CONCORD MONITOR: At Politics & Eggs, Rick Santorum pushes for manufacturing, marriage
As originally appearing in Concord Monitor

BY MEGAN DOYLE

In the last two weeks, big names in both political parties set new records for the crowd at Politics & Eggs at Saint Anselm College.

Rick Santorum was not one of them.

The former senator from Pennsylvania and Republican presidential candidate drew a modest crowd of fewer than 100 people to the New Hampshire Institute of Politics on Thursday morning – far fewer than the 400-plus who came out to see Democrat Hillary Clinton two weeks ago or the 600 who gathered for Republican Donald Trump on Wednesday.

Santorum is also polling at or below 1 percent. Even in Iowa, which he won in 2012 and where he has focused his 2016 campaign, Santorum is in the back of the GOP pack.

But he came to Manchester to tout his social and economic policies just the same. His ideas followed two main thrusts – creating more manufacturing jobs, and fighting against “the breakdown of the nuclear family in America.”

He encouraged more vocational programs in schools, so young students can go into the workforce before, or instead of, going to college.

“Don’t get stuck in, ‘I need to have $200,000 of loans that I have to pay back the rest of my life to go to college,’ ” Santorum said. “Go to work.”

Santorum didn’t even mention Democratic candidates Clinton or former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, but he took several shots at Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on college affordability and Social Security.

“Bernie Sanders is going to come in here and talk about how we’re going to provide free everything for everybody to go to school everywhere,” Santorum said.

He also bemoaned the number of children born out of wedlock and the decrease in marriage rates across the country. He argued that trend disproportionately affects young men, and he advocated for reforming entitlement programs in a way that would encourage fathers to be more involved in their families. He suggested the welfare system doesn’t encourage women to get married or fathers to take responsibility.

“You want to talk about the real war on women?” Santorum said. “Look at what the government is doing to women, particularly single women who are having children. That’s the real war. It’s alienating and separating families.”

When asked about substance abuse, Santorum said he would invest in more options for treatment. He also circled back to his ideas about family; while Santorum acknowledged drug abuse affects many different people, he said children in unstable homes are more likely to pick up those habits.

“You see the breakup of family, and you see drug abuse in the family,” Santorum said. “That’s a much more likely scenario for children themselves to be involved in that. I’d go back to fighting for the future of our families, fighting for more stable and healthy homes.”

David Cuzzi, a PR strategist and lobbyist for Velcro USA, was among the attendees with two representatives from the company. Neither he nor Velcro USA is endorsing a candidate, he said, but Cuzzi asked Santorum about his plan to reduce the cost of reliable energy. To grow manufacturing jobs like Santorum suggested, Cuzzi said bringing energy costs down will be a key factor for the New England market.

“They’re getting hammered on the volatility of natural gas costs,” Cuzzi said later of his client.

Velcro USA is headquartered in New Hampshire and employs more than 700 people in the state.

“The goal is to remain competitive here,” Cuzzi said.

AARP volunteer Bob Denz is a regular at Politics & Eggs, where he said he has met every candidate. An undecided independent, Denz, 91, said he asks them all about Social Security – and then brings their answers back to both AARP members and young voters like his granddaughter.

Santorum told Denz he wants to raise the eligibility age for Social Security, and then tie it to life expectancy so the two increase together. While Denz said Santorum is right about the need to change the system somehow, he wanted a more thorough explanation.

“We have to do a few things, a little more than tinker with it,” Denz said. “I want more details.”

(Megan Doyle can be reached at 369-3321, mdoyle@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @megan_e_doyle.)

img_side
mask_sidebar
Recently from the Blog

New Member ABBYY Provides Language Services to Businesses Worldwide

10/16/2018 | Read Post

Scientific Management Techniques Reports Higher Manufacturing Skill Assessment Scores in 2018

10/16/2018 | Read Post

In the News

NEC to Honor Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., Vertex CEO Dr. Jeffrey Leiden, Veterans’ Advocate Travis Mills, Rep. Niki Tsongas

10/2/2018 | Read Press Release

NEC Releases Report on Economic Impact of REITs

09/20/2018 | Read Press Release