PITTSBURGH — Second-time presidential candidate Rick Santorum announced his campaign for the U.S. presidency on Wednesday, standing behind his goals to shrink the government, heal the middle class and focus on social issues, while honing in on his image as a “blue-collar conservative.”
“I am proud to stand here among you and for you, the American workers who have sacrificed so much, to announce that I am running for president of the United States,” Santorum stated May 27 in his home state of Pennsylvania.
He spoke about family values, religious liberty and the dignity of human life in his speech, too. “Every life matters,” he declared, shortly after introducing his youngest daughter, Bella, to the crowd.
Santorum will try to appeal to Catholic voters in the 2016 race, although he is among two other Republican contenders with a Catholic affiliation: Jeb Bush, a convert from Episcopalianism, and Marco Rubio.
Santorum's 2012 campaign for president bolstered his transparency on faith, revealing his belief that God and the importance of religion are pivotal in American democracy. The former U.S. senator has made it clear over the years that he is devoted to his faith and that the Church has helped shape some of his political stances.
“I am proud of being Catholic. I'm proud of the teachings of the Church,” Santorum told CNA in 2011, upholding the belief that faith and reason go hand in hand.
“When the reason is right and the faith is true, they end up in the same place,” Santorum continued.
The New York Times called Santorum the “boldest candidate in the race” because of his stance opposing abortion and same-sex “marriage,” making him stand apart from what could be a dozen Republican runners.
During his two terms as a U.S. senator, Santorum worked resolutely to ban partial-birth abortion and continues to oppose the practice. He also told CNA, “Faith teaches very clearly that life is life at the moment of conception.”
Santorum also defended religious-based organizations and helped them receive more assistance during his time as a senator in the 1996 welfare overhaul. He has also spoken out against homosexual acts and supports marriage between one man and one woman, publicly supporting the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996.
Although Santorum admitted on NBC earlier in the year that he had spoken rashly about some sensitive issues during his 2012 campaign, he is still resolved to speak openly about the importance of family and traditional values.
The former senator, age 57, joins an already crowded race, but his history of winning 11 states against Mitt Romney in the 2012 Republican primaries could prove helpful among the continuously brimming bids.
Although recent polls place him 10th among his fellow Republicans, Santorum will work to make his way towards the early debates in August, pushing his themes of restoring traditional American values and defense against the country's enemies.
Santorum spoke boldly this week about the impending threat of radical Islam, saying he has been dubbed as an enemy by the Islamic State in one of its English-language magazines. Nevertheless, Santorum believes America should be wary of the brewing storm that extremist Islam may pose.
Other candidates for the Republican nomination include former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Dr. Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon.