Santorum: Without church, family, there is no conservative movement

Rick Santorum speaks at the "Patriots for Romney-Ryan Reception" on August 29, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Rick Santorum speaks at the "Patriots for Romney-Ryan Reception" on August 29, 2012 in Tampa, Florida.
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images
(CBS News) Challenging "economic conservatives and libertarian types who say, 'Oh we don't want to talk about the social issues,'" former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., told the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, "Without the church and the family, there is no conservative movement, there is no basic values in America enforced, and there is no future for our country."

Greeted by a wildly enthusiastic standing ovation, Santorum - considered the "social issues" candidate in the 2012 Republican presidential primary and, until his departure from the race in April, the last serious threat to Mitt Romney for the party's nomination - said that in spite of Romney's proclaimed tunnel-focus on the economy, "there's a lot more at stake than just economics."

Piggy-backing off his former stump speech (during which he often cited a restoration of the traditional family unit as the way to a stronger economy), Santorum tried to make the case Saturday that the church and family are the only dependable backbones of the conservative movement. "We will never have the media on our side - ever, in this country," he said. "We will never have the elite, smart people on our side."

Santorum, who once called Romney the "worst Republican in the country to go up against Barack Obama" because of Romney's health care record as governor of Massachusetts, said he worries Americans, deterred by "such an acrimonious election," won't vote in November. Arguing that President Obama "doesn't believe in families and churches and communities," he called on "fellow believers of America's creed" to get out the vote for Romney.

"This is the most important election in the history of our country, whether I'm on the ballot or not," Santorum said, adding that he feels "good" after seeing the script of the speech Romney gave to the Summit via satellite Friday. "I could have given that speech," Santorum said, noting Romney "mentioned my name" in the remarks.

Also speaking at the Values Voter event Saturday, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer paid indirect homage to Santorum's now-famous campaign trail line, mocking the president for thinking "he can win my state, probably some of your states, too. "You know what I say?" she said. "Game on!"

Brewer argued that "on November 6, Americans will make a choice about what's right and what's wrong.

"Right is calling a terrorist, yes, a terrorist," she said to raucous applause. "Right is calling a Christmas tree a Christmas tree. Right is not being afraid to salute the flag, wear a flag pin, say the Pledge of Allegiance, and sing the National Anthem, unashamed, with a tear in our eye."

Nodding to her center-stage role earlier this summer, when the Supreme Court upheld the "show me your papers" provision in Arizona's controversial immigration law, Brewer continued, "Right is not being afraid to say to those who are here illegally, you deserve no favoritism. Right is looking President Obama square in the eye, as I did, and saying, 'Mr. President, do your job. Secure our border.'" Earlier in the speech, she slammed the president's criticism of the law, which she says ensures civil rights are protected and "racial profiling is not tolerated."

  • Lindsey Boerma On Twitter»

    Lindsey Boerma is senior video producer for CBSNews.com.

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