SOMERSET, Pa. – American flags are staked in the ground at the Somerset County Courthouse and red, white and blue balloons are affixed to the building’s majestic columns – ready for former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum to formally launch his Republican presidential campaign later this morning.
Shortly after 7 a.m. Monday, Santorum pre-empted himself slightly, telling George Stephanopolous on ABC’s Good Morning America that yes, he is running and is “in it to win it.” Santorum said he’s got a good team in place in New Hampshire, Iowa and the other states with early nominating contests. “We’ve got a lot of momentum,” Santorum said.
Asked why GOP voters would turn to someone who lost his race for re-election to the Senate – in 2006, by 59 percent to 41 percent – Santorum said he lost because he stuck to his conservative beliefs and told the truth about the Islamist threat, the need to reform Social Security and other unpopular positions.
“People are looking for someone who’s stood by their principles in good times and bad,” Santorum said.
He said that President Obama is a “paper tiger” in foreign affairs, contending the administration has been “appeasing” Iran, a theocratic Islamic state that is moving ahead with its program to obtain nuclear weapons.
Santorum, who served in the Senate from 1995 to 2007, is announcing in Somerset County becasue his grandfather worked in coalmines nearby after emigrating from Italy.