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Rick Santorum’s CPAC speech: ‘It’s not about contraception. … It’s about government control of your lives.’

Chris Moody, Yahoo News
The Ticket

Fresh off his three-state election night sweep, Rick Santorum spoke to CPAC on Friday morning. "As conservatives and tea party folks, we are not just wings of the Republican Party," he said. "We are the Republican Party."

Santorum criticized the Obama administration's health care regulation that would require Catholic hospitals and universities to provide birth control and morning-after pills to their employees as part of their health care coverage.

"It's not about contraception," Santorum said. "It's about economic liberty; it's about freedom of speech; it's about freedom of religion. It's about government control of your lives and it's got to stop."

Responding to Mitt Romney's criticism that he is a Washington insider, Santorum said his tenure in the House and Senate were part of his qualifications for the presidency. "Some say experience is bad in this election," he said. "I don't think so. I think knowing the people who are the conservative leaders, knowing the people who have worked in the vineyards for decades, knowing the people who bring the ideas and the breath and the blood spring of ideas to conservatism is important."

Echoing a theme that he has expressed for months on the campaign trail, Santorum suggested that nominating Romney would amount to a "hollow victory" for conservatism.

"As conservatives we lost heart," he said. "We listened to the voices who said that we had to abandon our principles and values to get things done. To win. But we hear those same voices today, that we have to learn our lesson, that we need to compromise, do what's politically reasonable and go out and push someone forward who can win. Well I think we have learned our lesson. And the lesson we learned is that we will no longer abandon and apologize for the principles that made this country great for a hollow victory in November."

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