Questioned about his political viability in Tampa, Rick Santorum compares himself to Lincoln

Santorum then went on to describe his four previous victories for the House and U.S. Senate representing Pennsylvania before his 2006 trouncing.


Perhaps the Lincoln reference comes from a column written back in 2006 after his loss to Casey and his immediate prospects, which Allentown, Pennsylvania analysts Terrry Madonna and Michael Young speculated could include running for president - in 2008.


Still, if Santorum does run for president, a chilling historical
parallel will be noted: the Republican Party once actually did give its
nomination to someone who had just lost a Senate race. The nominee,
like Santorum, was a polarizing politician with strong views and a
deeply rooted ideology. The year was 1860, his name was Abraham
Lincoln, and his election kicked off the single most tempestuous period
in American history.


(For the record, Abraham Lincoln hardly "lost almost every election her ran" in. He did lose his first ever run for office for the Illinois House of Representatives in 1832. He then won four straight elections for that same seat 1834-1840, though he did lose out in a bid for Illinois House speaker in 1838. He later would run and win racess for the Illinois house again and in Congress, but did lose two bids for U.S. Senate before becoming winning the election for president in 1860).


CL then queried the former Pennsylvanian Senator on some other issues and personalities, such as Texas Representative Ron Paul, who Santorum blasted at the last presidential debate for some of his positions on foreign policy. He admitted that Paul's message is catching on with the public.


"I think lot of folks are angry and he represents a very different way of looking at things and that people are looking for something different than what we have. I think once people look at the policies he's actually advocating, I think they represent a fairly narrow segment of the United States. Although some of the things that he advocates, particularly his economic policies, are very consistent with the Republican party and I think a lot of people can legitimately be attracted, there are other things that are less sellable.


On Libya, Santorum said the U.S. was more lucky than good, saying, "Sometimes good things even though you don't cause the good things to happen. I would say the President was fortunate in the sense that the folks that eventually sided with ended up being successful though very little effort and support by the United States, and that has its consequences, which is our ability to influence the future government will be commensurate in their success."


Santorum added, "I made the comment from the very beginning that we should make an assessment whether this was a group of people that we should be involved in, and if they were then we should have, and if they weren't, then we shouldn't have. If it was in our national security interest. The President never made that assessment. The assessment the President made ultimately was, 'I wanted to avert a slaughter.' So we got in to avert a slaughter. American military should never be used to avoid a slaughter. If that was the case we'd be in 50 countries. So, again, the reason for him getting in had nothing to do with the success of the mission, it had everything to do with following what the United Nations said he should do and that again is not how we should properly deploy our military.


We didn't get the UN support in Libya, the UN dictated to us what we should do. That is not American leadership, that is American 'Followership,' and it's not something that I think that any President should see as a mission for the U.S. military what the United Nations wants us to do. And with respect to Iraq, we had multiple U.N. resolutions that put ultimatums on Iraq that Iraq never lived up to, while we got a lot of support from countries in the U.N. it was a very broad coalition that helped."


Santorum did give President Obama some rare praise regarding his handling of the situation in Afghanistan, but not before qualifying it. " I'm not convinced that the strategy we have in place is ultimately going to be the right one, but I give the President credit for at least trying to be successful. Although he didn't articulate a mission for success, he articulated a mission for a time line to get out, which to me is a real problem."

  • Rick Santorum

Of the nine candidates who will be participating in the next GOP presidential debate next week in California, less than a handful have a serious shot at the 2012 nomination.

But one of the best parts of the early going of a presidential campaign is having a large variety of choices for the public to review and assess. And the fact is, at this time four years ago, the ultimate nominee, John McCain, was being publicly written off.

But when you did lose by 18 percentage points in your last election, as Rick Santorum did in 2006 against Democrat Bob Casey for Senate in Pennsylvania, it does take some monumental - well, chutzpah, if nothing else. And that's the question we popped to him Saturday night at a party observing the one year countdown to the Republican National Convention taking place in Tampa.

"I guess Abraham Lincoln should have never run for President," the former Senator replied icily, "Because he lost almost every election he ran. Lotta chutzpah to go and run for President, wasn't it?...Good thing he did, wasn't it?"

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