WASHINGTON – Fresh off his three-state sweep, Rick Santorum told thousands of conservative activists here Friday that Republicans can only defeat President Obama by drawing sharp contrasts.
“We’re not going to win this election because the Republican candidate has the most money, with which to beat up our opponent,” Santorum said. “It’s going to be about who has the boldest contrast, who has the vision, who has the ideas.”
Mitt Romney, who enacted a health care law as governor of Massachusetts that required people to buy insurance and was similar to Obama’s national law, “would simply give that issue away in the fall,” Santorum said.
Santorum was speaking to thousands of attendees at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, and Romney was scheduled to speak later to the same group, facing angst from some on the right because of his relatively moderate record in Massachusetts and position changes on social issues such as abortion. Santorum defeated Romney in lightly attended caucuses in Minnesota and Colorado, and a nonbinding preference primary in Missouri, on Tuesday.
Santorum said that the threat to freedom of the national health-care law was illustrated by the White House’s initial decision to require religious institutions such as hospitals and universities and schools to provide coverage of contraception, including sterilization and “morning after” pills that block a fertilized egg from continuing to develop.
“It’s not about contraception, it’s about economic liberty, it’s about freedom of speech and freedom of religion,” Santorum said, speaking of the Affordable Care Act. “It’s about government control of your lives and it’s got to stop.”