Santorum Hits Health Care, Religious Freedom on Campaign Stop

GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum speaks at Belmont University. (photo by Stephen Jerkins)

GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum speaks at Belmont University. (photo by Stephen Jerkins)

After losing Michigan and Arizona, Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum took his campaign through what he considers more friendly territory in Tennessee. The former Pennsylvania Senator spoke at Belmont University Wednesday night.

The last minute rally resulted in an arena less than half full. Some in attendance were less than supporters as well, holding campaign signs for Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.

Santorum was booed at times when talking about President Obama’s health care overhaul, but he attempted to confront his critics in the room.

“[boos] It’s interesting the people are so willing to give up freedom in exchange for dependency.”

Santorum talked about religious freedom and health care, promising again to repeal what he calls “Obamacare.” He danced around recent controversy over contraception.

“Things are going to have to be in your insurance policy. Even if you have a religious objection to them, we’re going to force you to violate your conscience.”

Santorum received applause for saying that rights are “God-given” and not from the government.

Santorum didn’t shy away from controversial themes. His stump speech revisited statements about the gap between rich and poor.

“Look here in Nashville. There is great income inequality. Why? Because there are amazing talents in this town that soar and do great things and they are richly rewarded for it. And there are those that may work just as hard, but don’t succeed for one reason or another.”

Rally attendee Pam Chaffin of White House says she appreciates how Santorum speaks his mind, especially on social issues such as abortion.

“You have to admire someone, because it’s not politically correct, what he says sometimes, but it is right.”

Santorum’s message is resonating in Tennessee. The most recent polling shows him with a double-digit lead over Romney heading into Super Tuesday.

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