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Rick Santorum Explains Why Ronald Reagan Would Be ‘Appalled’ By Today’s GOP

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"Rick Santorum Explains Why Ronald Reagan Would Be ‘Appalled’ By Today’s GOP"

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Rick Santorum Faith and Freedom

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Rick Santorum appeared to make the case for greater government involvement during a speech at the Faith & Freedom Coalition on Friday, adopting a populist message at odds with Republican rhetoric.

The former Pennsylvania senator, who is exploring a 2016 presidential bid, quoted President Ronald Reagan to make the case for a more robust government that can provide assistance to lower and middle income Americans. He argued that the Republican would “be appalled today” by GOP lawmakers who tailor their policy prescriptions to conservative orthodoxy rather than the economic problems at hand.

“One of [Reagan's] famous quotes was, ‘government isn’t the answer, government is the problem.’ But here is what he said in the beginning of that quote, ‘in this current crisis,’” Santorum declared. “Ladies and gentlemen, we have a different crisis in America, we have a crisis of people in the middle of America feeling disconnected to this country and the opportunity they can provide.”

Santorum, who just published a book focused on economic populism, called on the GOP to adopt an agenda “that speaks across the economic spectrum” and become “the party of the worker, not just the party of business.” That agenda includes a greater focus on American-made manufacturing, vocational education, and building “the infrastructure of America.”

“Republicans, it’s okay for people to just work from 9 to 5 and have the opportunity to raise a family on the wages that you make,” he added, reiterating that he is open to raising the federal minimum wage.

Santorum’s effort to brand himself as a populist ahead of a possible second presidential bid is at odds with his past statements and economic proposals. In 2011, Santorum actually endorsed income inequality. “They talk about income inequality. I’m for income inequality,” he said in Iowa. “I think some people should make more than other people, because some people work harder and have better ideas and take more risk, and they should be rewarded for it. I have no problem with income inequality.” Santorum’s 2012 economic plan would have also widened the growing gap between the richest Americans and everybody else.

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