Rick Santorum: There Aren't Families in Poor Neighborhoods

U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., speaks to an election night gathering at his headquarters Tuesday, May 16, 2006, in Greentree, Pa. State Treasurer Bob Casey easily beat two challengers Tuesday to win the Democratic nomination to challenge Santorum in a race that national Democratic leaders hope will underscore public disapproval of the nation's Republican leadership. AP Photo/John Heller

Rick Santorum
AP

Even as the sluggish economy weighs heavily on most voters' minds, morality cannot be ignored in politics, former Republican Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania said today.

Poor neighborhoods in America demonstrate why faith-based values must be a part of the discussion, Santorum said at the Values Voter Summit, hosted by the Family Research Council.

"You will find no families" in those neighborhoods, he said, "and you will find government everywhere."

Many political observers have concluded that social issues will not matter in an election year when so many people are struggling economically. Santorum said that some people will "tell us we have to put faith on the back of the bus. Economic issues are paramount."

However, the American dream is "at a tipping point," he said. "Limited government can only occur in a society where there are strong families, strong churches and virtue. So don't let them put you in the back of the bus."

He continued, "We have people in Washington who now believe that the government bestows rights, not God."

America is a "grand experiment" that has prospered because "we let loose the human spirit," Santorum said.

By contrast, he said, "Let's look at the Muslim world over the last 200 years," where he said there have bee no "great technological innovations." He continued, "Let's look at other areas of the world where there wasn't freedom."

Given that America is at a "tipping point," Santorum, a potential 2012 presidential candidate, called the 2010 elections "the most important election of our lifetime."

He also warned, however, that "there will not be dramatic changes" after this November.

"Barack Obama will still be president," Santorum said. "And he will not be for repealing 'Obamacare.' He will not be for cutting spending. There should be no popping of champagne corks."

To bring about true change, he said, Republicans will have to win a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. He urged the conservatives in the audience to "stay focused."

"I would add Delaware would be a good place to spend some time," he said.



Stephanie Condon is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.

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