ENG: Richard John "Rick" Santorum (born May 10, 1958) is an American Republican Party politician. He was a lawyer before becoming the Representative for suburban Pittsburgh in 1991 and Senator for Pennsylvania from 1995, before losing his seat in 2006 and returning to law, public policy and the media. He is a candidate in the 2012 Republican Party presidential primaries.
Santorum holds socially conservative positions, including opposition to same-sex marriage. On fiscal issues, his record is more mixed; in Congress, Santorum used earmarks and supported big government programs in education and transportation, but had a leading role in enacting welfare reform, and voted for tax cuts, a balanced budget amendment, and cuts in entitlement spending. As a presidential candidate, he has supported fiscal restraint and a ban on earmarks, and has expressed hawkish views in regards to Iran.
He formally announced his candidacy for U.S. president in June 2011.
After running in the bottom tier of candidates for several months, he surged in the week before the January 2012 Iowa caucuses and won them narrowly. Santorum's presidential hopes received another boost when he surprisingly swept all three votes held on February 7, 2012, in Minnesota, Missouri, and Colorado.
Early life, education, and legal career
Born to parents Aldo (1923-2011) and Catherine Santorum (née Dughi, 1918-) in Winchester, Virginia, Santorum was raised in Berkeley County, West Virginia and Butler County, Pennsylvania. His father was an Italian immigrant, originally from Riva del Garda, Italy; his mother is of half-Italian and half-Irish descent.
During his youth, Santorum's parents worked at the Veterans Administration (VA) Hospitals with the family living on the VA hospital grounds. His father, a veteran of World War II, was a clinical psychologist; his mother an administrative nurse. While living in Butler, Santorum attended the public schools, earning the nickname "Rooster" for his cowlick and his dogged determination.
Santorum graduated from Carmel High School in Mundelein, Illinois, in 1976, where his father transferred within the VA hospital system.
Santorum returned to Pennsylvania for college, earning a B.A. in political science from Pennsylvania State University in 1980 and an M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1981. In 1986, Santorum received a Juris Doctorate degree from the Dickinson School of Law, was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar, and began practicing in Pittsburgh at the law firm Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, now known as K&L Gates. Representing the World Wrestling Federation while with K&L, Santorum argued that professional wrestling should be exempt from federal anabolic steroid regulations because it was entertainment instead of an actual sport.
Santorum met his future wife, Karen Garver, while he was recruiting summer interns for Kirkpatrick & Lockhart and Garver was a law student at the University of Pittsburgh. Santorum left private practice after being elected to the House of Representatives in 1990.
Career as lawyer, political consultant, and commentator
In January 2007 Santorum joined the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a D.C.-based conservative think tank. In 2010, he was paid $217,000 by the center for his work as a senior fellow.
In February 2007 Santorum signed a deal to become a contributor on the Fox News Channel, offering commentary on politics and public policy.
In March 2007 Santorum joined Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC, where he primarily practiced law in the firm's Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. offices, providing business and strategic counseling services to the firm's clients.
In 2007, Santorum joined the Board of Directors of Universal Health Services, a hospital management company based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Between 2007 and 2010, he received $341,000 in compensation from the company.
Santorum writes an Op/Ed piece titled "The Elephant in the Room" for the Commentary Page of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
In 2010 he was paid $23,000 by the newspaper for his work as a freelance columnist.
Santorum earned $1.3 million in 2010 and the first half of 2011. The largest portion of his employment earnings — $332,000 — came from his work as a consultant for groups advocating and lobbying for industry interests, such as a Pennsylvania natural gas firm, Consol Energy, and lobby firm American Continental Group. Santorum also earned $395,414 in corporate director's fees and stock options.
2008 presidential election
Before failing to win re-election in 2006, Santorum had frequently been mentioned as a possible 2008 presidential candidate. Such speculation faded when, during the course of the campaign and in light of unimpressive poll numbers, he declared that, if re-elected, he would serve a full term. After he lost, Santorum once again ruled out a presidential run.
