They are solid folks, they will preserve the Constitution, and that is the most important thing we can have in this election,” Santorum said.

Van Susteren then asked if that counts as an endorsement.

“I’m 100 percent,” Santorum said. “That’s endorse. The most important issue is preserving the Constitution of this country, and a liberal Supreme Court will destroy it.”

Jon Schweppe is the Communications Director for American Principles Project. Follow him on Twitter @JonSchweppe. Continue Reading

Four Reasons for Santorum’s Disappointing Showing in 2016

Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Last night, Rick Santorum became the latest casualty of the 2016 election cycle when he announced he was officially suspending his presidential campaign. Despite finishing second overall in 2012, Santorum never got off the ground in 2016. What happened?

1. The media and the RNC happened.

The two-tiered debates were bad in theory and even worse in practice. At the beginning, we had over a dozen legitimate candidates and a couple borderline legitimate candidates (George Pataki and Jim Gilmore). By using national polls to determine who got into the primetime debates, the media had its own primary and told voters who they wanted to hear from, not the other way around. And to make matters worse, the RNC — which is supposed to support all candidates and let the voters narrow the field down — cooperated with the media.

The two-tier debates could have been workable if the “undercard” debates were given a fair amount of coverage. Instead, the networks barely advertised the undercards, and spent the day talking about who needed to do what in the primetime debate and basically ignoring the undercard debates. I watched most of the undercards, and I found them to be far more substantive and interesting than the primetime circuses. There were so many fresh conservative ideas put forth by Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina, and others that simply never got talked about.

The result was decreased visibility for Santorum (and the other candidates relegated to the undercards). Continue Reading

Santorum Drops Out of 2016 Race, Endorses Rubio

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Former Senator Rick Santorum suspended his presidential campaign and endorsed Marco Rubio on Wednesday evening. In particular, Santorum cited Rubio’s strong support for family values.

Santorum emphasized Rubio’s position of “understanding the central role of the family in supporting that opportunity; that family breakdown is one of the key reasons that the middle [class] is hollowing out. It’s not just the lack of opportunities and talk about manufacturing and that important thing.”

Speculation abounded earlier in the day when Santorum announced he was dropping out, but he waited until an evening appearance on Fox News’ “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren” to declare who he was endorsing.

Several commentators, including The Resurgent‘s Erick Erickson, predicted Santorum would endorse Donald Trump in light of Santorum’s appearance at Trump’s veteran’s rally during the last Republican debate.

Trump was also set to appear on Greta’s show last night and was seen by some as an embodiment of the same populism Santorum has tapped into during his presidential runs.

Along these lines, Rubio responded to Santorum’s endorsement by praising Santorum’s “great agenda for blue collar Americans.”

Rubio has emphasized policies that would benefit working families such his tax proposal with Senator Mike Lee to expand the child tax credit. That proposal has been embraced by pro-family conservative tax reformers such as Ramesh Ponnuru who argue that children are a civic investment. But it has been criticized by other conservatives emphasizing purely supply-side tax approaches. Continue Reading

Iowa Caucus 2016: Winners and Losers

From left: Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Wow, what an incredible night! Now that the votes have been tallied in Iowa, it’s time to take a look at tonight’s winners and losers.

Winner: Ted Cruz

This one ought to be obvious. Despite running slightly behind Donald Trump in most polls heading into Caucus night, Ted Cruz delivered a decisive victory, likely due to a strong ground game advantage (which Terry drew attention to earlier today). Although Cruz is unlikely to win in New Hampshire, a state whose demographics favor a more moderate candidate, Cruz’s Iowa win should give him much needed momentum headed into the South Carolina and SEC primaries.

Loser: Donald Trump

Sure, no one expected Trump to dominate Iowa. But given his slight polling advantage leading into tonight, most election-watchers expected Trump to at least keep the race close with Cruz. As the Caucus played out, however, Trump never really came close, despite a record turnout which many suspected would have bolstered his chances, given the significant support he was drawing from first-time caucus-goers. Nevertheless, when voting time came, Trump did not live up to the hype. That does not bode well for him moving forward.

