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By Keith A. Fournier

1/5/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Rick Santorum's opening words were very apropos: Game On!

In one of the closest and most dramatic Caucus votes in US history, Senator Rick Santorum shocked the political establishment  - and captured the Nations attention -  in a stunning come from behind near victory in the Iowa Caucus of 2012. At the end of a very long evening he stepped to the microphone and exclaimed,"Game On".

Rick Santorum's speech after the Iowa victory

Rick Santorum's speech after the Iowa victory

Highlights

By Keith A. Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/5/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Iowa, Iowa Caucus, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Michelle Bachmann, Republican primary, Game On, Keith A. Fournier


AMES,IA (Catholic Online) - In one of the closest and most dramatic Caucus votes in US history, Senator Rick Santorum shocked the political establishment  - and captured the Nations attention -  in a stunning come from behind near victory in the Iowa Caucus of 2012. He lost to Mitt Romney by only 8 votes - but he clearly and decisively won the contest and the admiration of a Nation.

At the end of a very long evening - where the tally separating him from Mitt Romney was simply too close to call - the former Senator from Pennsylvania finally appeared, stepped to the microphone to deliver his speech and exclaimed  "Game On".

Then, he gave an extraordinary, extemporaneous speech, revealing his tremendous gift of communication. He moved the crowd gathered both before him and people gathered before televisions and computers all over the nation.It was an historic evening and marked the beginning of a new chapter in this 2012 Presidential campaign.

He began his remarks by giving thanks. First, he thanked his beloved wife Karen. He quoted CS Lewis, "A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words" and gave her an embrace which left few eyes without tears - in Iowa and throughout America. 

Next, he thanked God for his friendship. His sincere words revealed the source of the strength of this man. With a humble faith, he expressed deep gratitude to God for the daily grace he receives. What was immediately obvious is that this was real and genuine faith which informs his life. 

Finally, he thanked the people of Iowa; comparing them to the hard working people he grew up with in the coal mining and steel mill areas of Pennsylvania. He spoke affectionately of the campaign and thanked so many who had helped his effort.

That comparison between the working people of Iowa and the working people of Pennsylvania served as the backdrop for a speech that one pundit on MSNBC- a man not known for having complimented this candidate over the course of the campaign - properly called a "major league speech."

I expected nothing less. I have the privilege of calling Rick Santorum a friend. He is what much of the  Nation finally saw Tuesday night - a sincere, gifted and good man with a heart filled with compassion and a backbone of steel. He is ready to work hard to serve the Nation he loves - should he be given the chance.

His tribute to his immigrant grandfather whose hands working the coal mines the candidate said, "dug freedom for me"- revealed the values based economic populism which Rick Santorum brings to this campaign.

Rick Santorum is not an "establishment" Republican. Rather, his appeal can cross party lines and has the potential to build alliances reminiscent of the Reagan campaign. He could bring some amazing changes to the current political landscape.

His words Tuesday evening revealed the beating heart behind his campaign - his freedom message.

One commentator noted that the speech might be the first time many in America had really been introduced to Rick Santorum - sort of his debut on the public stage. I smiled broadly, because they finally got to hear - and to meet - the man I know could become one of America's finest Presidents at a critical hour in our National history. 

Rick Santorum touched upon the points which inform his policy positions such as; the dignity of every human life - from the child in the womb to the worker in the manufacturing lines; marriage and the family and society founded upon it; human freedom; unalienable rights are given to us by God; and good governance comes from the bottom up, respecting and promoting human freedom and flourishing.

His delivery was moving - the response of pundits across the networks affirmed that fact - and his message inspiring. He showed a sincerity borne of deep conviction, a rare quality in politicians. Clearly, to anyone listening, this speech was not political sloganeering; this man is the real deal.

His closing tribute to his children and to Bella, the Santorum's three year old special little girl - whom he noted reminds them always of the beauty and dignity of every human life - brought me, and many others I am sure, to tears. Partly, because I know Bella and my life, along with many others, has been touched by her beauty and dignity.

However, also because I felt a deep joy that many people were finally getting to meet this man, his wife and their family. I hope many Americans finally saw them for the national treasure they truly are. I was reaffirmed in my deep conviction that this country needs this man's leadership.

I have written extensively about Rick Santorum. His stunning performance victory in the Iowa Caucus vote certainly made political history. It will be analyzed and parsed for days to come. It has begun already.

Some of the same pundits who said he could never win Iowa are now saying he cannot raise the funds needed to continue on. They will be proven wrong again. Funds follow momentum in politics.

However, Rick Santorum will be too busy to pay much attention to the pundits - as usual.He is a man on a mission. 

He will be off to New Hampshire and then on to South Carolina. This man is a formidable candidate. Governor Mitt Romney, long hailed by the establishment as the "presumptive nominee", clearly has his hands full.

In addition to this come from behind victory of Santorum, the evening brought other major political news concerning the 2012 Republican campaign. Governor Rick Perry, who came in fifth, announced he was returning to Texas to reassess his campaign.

Newt Gingrich, who came in fourth, signaled his intention to fight toe to toe with Mitt Romney. However, he complimented Rick Santorum - congratulating him for his win. This indicates the shift in the dynamic of this race.

What is now obvious to observers is that the Republican primary race has changed. Look for the upcoming New Hampshire debate to be a barn burner.

Rick Santorum's opening words were very apropos: Game On!  

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