“The most important issue in this election is fundamentally freedom and the role of government in people’s lives,” said Senator Rick Santorum, a Republican Presidential Candidate. As part of the Colorado Energy Summit, Senator Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich both made campaign stops at Mines the day before the Colorado Caucus.
While on campus, both candidates addressed energy, the environment, and the economy, along with several other campaign issues.
Explaining what his energy policy would be as president, Gingrich said, “Our goal is to become so independent of the Middle East we don’t care what they do. I want to ensure that no American President ever again bows to a Saudi King.” Gingrich then said this nation needs to, “Close the EPA and [replace] it with the Energy Solutions Agency with brand new people and common sense rules. (They) should have to take into consideration economics when making decisions.”
Gingrich also spoke on how he would bring about change, “On the very first day [in office], I will sign an executive order ordering construction of the Key Stone pipeline so that Canada can have an American energy partner… [the] reason North Dakota has 3.5% unemployment is because their oil was on private land. I am dedicated to opening federal land. The Chuckchi sea basin is estimated to have more oil than the gulf of Mexico.”
Santorum also spoke on producing more oil in Alaska, “I believe ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Reserve) must be opened up. The fact is the existing oil reserves are depleting. We may lose the Alaska pipeline because of depleting sources. We were put on this earth as creatures of God to steward it wisely but for our own benefit, not the earth’s. You may consider this a course of faith but I consider it as a course of reason.”
He continued to speak about his experience with the environment due to the steel Industry in Pennsylvania. Santorum said, “We know dirty air, we know problems. The issue is not the EPA, the question is what happens afterwards.”
During his speech, Gingrich also addressed specific environmental issues. “I strongly support saving endangered species. I also strongly support commons sense. There are lots of ways to solve [environmental] problems that don’t involve institutional stupidity.”
Gingrich, when asked about if he believes humans are causing climate change, said, “I believe we don’t know. The planet has changed its temperature a number of times. I’m happy to take prudent measures that are relatively inexpensive. I have always opposed cap and trade. The ad I did with Pelosi was the single dumbest thing I’ve done in the past five years.”
Santorum, when asked a similar question, said, “[It’s] absurd on its face. We had politicians who bought into global warming, and who bought into cap and trade.”
Santorum then transitioned into talking about the economy, “The government is there to create a playing field for businesses to thrive that is safe and creates equal opportunity.” When he was asked about how long it would take to eliminate the annual federal deficit he responded with, “Five years.” Commenting on how long it would then take to eliminate the total federal debt he said, “Not in my term, I don’t think you can eliminate a $16 or $17 trillion debt during an eight year term.” He later clarified the $16 or $17 trillion in debt would be from when he took office.
Gingrich also clarified his recent comments about creating a colony on the moon by 2020. “When Kennedy said we’d get to the moon in this decade, we had never had anyone in space. I did not propose spending a lot of money. We should take the current budget and respend it, creating an environment that expands it. The technology payout of getting into space created millions of new jobs. People should be furious that all the bills we have spent on NASA has been bureaucratically wasted.”
Santorum on the other hand spoke about education. “One of the principle problems in education is it is run by the federal government and state government. They’re not really public schools, they’re government schools. As a result, we have an education system that is not oriented to you. Whose responsibility is it to educate children? Parents,” said Santorum. “One third of all children in America won’t graduate high school. If you drop out, you have a 70% chance of being in poverty. We have not, as a society, made a commitment to you. We have made a commitment to the system. I made a mistake in voting for No Child Left Behind.”
Currently, the race for the Republican nomination is down to four candidates, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, and Ron Paul. In the results of the Colorado Caucus held on February 7, Santorum won with 40% of the vote, while Romney took in 35%, Newt Gingrich 13%, and Ron Paul 12%.
According to The New York Times, Mitt Romney currently has 94 delegates, Rick Santorum has 74, Newt Gingrich has 29 delegates, and Ron Paul has 8 delegates. A total of 1,144 delegates are needed to win the nomination. The next round of primaries will be held on February 28, with Arizona and Michigan voting, followed by the Washington primary on March 1. On March 6, commonly referred to as super Tuesday, 11 states will hold their primaries or caucuses. In the week from February 28 to March 6, a total of 568 delegates will be decided.
Speaker Gingrich commented on the election cycle, Rick Santorum, and front runner Mitt Romney, “Between [Gingrich and Santorum], we are actually in the process of stopping the front runner.”