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Santorum
Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum speaks during an appearance Friday at Thunder Bay Grill in Davenport. (Sam Householder/QUAD-CITY TIMES)

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum said Friday he supports a Republican budget proposal that reforms Medicare and that President Barack Obama has been wrong on every foreign policy decision made during his tenure.

Santorum, who is weighing a possible run for the Republican presidential nomination, made the comments to 25 supporters during a lunch stop at Thunder Bay Grill. The event was one of four stops the former Pennsylvania senator made in Davenport Friday.

He would like to see reform to not just Medicare, but to Social Security and Medicaid as well to help bring spending and the budget deficit under control.

"We better deal with this problem now," Santorum said. "If we don't deal with it responsibly, there are a lot of other countries that would like to see America not on top.

"One way to do that is make a run on our credit. We can act responsibly now - that the Democrats will not do - and be adults and tell the American people what we face."

A spokesman for the Iowa Democratic Party criticized Santorum's stance.

"Paul Ryan's proposal ends Medicare as we know it and jeopardizes the more than half a million Iowans who depend on the program," Iowa Democratic Party communications director Sam Roecker in a statement. "Even those within his own party have been critical of the plan, including Newt Gingrich who called it ‘right-wing social engineering.'

"It's unfortunate that backing the Republican plan to end Medicare has become the new litmus test for Republican primary voters, but Rick Santorum has passed with flying colors."

Roecker was referring to a Republican budget plan whose architect is U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

Santorum also called for a repeal of the Health Care Reform Act, pointing to the number of waivers granted to businesses so they don't have to provide health insurance for their employees.

"Even people who were for it don't like it," he said. "If it was such a great idea, why have their been 1,400 waivers."

During a question-and-answer session, Santorum was asked about U.S. foreign relations and giving aid to Egypt and Brazil. Santorum told the supporters that Obama has failed on every front, from Egypt to Syria, Iran and Honduras. The only success he saw were continuations of President George W. Bush's policies.

"You can't make this up, how wrong he is on national security," Santorum said. "You have a president who has gotten it wrong every time."

Santorum expects to make a decision on run for the nomination and whether the support is there in the "next few weeks," noting the Iowa Straw Poll is coming up on Aug. 13. He said he has been making stops in key early primary states such as Iowa and New Hampshire on a "shoestring effort."

 

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