Santorum enters White House race warning of Obama

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

SOMERSET, Pa. -- Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, a blunt talker who is popular among social conservatives, plunged into the 2012 Republican presidential sweepstakes Monday, saying he wants to protect American freedoms under threat from President Barack Obama.

Once the No. 3 Republican in the ranks of the Senate GOP leadership, Santorum charged that Obama has worked to undermine Americans' liberties and has imposed a national health care plan that saps individual choice. He accused Obama of spending billions of dollars that will add to the debt of future generations and said the president lacks faith in the nation's potential.

"I'm ready to lead. I'm ready to do what has to be done for the next generation, with the courage to fight for freedom, with the courage to fight for America," Santorum said, speaking the sun-splashed steps of a county courthouse in western Pennsylvania. "That's why I'm announcing today that I'm running for president of the United States of America."

Santorum, who enjoys strong support from the anti-abortion rights bloc in the Republican Party, nodded to the social conservatives who have huge sway in early nominating states of Iowa and South Carolina. He also pitched himself to tea party-style activists who have yet to jell around a single candidate.

"The principal purpose of America was to make sure each and every person was free. Ladies and gentlemen, that is at stake now," Santorum said, pointing to a Democratic-pushed health care law that conservatives loathe.

He also said that Democratic spending has put the country on a dangerous path, and Santorum blamed Obama for an economy that collapsed in 2008 before he won election.

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