- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania on Wednesday launched his second bid for president, vowing to be a warrior for working-class Americans, in part by pursuing an immigration policy that ensures American workers and their wages are protected from annual increases an unskilled foreign labor.

“Working families don’t need another president tied to big government or big money and today is the day we are going to begin to fight back!” Mr. Santorum said at Penn United Technologies, a manufacturing company near his boyhood home in Pennsylvania. “I am proud to stand here among you, and for you, the American workers who have scarified so much, to announce that I am running for president of the United States.”

Mr. Santorum finished as the runner-up to Mitt Romney in the 2012 Republican nomination race and the 57-year-old has since been open about his interest in taking a second crack at The White House.

Surrounded by his family, Mr. Santorum said that no one gave him a chance four years ago and that this go-round he will offer a “bold” conservative vision that starts with abolishing the IRS and replacing the “corrupt” tax code with a “simple, fair, flat tax.”

He vowed to cut government spending and “revoke every executive order and regulation that costs American jobs.” He pledged to fight for a stronger education system, military members and pro-life legislation. He promised to pursue a muscular approach to foreign policy and to protect American workers that have been hurt by the nation’s immigration laws.

“Over the last 20 years, we have brought into this country — legally and illegally — 35 million mostly unskilled workers, and the result? Over that same period of time, workers wages and family incomes have flat-lined,” he said. “Hillary Clinton and big business, they have called for a massive influx in unskilled labor. Business does it because they want to control cost. Hillary does it, well, she just want votes.”


SEE ALSO: Rick Santorum launching second White House run


“Their priorities are profits and power. My priority is you the American worker,” he said.

Political analysts say that it will be a challenge for Mr. Santorum to stand out in the nomination race given the strength of the field and the fact that he will be facing off against a number of fresh faces — including Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

Religious conservatives also will have a variety of other like-minded candidates to chose from, including Mr. Cruz, Mr. Carson and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who won the Iowa caucuses in 2008.

“I think that second time around he is in a much more difficult place given the status of the field,” said Christopher B. Budzisz, political science professor at Loras University in Iowa. “Where he made appeals last time there are multiple other candidates who have sort of a more recent political experience, more high-profile political experience and recent records of accomplishment. Simply put the field is more competitive for the type of candidate he is.”

In 2012, voters turned to Mr. Santorum before the Iowa caucuses as their pick to be the anyone-but-Romney candidate after testing driving a number of his rivals — including Herman Cain, then-Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Texas Gov Rick Perry.

Mr. Santorum won the caucuses and a total of 11 nomination contests, benefiting from strong support from born-again or evangelical Christians, and the financial backing of Foster Friess, who helped bankroll the pro-Santorum “Red, White and Blue Fund” Super PAC.

Mr. Friess is supporting Mr. Santorum once again, and attended his campaign launch.

An immediate challenge facing Mr. Santorum could be making sure he qualifies for the first GOP-sanctioned debate on Aug. 6 that will be hosted by Fox News, which has said it is limiting the number of participants to the top 10 of an average of national polls.

The latest Real Clear Politics Average of polls shows Mr. Santorum running tenth.

“It going to be extremely critical for him that he makes that first debate stage,” Mr. Budzisz said.

Mr. Santorum is scheduled to spend the rest of the week making campaign stops in Iowa and South Carolina this week as part of a “Take America Back Tour.”

Mr. Santorum represented part of the Pittsburgh suburbs in the US House from 1991 to 1995 when he made the jump to the U.S. Senate, where served in Republican leadership until he lost his seat in the 2006 election to Democrat Bob Casey by 18 percentage points.

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