Santorum Taking On Climate Change, Imported Jobs As He Aims For All 99 Iowa Counties

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Avery Gregurich/Special to IowaWatch

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said during his campaign stop Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015, in Des Moines he will campaign in all 99 Iowa counties.

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum may not believe in climate change, but he plans on speaking out its causes in Iowa nonetheless.

He will be doing it a lot if he keeps his promise of visiting all 99 Iowa counties during the campaign leading to the state’s February 2016 presidential precinct caucuses.

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum speaking Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015, in Des Moines at the Iowa Caucus Consortium.

Avery Gregurich/Special to IowaWatch

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum speaking Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015, in Des Moines at the Iowa Caucus Consortium.

“I’m not necessarily on the same page on the science but I’m going to help climate change more than Barack Obama ever could,” Santorum said during a visit to Des Moines earlier this week, on Tuesday, Sept. 22.

“I’m going to move millions of jobs out of China and India where they have no pollution controls and I’m going to move those jobs back to the United States. The net effect will have more impact on global climate change than what Barack Obama is trying to do in shutting down this economy and shipping jobs to China,” he added.

Santorum spoke Tuesday to about 70 people during the Iowa Caucus Consortium at the Iowa State Historical Building. It was his fourth day of a busy five-day swing through Iowa that included stops in Council Bluffs, Indianola, Ames and Des Moines.

Santorum is trying to gain support that several recent political preference polls by various organizations have shown he lacks. To do so he has touted his plan to visit all 99 Iowa counties and has invoked longtime Iowa Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley’s name in the process.

“I’ve done it twice. Sorry, three times,” he told the Des Moines audience about hitting all of the counties. He was counting his presidential bid in 2012 in the total.

Santorum said that returning manufacturing jobs to the United States would be at the forefront of his presidential agenda and that doing so would aid aiding Iowa’s rural areas directly.

“We don’t locate manufacturing in the loop in Chicago, not in Manhattan,” he said. “The beneficiary is going to be states like Iowa. The small towns of rural America are where we locate manufacturing. I know because I’ve been there.”

TRYING TO GAIN GROUND

Santorum is not dwelling on his consistently low polling numbers when speaking with reporters in Iowa.

He joked in Des Moines about adopting a tortoise as his official campaign mascot and compared a presidential campaign to a cycling race. He also cited Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s departure this week from the GOP presidential nomination race as evidence of the perils of being at the front of the pack.

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said during his campaign stop Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015, in Des Moines he will campaign in all 99 Iowa counties.

Avery Gregurich/Special to IowaWatch

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said during his campaign stop Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015, in Des Moines he will campaign in all 99 Iowa counties.

“There’s a guy that was on the debate stage, and now he’s out of the race,” Santorum said, making a reference to the recent main Republican presidential candidate debates on Fox News and CNN. “Here’s a guy that wasn’t on the debate stage and I’m still here.”

He continued to hammer that theme in all of his Iowa appearances, albeit before relatively small audiences.

“Slow and steady wins the race,” Santorum told about 50 students and Ames residents Tuesday, reminding voters of the last Iowa presidential precinct caucuses during which he and eventual party nominee Mitt Romney scored a virtual tie in the preference poll Republicans take at the caucuses.

“Four years ago I took the approach that I was going to do something different,” he said in Ames. “I don’t like going out and raising money from folks, I don’t like spending a lot of my time doing that. I spend my time doing this, I’ve been to all 99 counties in Iowa and I have done over 150 meetings this year just in Iowa.

Jacob Parks of the Iowa State Daily contributed to this story with reporting from Ames.

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