Winner: Marco Rubio

We speculated today that Marco Rubio might be headed for a better than expected finish in Iowa due to a late surge. However, only the most optimistic of Rubio-backers could have predicted the Florida senator performing as well as he did tonight. Rubio outperformed his RCP polling average in Iowa by a whopping six points, moving him to within one point of Trump in the final vote tally. Continue Reading

Here’s How Iowa Will Play Out…

Wow. It’s already here. The Iowa Caucus is tomorrow.

Here’s a candidate-by-candidate review of what could happen, what should happen, and what will happen after the votes are tallied:

Donald Trump

  • Best-case scenario: A strong 1st place finish (35 percent+)
  • Worst-case scenario: Losing to Ted Cruz and finishing second.

Trump currently leads the polls in Iowa, but will polls translate to the ballot box? We honestly have no clue, but we should certainly have a better idea after Tuesday.

Regardless of what happens in Iowa, Trump is here to stay. Losing Iowa will not end his candidacy — not when he’s leading literally everywhere else.

  • PREDICTION: Donald Trump wins Iowa by a slim margin over Ted Cruz.

Ted Cruz

  • Best-case scenario: A strong 1st place finish (35 percent+)
  • Worst-case scenario: Losing to Donald Trump and finishing second.

Ted Cruz is in a very different position than Donald Trump. While Trump would like to win Iowa, it’s not as crucial for him — even if Cruz wins Iowa, Trump will still be seen as the de facto front runner. But Cruz needs Iowa to help him breakout as a viable candidate. If he fails to win Iowa, it’s hard to see his path to victory — could he win New Hampshire? South Carolina? Seems unlikely.

  • PREDICTION: Cruz finishes a close second, spins it as a victory, and stays in the race.

Marco Rubio

  • Best-case scenario: A strong 3rd place finish (20 percent+)
  • Worst-case scenario: Finishing 4th or worse, especially behind Christie or Bush.
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March for Life Draws Varied Reactions from Candidates

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina speaks at the 43rd Annual March for Life (photo credit: Aleteia Image Department via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Hundreds of thousands attended the March for Life in Washington this past Friday on 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The only GOP candidate that spoke at the event, Carly Fiorina, said in her speech that “this election is a fight for the character of our nation” and that she was “prepared to stand for life.”

The Blaze reported that before her speech at the March for Life on Friday, Iowa GOP Senator Joni Ernst said that Republican front runner Donald Trump and other presidential candidates should tell voters where they stand on Roe v. Wade.

So here they are:

Marco Rubio tweeted:

Ben Carson tweeted:

Jeb Bush tweeted:

In an op-ed for Washington Examiner published the next day, Donald Trump wrote: “Let me be clear — I am pro-life. I support that position with exceptions allowed for rape, incest or the life of the mother being at risk. I did not always hold this position, but I had a significant personal experience that brought the precious gift of life into perspective for me.”

Mike Huckabee tweeted:

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New Santorum Ad Takes a Shot at Cruz

While Mike Huckabee pounds Ted Cruz on moral and social issues, Rick Santorum’s latest ad pushes Santorum’s record as a leader on foreign policy and contrasts that with footage of Cruz reading from Green Eggs and Ham on the Senate floor during an anti-Obamacare filibuster attempt:

I don’t think this makes much sense for Rick. Voters aren’t looking for insiders with records, and this kind of made-up attack on Cruz as unserious is just not going to work.

I don’t care for Cruz’s use of joke footage of Marco Rubio saying he has to play fantasy football either.

Too much like business as usual from Washington, if you ask me.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project. Continue Reading

Santorum Backs First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) on EWTN News

Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) appeared on the third episode of “Candidate Conversations 2016” on December 27 on EWTN News. This was the third of several interviews with 2016 candidates conducted by Robert P. George, Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and founder of American Principles Project, and Dr. Matthew J. Franck, Director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute.

