Politics

The Susan B. Anthony List campaigns for Santorum in Michigan

The Susan B. Anthony List, a 365,000-member pro-life political action committee approaching its 20th anniversary, endorsed Rick Santorum for President, and then went the extra mile – literally.  On Thursday, they began a six-day bus tour across Michigan, as well as launching a $150,000 radio advertising campaign across Christian, country, and sports radio stations on Santorum’s behalf.  This is, I believe, the first time the SBA List has endorsed a presidential candidate during a primary. 

The SBA List’s ground effort was dubbed the “Rick Bus.”  (I might have suggested calling it the “Rick Roll.”)  They’re working in concert with several other groups, including the Culture War Victory Fund, Catholic Vote, Campaign for Working Families, and Let Freedom Ring.  Stops include Grand Rapids, Battle Creek, Lansing, Detroit, and Flint.

The radio ad, which you can hear at this link, cites Santorum’s leadership on pro-life issues and religious liberty:

Rick Santorum led the fight in the senate against partial birth abortion… Not because it was easy, but because it was right.

Rick Santorum stood up time and again for the rights of women and unborn children…

Dedicated to protecting our liberties, so no American is forced to pay for an abortion, no doctor is forced to perform one, and no pharmacist is required to distribute abortion inducing drugs.

As the ad goes on to note, Santorum signed the Susan B. Anthony List pro-life pledge, while Mitt Romney did not.  Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul also signed the pledge, as did departed presidential candidates Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, Tim Pawlenty, and Thad McCotter.  The pledge says:

I PLEDGE that I will only support candidates for President who are committed to protecting Life. I demand that any candidate I support commit to these positions: 

FIRST, to nominate to the U.S. federal bench judges who are committed to restraint and applying the original meaning of the Constitution, not legislating from the bench;

SECOND, to select only pro-life appointees for relevant Cabinet and Executive Branch positions, in particular the head of National Institutes of Health, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Health & Human Services;

THIRD, to advance pro-life legislation to permanently end all taxpayer funding of abortion in all domestic and international spending programs, and defund Planned Parenthood and all other contractors and recipients of federal funds with affiliates that perform or fund abortions;

 

FOURTH, advance and sign into law a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion.

The Detroit Free Press related Romney’s reasons for declining to sign the pledge:

In a letter to the National Review last summer, Romney reiterated his pro-life stance and said he wants to see the Supreme Court decision that gives women the right to choose to have an abortion overturned. But he said the group’s “well-meaning pledge is overly broad,” potentially impacting funding for hospitals across the country and limiting a president’s ability “to appoint the most qualified individuals” to government positions. 

The Susan B. Anthony List formerly endorsed Santorum on February 17, and as their efforts on his behalf attest, it was not a tepid endorsement:

“Among the field of strong pro-life candidates in the GOP primary, one stands out as a proven leader in this great human and civil rights cause of our time.  Rick Santorum communicates the vision and has exhibited the strategic and tactical prowess the pro-life movement must have in order to succeed.  Women and children deserve his leadership, grounded as it is in affirming the dignity of every person.

“At this inflection point in the primary process and a tipping point in history on the abortion issue, the Susan B. Anthony List endorses Rick Santorum for the Republican nomination for President,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA List.

“Each one of the candidates in the Republican presidential field have made a commitment to be a pro-life president.  However, none of them have the record of consistent leadership that Rick Santorum has demonstrated.  At this critical moment in the race, our Board of Directors unanimously decided that we must stand with Rick Santorum, the candidate who throughout his career has stood so strongly for Life,” said Jane Abraham, Chairman of the SBA List Board of Directors.

Michigan is a tight race – some recent polls have Romney ahead, others say Santorum, but it’s basically a margin-of-error struggle at this point.  Efforts like this could prove to be crucial.  A Mitchell Research / Rosetta Stone Communications poll of likely Michigan voters, conducted after the recent GOP debate in Arizona, showed that Santorum’s 16-point lead among evangelical Christians had been halved to 8 percent.  A Rasmussen poll covering the same period gave Romney the lead among Protestants and Catholics, while Santorum was well ahead among evangelicals.  The social conservative vote in Michigan appears to be a bit unsettled.  Perhaps it will make a difference when they hear the Susan B. Anthony List settled on Rick Santorum.

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