Rick Santorum touts family values in final pre-caucus appearance

URBANDALE, Iowa — Rick Santorum spent his last campaign stop before the GOP Iowa caucus at the Des Moines Christian School, touting social conservative values and his view that the two-parent family is key to a functional economy.

Speaking to a crowd of a few hundred students and parents at the conservative Christian school — which he was visiting for the second time — Santorum touted abstinence and the traditional family, focusing on culture more than the economy to attack the president.

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“The Obama administration has a set of values,” he said. “I love it when the left and when the president say, ‘Don’t try to impose your values on us, you folks who hold your Bibles in your hand and cling to your guns.’ They have values too. Our values are based on religion, based on life. Their values are based on a religion of self.”

Santorum has surged in Iowa in the last two weeks and is closing in on Mitt Romney and Ron Paul at the front of the pack with just hours to go until the state’s caucus. His support has largely come from the large number of social conservatives in the state — self-identified evangelical Christians have made up approximately 60 percent of past caucus-goers.

The former Pennsylvania senator touted those traditional social conservative values many times in his speech.

“You can’t have a strong economy unless you have strong families,” he said, and accused President Obama of battling government funding for pro-abstinence groups.

“Why wouldn’t the leaders of this country stand up and promote marriage, stop in any way they could the sexual promiscuity that goes on that leads to out-of-wedlock births?” he asked. “Why wouldn’t they educate for those things? Why wouldn’t they promote traditional marriage of a man and a woman instead of trying to break it down?”

After giving a civics lesson to the students on the difference between the House and Senate, Santorum said that the Senate no longer allowed for infinite debate and that “very little got done and Washington remained small.” He then said that because the system had changed it was the responsibility of voters to fight government.

Santorum was introduced by Samona Yentes, the school’s development director and a former lobbyist for Iowa Right to Life, who praised his fight against abortion rights. Before the speech, the Duggar family, Santorum supporters and stars of the reality TV show “19 Kids and Counting,” led the school in singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”