Rick Santorum Questions President Obama’s Religious Values

Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum courted conservative voters in the U.S. Midwest on Saturday with wide-ranging attacks on President Barack Obama and leadership opponent Mitt Romney.

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum challenged President Barack Obama's Christian beliefs on Saturday, saying White House policies were motivated by a "different theology." Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Lashing out on two fronts, Rick Santorum on Saturday questioned President Obama’s Christian values and attacked GOP rival Mitt Romney’s Olympics leadership as he courted Tea Party activists and evangelical voters in Ohio, “ground zero” in the 2012 nomination fight, says San Francisco Chronicle.

A devout Roman Catholic who has risen to the top of Republican polls in recent days, Santorum said the Obama administration had failed to prevent gas prices rising and was using “political science” in the debate about climate change.

Obama’s agenda is “not about you. It’s not about your quality of life. It’s not about your jobs. It’s about some phoney ideal, some phoney theology — not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology,” the former Pennsylvania senator told a Tea Party gathering in Columbus, Ohio, according to CBC.

“In the Christian church there are a lot of different stripes of Christianity,” he said. “If the president says he’s a Christian, he’s a Christian.”

But Santorum did not back down from the assertion that Obama’s values run against those of Christianity, reports The Huff Post.

“He is imposing his values on the Christian church. He can categorize those values anyway he wants. I’m not going to,” Santorum told reporters.

In Ohio, a Super Tuesday prize, Santorum played to friendly crowds. Trailing Romney in money and campaign resources, he is depending on the Tea Party movement and religious groups to deliver a victory March 6 in the contest.

An Obama campaign spokesman called Santorum’s comment “the latest low in a Republican primary campaign that has been fuelled by distortions, ugliness, and searing pessimism and negativity.”

He said it was “a stark contrast with the president who is focused everyday on creating jobs and restoring economic security for the middle class.”

The campaign’s response signaled a new respect for Santorum. Until this week, the Obama campaign appeared exclusively focused on Mitt Romney. Republicans are waging a state-by-state contest to pick a candidate to challenge Obama in November’s election.

Even as he criticized Obama, Santorum also went after one of Romney’s most promoted achievements – his leadership at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Santorum said Saturday it’s not something his opponent should be proud of.

“One of Mitt Romney’s greatest accomplishments — one of the things he talks about most — is how he heroically showed up on the scene and bailed out and resolved the problems of the Salt Lake City Olympic Games,” Santorum said Saturday.

“He heroically bailed out the Salt Lake City Olympic Games by heroically going to Congress and asking them for tens of millions of dollars to bail out the Salt Lake Games — in an earmark, in an earmark for the Salt Lake Olympic Games,” he said.

“One of his strongest supporters, John McCain called it potentially the worst boondoggle in earmark history. And now Governor Romney is suggesting, ‘Oh, Rick Santorum earmarked,’ as he requested almost half a billion dollars of earmarks as governor of Massachusetts to his federal congressmen and senators. Does the word hypocrisy come to mind?” Santorum said.

Romney was in Salt Lake City on Saturday night to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Games, and his campaign was quick to point out that Santorum voted for those earmarks, among many others, when he was a senator.

In a statement, the Romney campaign said Santorum was in a weak position to challenge its candidate on big spending.

“Sometimes when you shoot from the hip, you end up shooting yourself in the foot,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said.

“There is a pretty wide gulf between seeking money for post-9/11 security at the Olympics and seeking earmarks for polar bear exhibits at the Pittsburgh Zoo. Mitt Romney wants to ban earmarks. Senator Santorum wants more ‘Bridges to Nowhere.”‘

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