Rick Santorum rallies full house in Tulsa

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This is a preliminary report, mainly so I can get the audio and some photos online. I plan to transcribe additional quotes as I have opportunity.

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Sen. Rick Santorum spoke to a standing-room only crowd of about 1000 people at Grace Church last night, March 4, 2012, focusing attention on his energy and tax plans and the importance of Republicans nominating a candidate who presents voters with a clear choice in November.

The backdrop for the event were big video displays with the slogan, "The courage to fight for American jobs." At the heart of the speech was Santorum's emphasis on promoting job growth by supporting the development of domestic energy resources and a simpler tax system.

Santorum called for throwing out the tax code and replacing it with two rates, 10% and 28%, and retaining only five deductions: children, charities, pensions, healthcare, and housing. "Maybe I'm for a simple tax code for a selfish reason.... Unlike everyone else in the race, I actually do my own taxes."

Corporations would be a simple net profit tax with a single rate of 17.5%, half the current maximum rate. (The US maximum rate will be the highest in the world as of April 1 when Japan is set to cut their rate.) In order to bring manufacturing jobs back to America, Santorum proposes a rate of 0 for manufacturing and processing.

He noted that the complex tax code puts small businesses at a disadvantage to larger rivals, as it's harder for a small business to find the loopholes that big companies use.

On energy, Santorum focused on Obama administration obstruction of energy exploration. He mentioned a visit to a shale oil well-head Tioga, N. D., and the hindrance caused by the lack of a pipeline that could bring that oil more efficiently to market.

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Santorum, accompanied by his wife and three of his children, expressed his appreciation for the warm welcome they've received in Oklahoma. Noting that Gingrich and Romney both have home states with primaries on Super Tuesday, while his home state of Pennsylvania won't be voting, "if I feel like I have any home state up on Super Tuesday, it's here in Oklahoma."

After the speech, Santorum worked the rope line taking pictures with everyone who wanted one. Later, he and his family posed with Jim Bob Duggar and family, here from Arkansas to campaign for Santorum.

Shortly after Santorum began to speak, he was interrupted by a heckler, who, I was told, was an Occupod. (I mistakenly tweeted that the heckler was a Paulbot, which was not the case.) The heckler was shown the door. From my side of the auditorium it was impossible to make out what the heckler was shouting.

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1170 KFAQ morning show host Pat Campbell kicked off the event by explaining his break with usual practice in endorsing Santorum, rather than revealing his choice after the election. (Co-host Eddie Huff has also endorsed Santorum.) Campbell was a new talk show host in Erie, Pa., in 1994, when Santorum ran against an appointed incumbent Democrat to win a seat in the Senate. Campbell said Santorum is the only politician he's ever endorsed.

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Campbell spoke about the mockery being directed by the mainstream media at Santorum's faith, specifically comments he made in a 2008 speech at Ave Maria University:

But the reality is those things that Rick Santorum talked about at Ave Maria -- I believe them, you believe them. When they laugh at Rick Santorum, they're laughing at us. They don't get us. We're flyover country.... If Rick Santorum, his wife Karen, and their children were to move to Tulsa, Oklahoma, tomorrow, they'd fit right in, because he is one of us. He gets it. All of the things that we cherish and hold true and sacred, Rick Santorum holds true and sacred.

Campbell stated that Santorum presents the strongest contrast in the general election to Barack Obama, noted the endorsement Santorum received from Jim Inhofe, and called on the audience to volunteer, explaining the importance of getting Santorum over the 50% mark to win all of Oklahoma's 40 delegates.

In her introduction, Rep. Peterson called Santorum "the real deal... the most authentic conservative that is running today... a sincere, authentic, genuine conservative, and he's been that way for years, and he hasn't changed."

Peterson recalled meeting Ronald Reagan in Tulsa in 1976, when the conventional wisdom said that Ronald Reagan was too conservative to be elected, and Gerald Ford was nominated because he would be electable. Ford went on to lose to Jimmy Carter. "We had to wait four years for a real conservative" to be the Republican nominee in 1980. This time around, Peterson said, "we do not have four years to wait for a real conservative to run for president." She concluded by calling on the audience to "stand to your feet, cheer, shout, and welcome the best choice for president of the United States, Rick Santorum." The audience complied enthusiastically.

AUDIO:

I started recording in the middle of Pat Campbell's introduction -- sorry, forgot to start the recorder before the meeting began. For the sake of completeness, I have my recording of Santorum's speech below, but KFAQ has much better audio at this link. (Unfortunately, they don't have the introductory material.)

20120304_A_Pat_Campbell_Intro.mp3

20120304_B_Pam_Peterson_Intro.mp3

20120304_C_Santorum_Speech.mp3

MORE COVERAGE:

Pat McGuigan reports for Capitol Beat OK on Santorum's visit to the State Capitol earlier in the day.

State Rep. Mike Reynolds, an Oklahoma City Republican, introduced the former Pennsylvania senator at the rally, at one point recalling Santorum's vigor in defending the U.S. against "radical Islam" in an appearance at the University of Oklahoma in Norman several years ago. Santorum remembered, "Mike Reynolds was talking about that event I did in Norman some five or six years ago I think it was. Gosh, here were all sorts of protestors. It was very hostile. I never expected that in Oklahoma."

The Occupods were in OKC, too, but they were harder to budge there:

A group of a dozen demonstrators disrupted the first half of Santorum's speech with a "mic check" -- the prelude to a verbal attack on the candidate. The group tore Santorum signs, screamed at him as he gave his speech, and denounced his views repeatedly. After about 20 minutes, Capitol police met quietly with the demonstrators and encouraged them to leave, which they did.

KOTV News on 6's Emily Baucum has a good video synopsis of Santorum's Tulsa speech. You may be able to spot me snapping some of the pictures you see above. (Hat tip to reader Art Fern.)

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 5, 2012 12:19 PM.

Oklahoma Republican delegate allocation methodology was the previous entry in this blog.

Santorum the right choice for Oklahoma is the next entry in this blog.

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