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Santorum accuses Obama, liberals of advocating for abortion

TAMPA, FLa. -- Rick Santorum on Tuesday accused President Obama and liberals of advocating for abortions, an attack aimed at discrediting the notion that the Democratic Party is more inclusive than Republicans.

"I love how the left and this president talk about inclusion as they advocate the discarding and destruction of over one million children every year," Santorum said. "Some inclusion."

The former Republican presidential candidate spoke here at the "Treasure Life" event sponsored by the Republican National coalition for life and Family Research Council. His remarks came just days after Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin's controversial statement that women are unlikely to become pregnant from rape and referred to "legitimate rape." It's also just hours before Santorum will take the stage at the Republican National Convention, where he is expected to deliver a speech centered on work and welfare reform.

In an appearance on CBS earlier today, Santorum delivered much milder words than many of his Republican colleagues who have weighed in on Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin's controversial statement the women are unlikely to become pregnant from rape. He called Akin a "good man" who made a "ridiculous statement."

At the "Treasure Life" luncheon, Santorum received an award for his work as an anti-abortion rights advocate, as did former presidential hopefuls Rep. Michele Bachmann and Gov. Rick Perry

This was not the first time Santorum has accused the president of advocating for abortions. While campaigning in Ohio in February, the former Pennsylvania senator accused Obama of requiring free prenatal testing in the Affordable Care Act because it would detect if children were disabled, encourage more abortions and save money. 

"One of the things that you don't know about ObamaCare in one of the mandates is they require free prenatal testing," he said. "Why? Because free prenatal testing ends up in more abortions and, therefore, less care that has to be done, because we cull the ranks of the disabled in our society. That too is part of ObamaCare -- another hidden message as to what president Obama thinks of those who are less able than the elites who want to govern our country."

Santorum was known for his fiery rhetoric on the campaign. His strongest advocates were those in the Republican Party who place the heaviest emphasis on social issues. And though he was presumptive nominee Mitt Romney's biggest critic during the primary, he will defend the former Massachusetts governor when he takes the stage tonight.

"We can walk out of Tampa proudly with a platform and a nominee that stands for life," he told the crowd this afternoon.

Not all who spoke used such harsh words. Perry ended his speech with a plea for compassion for the women who decide to undergo an abortion.

"You know, we talk a lot about protecting unborn children, and we should," he said. "But we also need to recognize that there are women who ache because of the decision that they made to terminate the pregnancy. They live with those emotional scars.... Our message to these women that feel this pain from abortion, is not that we judge you, but we love you. And in you, that your heart aches, the pro-life movement looks upon you with open hearts. Our No. 1 imperative is to protect innocent lives."