“Candidate Conversations 2016” is the first program of its kind — a series of televised one-on-one interviews with presidential candidates, specifically targeted to Christian voters. Professor George and Dr. Franck sat down for one-on-one discussions with the candidates on important topics including religious liberty, marriage, life, the dignity of the person, restoring prosperity and economic opportunity, education, immigration, and the struggles facing everyday Americans and their families.

You can watch a key part of the interview with Senator Santorum below:

Franck and Santorum discussed religious liberty at length. The full transcript of their conversation is below:

FRANCK:  You’ve mentioned the First Amendment Defense Act, and I’m glad you did. The Catholic bishops, our bishops, have expressed deep concerns—

SANTORUM: They’re my bishops too.

FRANCK: I meant to include you in that, our bishops, yours and mine. And most of our viewers—many of our viewers here on EWTN. The Catholic bishops have expressed deep concerns over the future of religious liberty, especially an emerging attempt to punish those of us who believe that marriage is the union of husband and wife.

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Santorum Makes His Case Against Cruz (VIDEO)

Former Senator Rick Santorum appeared on Newsmax TV’s “The Steve Malzberg Show” yesterday, where he discussed his own social conservative record versus the positions of fellow presidential candidate Ted Cruz. You can watch the appearance and read the transcript below:

RICK SANTORUM: …Right now the social conservative votes [in Iowa] are going to Cruz and Trump, neither of which are particularly strong social conservatives. I mean, Donald Trump has never been a social conservative up until the last few months, and Ted Cruz takes the position – very much 10th Amendment, states’ rights, which is sort of a Rand Paul / Ron Paul position –

STEVE MALZBERG: Then Senator, why are – why are the religious – the evangelical votes going there right now?

SANTORUM: I think they’re being sold that they do carry – you know, Ted Cruz says, ‘I’m this social conservative,’ but people haven’t had a chance – and again, this is what this last month, these few weeks heading up to the caucuses, this is when people do their homework, and they’re gonna see. There’s an article in The Iowa Republican today; he called, basically, Ted Cruz the Trojan horse of social conservatism. And these are the types of articles that you’re gonna start to see. People are gonna start to say, ‘Oh, wait a minute. He says he’s these things, but he’s not.’ And –

MALZBERG: Do you agree with that terminology? Is he a Trojan horse when it comes to social conservatism?

SANTORUM: That may not be the right term, but it’s basically that he’s not the social conservative that he’s portraying himself to be.

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Six Candidates Pledge to Sign First Amendment Defense Act Within First 100 Days

American Principles Project has joined together with Heritage Action for America, the action arm of the Heritage Foundation, and FRC Action, the legislative affiliate of the Family Research Council, to invite each of the candidates running for President to sign the following pledge:

If elected, I pledge to push for the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) and sign it into law during the first 100 days of my term as President.

So far, six candidates have signed the pledge:

  • Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
  • Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida)
  • Dr. Ben Carson
  • Carly Fiorina
  • Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania)
  • Former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-Arkansas)

Four candidates did not sign the pledge but have expressed public support for FADA:

  • Former Governor Jeb Bush (R-Florida)
  • Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina)
  • Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky)
  • Donald Trump

Four candidates did not sign the pledge and did not respond to our request to indicate support for FADA:

  • Governor Chris Christie (R-New Jersey)
  • Governor John Kasich (R-Ohio)
  • Former Governor George Pataki (R-New York)
  • Former Governor Jim Gilmore (R-Virginia)

The text of the letter sent to the candidates requesting support for FADA is below:

[T]he gathering concern around whether or not the Left will succeed in its ongoing efforts to force those who disagree with the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage, prompts us to write to you and ask: will you commit to making it a top priority for you to ensure passage of the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) in the first 100 days of your administration?

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