Santorum rips off Cain gimmick, unveils 0-0-0 plan

Republican presidential candidate former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, answers a question during a debate, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011, in Orlando, Fla. Pool,AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

Republican presidential candidate former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, answers a question during a debate, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011, in Orlando, Fla.
Pool,AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

Speaking to a group of social conservatives meeting in Washington, D.C., Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum unveiled his economic plan calling for elimination of taxes on manufacturers and overseas profits and for a rollback of business regulation during the Obama administration.

Borrowing a gimmick from his more successful rival for the nomination, businessman Herman Cain, Santorum called his proposal "0-0-0" because it would remove corporate tax rates on manufacturers, do away with the repatriation tax on overseas profits and get rid of Obama-era regulations.

Cain, a former Godfather's Pizza executive who has rocketed in recent polls to top-tier status, has a "9-9-9" plan to eliminate the current tax system and replace it with a 9 percent personal income tax, a 9 percent corporate income tax, and a 9 percent national sales tax.

Santorum is one of several national figures who are appearing at the Values Voters Summit, a three-day gathering of social conservatives sponsored by the Family Research Council.

"We need a president who believes in free people and free markets," Santorum said. "That's the basis of our society. That's the basis of our economy."

The former senator from Pennsylvania spent most of his roughly 25-minute speech talking about the fight against a procedure called partial birth abortion, which he led in the Senate in the mid-1990s. His remarks focused on the need to educate people about moral issues in order to change opinions. Santorum also said he believes the foundation of a strong economy is strong morality.

"People talk about economic plans, and I just did," he told the crowd of over 1,500 people at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. "But we cannot have a strong economy unless we have strong families and strong faith in this country."

He also criticized President Obama's decision to instruct the Justice Department to stop defending a ban on gay marriage in the courts and for his foreign policy against Israel.

The speech was highly personal at times, as Santorum brought out his wife, Karen, and four of their seven children to talk about a child Karen delivered that lived for only two hours. "He had a very short life, but he had a life that knew only love," Santorum said.

  • Rebecca Kaplan On Twitter»

    Rebecca Kaplan covers the 2012 presidential campaign for CBS News and National Journal.

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