Santorum campaigns in Jefferson

Sen Rick Santorum
Sen Rick Santorum

Republican presidential candidate Gov Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania made a return visit to Jefferson Jan. 19 after speaking at the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit earlier that day in Des Moines.

Santorum spoke to a small group of fewer than a dozen voters at Pizza Ranch.

Santorum said he is a proponent of the renewable fuel standard.  “The RFS is as important of a piece of legislation for the economy of Iowa as anything,” he said, and said that President Obama has changed Congressional intent by changing the amount of ethanol required to be blended into fuel.

He said he is the only senator who is a candidate for president who voted in favor of the RFS. He said he has always been against agricultural subsidies, but he sees the RFS not as a subsidy for corn growers, but as “a mandate for the oil industry to take product from a stream of energy that’s not theirs. That’s not an industry that’s going to take it if they don’t have to.”

According to Santorum, domestic production of fuel, and the RFS, is a matter of national security.

He spoke shortly after polls showed Sen Ted Cruz gaining traction in Iowa. According to Santorum, if Cruz performs will in the Iowa caucus, given Cruz’s stance against ethanol, it will send a message that Iowans don’t support the ethanol industry.

He said the nation is “at the most perilous time of my lifetime” and named ISIS as the biggest threat to the U.S. He predicted that dealing with ISIS will be an important issue in the campaign leading up to Nov. 8, but he didn’t give details of how he would answer the threat.

He repeated much of what he said during his August visit on the Iran nuclear agreement, reminding voters that he had written legislation enacting the sanctions against Iran that were lifted in the 2015 agreement.

He said that in 2006 Joe Biden, John Kerry, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton all claimed Iran did not have nuclear weapons. “They’ve been wrong for a long time. They don’t understand that Iran is a theocracy that wants to destroy the West. The want to bring about the end of times. They are an apocalyptic form of Islam. The majority of Shiite Muslims in the Middle East believe the end of the year is coming in the next five years because that’s what the Iranian leaders tell them every day.

“You don’t know that because no one reports it. No one wants to tell you the truth about the nature of the enemy we face. We’d rather just say they’re crazies, they’re religious zealots. They don’t mean any of this,” Santorum said. Radical Muslims are preparing for Armageddon, he added.

Santorum answered a question about the criteria used by national media to select candidates to appear in the nationally televised debates, Santorum answered that that has been the most challenging part of the campaign. “The media has decided which candidates people should pay attention to and who they shouldn’t, as opposed to Iowans deciding the candidates people should pay attention to,” he said.

When asked about his tax plan, he spoke briefly against the proposals of Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. His plan includes reducing capital gains taxes to 25 percent and allowing only two deductions, one for charitable contributions and one for mortgage interest, and two credits, one for children and another credit for every person in the household.  “We’ve made it very simple and pro family, and pro work. No matter how much money you earn, the maximum that’s going to be taken away from you is 20 cents on the dollar. It’s a purist flat tax,” he said.

He explained his reason for running for president. “I took a look at the field and there are a lot of very good talented people, but I don’t see anyone with any kind of substantial national security experience to take on the problems we’re confronting, who has shown that he has the courage to go out and tell the truth to the American public, and define the enemy and define the strategy to defeat that…. I’ve done that throughout the course of my political career.

“If we’re going to be going up against a former Secretary of State, we’d better have someone with knowledge and experience the American people can look to and trust to keep them safe,” he said.

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