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Rick Santorum: Obama's Support For Entitlements Shows He Doesn't Believe America Is Exceptional

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Obama, Santorum said, thinks that it's the nation's safety net that helps to define America's greatness. This is an example of Obama missing the point about America's inherent exceptional nature, Santorum said. Social conservatives know that America had it goin' on before there was a social welfare system.

"There's one statement that everyone in this room should remember that the President of the United States says, that sums up how the President looks at America," Santorum said. "He said it about 6 weeks ago."

Santorum was referring to Obama's April 13 speech in response to the House Republican budget proposal, which ends Medicare as we know it and turns Medicaid into a block grant program. This is what Obama said that made Santorum so upset:

Part of this American belief that we are all connected also expresses itself in a conviction that each one of us deserves some basic measure of security. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, hard times or bad luck, a crippling illness or a layoff, may strike any one of us. "There but for the grace of God go I," we say to ourselves, and so we contribute to programs like Medicare and Social Security, which guarantee us health care and a measure of basic income after a lifetime of hard work; unemployment insurance, which protects us against unexpected job loss; and Medicaid, which provides care for millions of seniors in nursing homes, poor children, and those with disabilities. We are a better country because of these commitments. I'll go further - we would not be a great country without those commitments.

Those few sentences show a president who doesn't believe in American exceptionalism, Santorum said.

"He was talking about Medicare, Medicaid, and unemployment insurance, and it was in response to the Ryan budget," Santorum recalled. "And he said this, talking about these three programs: He said 'America is a better country because of these programs. I will go a one step further: America is a great country because of these programs.'"

"Ladies and gentlemen," Santorum said to applause, "America was a great country before 1965."

What's Obama's mistake? In Santorum's eyes he forgot that America's amazingness was written on the parchment of the Declaration of Independence.

"Social conservatives understand that America was a great country because it was founded great," Santorum said. "Our founders, calling upon in the Declaration of Independence, the supreme judge, calling upon divine providence, said what was at the heart of American exceptionalism...'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights.'"

Today's speech is likely Santorum's last major address before he formally announces his presidential intentions. That announcement is scheduled for June 6.

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