Rick Santorum makes appeal to women, new campaign strategy?

February 29, 2012

Presidential candidate Rick Santorum hailed the influence of strong, independent women on Tuesday night, a turnaround from his past statements that critics have called sexist or anti-women.

In a concession speech given just as rival Mitt Romney won the Republican presidential primaries of Arizona and Michigan, Santorum took the chance to tell voters “a little more about who Rick Santorum is” and sang the praises of his 93-year-old grandmother, his wife Karen, a former lawyer who gave up work to raise their family, and their daughter Elizabeth who campaigns for her dad on her own.

“I grew up with a very strong mom, someone who was a professional person who taught me a lot of things about… balancing work and family, and doing it well, and doing it with a big heart and commitment,” he said.

In his excitement, Santorum also mistakenly referred to the “men and women” who signed the Declaration of Independence.

“I’ve been very, very blessed, very blessed with great role models for me, as someone who goes out and tries to do the job I’m doing right now, to balance the rigors of running a campaign and trying to maintain a good and strong family,” he said.

Santorum has seen a surge in support from women since winning nominating contests in Iowa, Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota. But in Michigan, he failed to rally that support from married and unmarried women.

Santorum’s attempt to involve women in his vision for America could be motivated by the fact that he needs to appeal to a broader swathe of women that includes moderates and independents as well as those further to the right.

Women have voted at higher rates than men in all presidential elections since 1980, and the gap between women and men is growing slightly larger with each election, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

Santorum once remarked that “radical feminists” were undermining the traditional home and called contraception dangerous. He recently suggested that women serving in the front lines of battle would compromise military missions because men might get emotional seeing a woman in harm’s way.

Santorum also had a falling out with former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s campaign over an email one of his staffers sent questioning whether or not God wanted a woman to be president.

Watch his speech here from the Washington Post blog.

Correction: An earlier version of this blog post mistakenly referred to “presidential candidate Michele Obama’s campaign.” It has been corrected to read “presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s campaign.”

Photo Credit: John Gress/Reuters (Santorum with his wife Karen and daughter Elizabeth as he addresses supporters in Michigan)

9 comments

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A great spoof regarding Santorum’s position on women’s issues, National Organization for Women Touts Santorum Support With 2012 Election Poster, published on The Goose – http://wp.me/p27mGo-8o

Posted by TheGoose22 | Report as abusive

Santorum trying to appeal to women is like the Klan trying to appeal to blacks. Not likely.

Posted by 4ngry4merican | Report as abusive

“Santorum also had a falling out with former presidential candidate Michele Obama’s campaign over an email one of his staffers sent questioning whether or not God wanted a woman to be president.”

When was Michele Obama running for president? I think Reuters needs some better proofreaders.

Posted by 4ngry4merican | Report as abusive

L.O.L.

Posted by USAPragmatist | Report as abusive

“He recently suggested that women serving in the front lines of battle would compromise military missions because men might get emotional seeing a woman in harm’s way.”

That’s also why we don’t let bunnies drive the tanks.

Posted by SilentBoy741 | Report as abusive

He gives me the creeps…………….!!!

Posted by luvsnaps | Report as abusive

Santorum has nothing to offer women. His patriarchal views are better suited to Puritanical America in the 1600′s.

Posted by breezinthru | Report as abusive

if women do not want to share their men with other women in the their own homes they should stop this mormon attack to our values and beliefs…

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