Santorum: I'm the consistent social conservative

Republican presidential candidate former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum listens to a student's question at Oral Roberts University, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. AP

Republican presidential candidate former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum listens to a student's question at Oral Roberts University, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
AP

Updated 7:30 p.m. ET

TULSA, Okla. -- Rick Santorum said on Thursday that his presidential rivals haven't been as consistent as him on gay rights and abortion issues. He also blasted President Obama in unusually harsh terms for what he called the president's insufficient support for Israel.

Addressing an audience of more than 4,000 people at Oral Roberts University, Santorum fielded a student's question about the potential attacks he would receive on those two issues from President Obama if he were to win the Republican nomination.

"The other candidates in this race have the same positions I have on these issues." Santorum said. "At least, that is what they say right now."

He told the audience they should vote for him in the primary if they want a candidate who understands the issues and articulates them consistently. "If you are someone who is a voter who may not agree with me on those issues, or agree with any of us on those issues, who are you going to feel more comfortable with?" he asked.

A poll this week showed Santorum running a distant third behind Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney in Oklahoma, but the former senator from Pennsylvania is counting on momentum from his wins in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri.

During his speech, Santorum also ripped Obama in unusually harsh terms for his administration's decision to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline, telling the audience that it amounted to backing oil-rich Iran over Israel.

"We're throwing Israel under the bus because we know we're going to be dependent upon OPEC," he said. "We're going to say, 'Iran we don't want you to get a nuclear weapon,' wink wink nod nod, 'go ahead, just give us your oil.'"

In a subsequent interview on CNN after the speech, host John King asked the candidate if he really believed the president was undermining Israel's security, and Santorum stood by his remarks.

"This is a president who is not standing by our allies, it's trying to appease, trying to find a way to allow clearly to allow Iran to get this nuclear weapon," he said. "He's doing absolutely nothing in a consequential way to make sure they don't get this weapon."

Santorum also took a swing at his former Senate colleague Barbara Boxer, saying he sharply disagreed with the liberal California Democrat on reproductive and contraception issues.

"Barbara Boxer is sort of a dog whistle for me when it came to the United States Senate," he said. "Every time she went on the floor of the Senate, I just felt this magnet to run. She said woman's rights trump religious rights. Maybe she ought to read the First Amendment again."

Santorum said in the CNN interview that he hoped to be able to release his tax returns within a couple of days. He had promised to do so shortly after Romney released his returns.

Full CBS News coverage: Rick Santorum

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