Rick Santorum Declares Victory for Values Voters

BY Lucas Grindley

April 13 2012 11:04 AM ET

Rick Santorum may have lost the presidential primary, but he declared victory Thursday for "values voters."

He joined Tony Perkins of the antigay Family Research Council on the evangelical leader's Thursday radio program for his first interview after exiting the race.

"If there was one thing to be said about this campaign, that the idea that values voters don’t matter is, I think that’s been dispelled," Santorum said. "In spite of all of the odds of this campaign facing, values voters stuck with us and stuck by us and provided the energy, the enthusiasm, and even the resources."

It's true that Mitt Romney lost in any state where exit polls showed that born-again or evangelical voters were the majority. And Santorum often took advantage. Perkins congratulated him for speaking to their issues.

"In some way this re-instills some sense of hope in the system," Perkins said, "that here’s somebody who really believes what we believe, connects with the values that we hold, and he’s got a chance to go this far, and came very close to actually carrying it off."

Santorum won 11 states without ever shying away from his staunchly antigay record. He called for the marriages of same-sex couples to be annulled, he advocated reinstatement of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, said gay parents would be worse for children than a convict, and sought a ban on same-sex couples adopting children. And Santorum told Perkins that he will be out campaigning for candidates who believe what he does — though he never mentioned Romney.

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"That’s why I’m going to spend a lot of my time between now and November I’m going to be out there working with candidates all over this country and promoting the values that I promoted during the course of this campaign, and making sure that they are included in the national debate," he said. "I think they’re important not just because they are critical to the future of our country, but I do believe they are winning issues."

Santorum said his campaign had to end because "after Wisconsin we basically raised almost no money." And he offered some insight into the power of social issues, he says, to attract independents and Democrats.

"They are issues that bring voters who may not necessarily be with us on some issues together and get them enthusiastic about our candidates," he said. "Let me assure you we will not, we’re not going to go quietly."

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