On February 1, 2008, Santorum said he would vote for Mitt Romney in the 2008 Presidential Republican primary race, stating: "If you're a Republican, if you're a Republican in the broadest sense, there is only one place to go right now and that's Mitt Romney." He has criticized John McCain, questioning his pro-life voting record and whether Sen.
McCain holds true conservative values. In September 2008, Santorum expressed support for McCain, citing Sarah Palin as a step in the right direction: "Knowing McCain, he's choosing someone in whom he sees a lot of himself...He tries to find people who have a similar head as he does, and if he sees him in [Palin]...that gives me a better feel for him and a little more confidence in him." In 2011 he said McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner of war, did not understand how the "enhanced interrogation" process works.
Santorum was mentioned as a candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania in 2010. At one point, he was said to have "quietly but efficiently put his fingerprints on a wide-array of conservative causes in the state." However, Santorum declined to seek the gubernatorial nomination and instead endorsed eventual winner Tom Corbett.
2012 presidential campaign
In the fall of 2009, Santorum gave a speech at the University of Dubuque on the economy which fueled speculation that he would run for president in 2012. Santorum later recalled, "It got a lot of buzz on the Internet, so I thought, 'Wow, maybe there's some interest'". He decided to campaign after multiple conversations with his wife, who was not enthusiastic at first.
On September 11, 2009, Santorum spoke to Catholic leaders in Orlando, Florida saying that the 2012 presidential elections were going to be "a real opportunity for success." He then scheduled various appearances in Iowa with political non-profit organizations.
On January 15, 2010, Santorum sent an email and letter to supporters of his political action committee, saying, "I'm convinced that conservatives need a candidate who will not only stand up for our views, but who can articulate a conservative vision for our country's future". He continued, "And right now, I just don't see anyone stepping up to the plate. I have no great burning desire to be president, but I have a burning desire to have a different president of the United States". He formed a presidential exploratory committee on April 13, 2011. Santorum has also referred to his grandfather's historical encounter with Italian fascism as an inspiration for his 2012 presidential campaign.
He formally announced his run for the Republican presidential nomination on ABC's Good Morning America on June 6, 2011, saying he's "in it to win." He initially lagged behind in the polls, but gained as other conservative candidates slumped. By the weekend before the Iowa caucuses, polls showed him in the top three, along with Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. The Des Moines Register also noted that the momentum was with Santorum. In the closest finish in the history of the Iowa caucuses, the count on the night put Romney as winner by a margin of eight votes but the final result announced two weeks later showed that Santorum had won by 34 votes. Santorum later focused on the states holding votes on February 7, a strategy that paid off as the former Pennsylvania Senator won all three
Santorum and his wife, Karen, have seven living children. One of their children has been diagnosed with Edwards syndrome, a serious genetic disorder.
In 1996, the Santorum's son Gabriel was born prematurely and died two hours later. Karen Santorum wrote that she and Rick brought the deceased infant home from the hospital and introduced him to their children as "your brother Gabriel", before having the infant buried. The handling of their infant son's death attracted criticism in January 2012 following Santorum's second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses. However, mental health experts interviewed by ABC News said what the Santorums did was encouraged at the time, and while their response is no longer recommended, it did help in the family's grieving process. Washington Post columnist Charles Lane defended "the right of the Santorums and all families to grieve an infant’s death in accordance with their personal needs and beliefs" and wrote that he personally regretted not showing the body of his stillborn baby to his then-six year old son.
Santorum traveled in 2002 to Rome to speak at a centenary celebration of the birth of Saint Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei. In an interview with the National Catholic Reporter while in Rome, Santorum said that the distinction between private religious conviction and public responsibility, espoused by President John F. Kennedy, had caused "great harm in America."
All of us have heard people say, 'I privately am against abortion, homosexual marriage, stem cell research, cloning. But who am I to decide that it's not right for somebody else?' It sounds good, but it is the corruption of freedom of conscience.
He and his wife were invested as Knight and Dame of Magistral Grace of the Knights of Malta in a ceremony at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York on November 12, 2004.
Santorum earned $1.3 million between January 2010 and August 2011, including $217,385 in income from the Ethics and Public Policy Center, $142,500 from Consol Energy, and $395,414 in director fees and stock options from Universal Health Services.