Rick Santorum makes political stops in S.C.

The Associated PressApril 15, 2014 

— Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum said Monday that foreign affairs, including the situation in the Ukraine, will be a key issue for the nation in the run up to the 2016 presidential election.

“We haven't stood by our promises and when we show weakness, bullies take advantage of it,” said Santorum, who finished third in South Carolina's first-in-the-South GOP presidential primary two years ago.

“We are approaching a very, very critical time in national security not only in central Europe but in the Middle East and southern Asia. There are a lot of hot spots and they are getting hotter,” he said. “That may very well be the dominate issue for the next year or two.”

Santorum, of Pennsylvania, spoke with reporters before a GOP luncheon at The Citadel, the state military college where two of his sons are cadets. He said he would visit the state frequently but there would be no decision on whether he will make another run for the White House until next year.

Santorum also touted his book “Blue Collar Conservatives,” which comes out later this month.

“It's a very strong message for Republicans to pay attention to. We have been a little tin-eared when it comes to talking to the vast majority of people out there who aren't business owners - who are job holders and not job creators,” he said.

Another GOP contender, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, comes to South Carolina on Tuesday. He will be on the same campus speaking to a meeting of the Free Enterprise Foundation, a group that works to foster a greater understanding of free enterprise. It will be Cruz' third visit to South Carolina in a year.

Santorum, meanwhile, said he had no plans to get involved in South Carolina's two U.S. Senate primaries.

Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, both Republicans, each face GOP primary opposition in June. Graham is seeking another term while Scott, appointed to the Senate in 2012 when Jim DeMint resigned, is running for the rest of DeMint's unexpired term.

“Clearly there's a lot going on politically and first and foremost is the 2014 campaign. We have to keep our eyes focused on that and get the Senate back and that's a very important think I will be working on,” Santorum said.

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