URBANDALE, Iowa – Just hours before Republicans were to cast their first votes for president in Iowa’s precinct caucuses Tuesday, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum took time to give a discursive civics lesson to several hundred students at the Des Moines Christian School.
It was an interesting stop for a man who, polls show, stood a good chance of winning the caucuses outright or finishing a strong second, a far cry from where he started. Santorum began with the separation of powers, the switch to the direct election of senators early in the 20th century, and so on – earnest, but zzzz - and then veered into a harsh attack on President Obama.
“The Obama administration has a set of values,” Santorum said. “Our values are based on religion, based on the Bible. Their values are based on the religion of self.” Though his base of support is among evangelicals and other religious conservatives, Santorum has balanced cultural issues with his economic plans to revive manufacturing in recent days on the trail, as he has risen in the polls.
He also has been pretty optimistic, generally speaking. But to the students, Santorum had a more apocalyptic message about Obama and the left in general: “In their world, if it's religiously based or biblically based, it's out. If it's anything else, bring it on in. You know what's at stake in this election? That value structure.'
Later in his talk, Santorum also said that Obama should “man up and be president.” He said that the president has often acted like a student turning in an incomplete homework assignment who then complains the work is too hard.