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Santorum on Obama: 'We need a new commander in chief'

 

MOBILE, AL -- Standing in front of a retired fighter jet, Rick Santorum on Friday called for voters to make a change in commander in chief and argued that President Obama has not stood up for American troops or for its ally Israel.

Inside the USS Alabama Pavilion, Santorum accused President Obama of abandoning Israel by joining with five other countries offering to resume negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.

"Yet in the face of President Netanyahu (sic) coming here asking him, imploring the American people to stand by her at her side, the very next day after...the president announced they would start talks with the Iranian government," said Santorum.  "'We got your back,’ [President Obama] said the day when he spoke to AIPAC. And then two weeks later turns his back on Israel again and says well we will negotiate without precondition. This is weakness in the face of hostility."

Santorum has made his hardline stance against Iran a key part of his pitch to Republican voters. He was the only Republican presidential candidate to address AIPAC in person, and he has called for ultimatums for Iran to open up the facilities where nuclear weapons may be developed.

Along with failing to stand up to the potential of a nuclear Iran, the former Pennsylvania senator also accused the president of not standing up for the troops, making reference to a recent incident where a U.S. troop inadvertently burned copied of the Quran.

"American military does something that may offend the sensibilities of people whose sensibilities are easily offended and yet doesn’t stand up for our men and women in uniform as they are fragged, as they are attacked by mobs in Afghanistan," Santorum said. "Ladies and gentlemen, we need a new commander in chief in America."

Santorum spoke to fewer than 100 supporters in an event that organizers say was put together in less than 24 hours.  The GOP candidate did not so much as mention his Republican rivals during the rally.  

Throughout Mississippi and Alabama over the past two days, Santorum has called on voters to deliver the blow that will knock Newt Gingrich out of the race.  A Gingrich spokesman called the southern states must wins for the former Speaker to remain a viable candidate.

Santorum aides have asserted that Gingrich's persistence in the race has split conservative voters and cost Santorum wins in Michigan and Ohio.

Campaigning in an area still feeling the effects of the 2010 BP oil spill, Santorum remained steadfast in his support of offshore drilling. "It is a better option than receiving oil from places in the world that are going to turn around and then use it to attack us," he told reporters after the event.

But at this stop, Santorum abandoned any talk of the social issues that have come to define his candidacy.  Asked why, in the deep South, where social issues are especially important to voters, he shied away from the issues, Santorum said: "Those who follow me a lot know I talk about national security and energy all the time, and it’s an area really of strength for me and not something most people know so we are going to talk about it more."