Rick Santorum – CPAC: Analysis

On February 27, 2015, Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) hosted by the American Conservative Union. In this analysis, there will be selected quotes from the former senator followed by verification of the facts Santorum claimed in his speech.

“IT IS GREAT TO BE BACK HERE IN C-PAC. LET ME FIRST DO WHAT I ALWAYS DO WHICH IS INTRODUCE MY FAMILY WHO IS JOINING ME HERE TODAY. MY CO-AUTHOR IN LIFE AND OUR NEWEST BOOK, BELLA’S GIFT.”

Fact check: At CPAC in 2014, just one year earlier, he did not introduce his family first. At the Iowa Freedom Summit one month earlier than this speech, in fact, his first thing he did was not introduce his family, but instead talked about how Iowa was the birthplace of the sweater vest. He did, however, when he was done talking about the sweater vest, talk about his family and the book he and his wife are co-authoring about their daughter’s disability.

Source: C-SPAN Videos

“WE HAVE SEEN THAT WAGES OVER TIME HAVE STAGNATED. THE ECONOMY, MEDIUM INCOME IS DECLINING IN AMERICA.”

Fact check: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the hourly mean earnings for all workers in the United States in 2007 was $21.08. The mean hourly wage for 2013 was $22.71. For the occupation that held the most citizens, Office and Administrative Support Occupations, the mean hourly wage was $17.08 in 2013. The closest equivalent in 1997, the group in the census called Management Support Occupations was $14.81. However, when adjusting for inflation, $14.81 in 1997 is the same as $21.66 today, according to the CPI Inflation Calculator. So, yes, with inflation, wages have stayed relatively the same.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2013, Inflation Calendar, and BLS stats for 1997 

“70% OF AMERICANS WHO DON’T HAVE A COLLEGE EDUCATION.”

Fact check: According to the Lumina Foundation, which is an independent,, private foundation, the percentage of United States citizens ages 25-64 who have attained tertiary-level education, or some form of educational training beyond secondary education, is 43 percent. This means that the actual percentage of Americans without a college education is 57 percent.

Sources: Lumina Foundation Research

“OF ALL THE WORKERS IN AMERICA, ONLY 10% OWN THEIR OWN BUSINESS. 90% ARE LITTLE GUYS.”

Fact check: According to Babson College, who performs the annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, it was reported that less than 10 percent of American citizens ages 18-64 are entrepreneurs. According to the report, it is closer to 6 percent. This statistic would actually help Santorum as it supports his claim that he is for the majority, also known as “little guys.”

Source: Global Entrepreneurship Monitor

“AND IN FACT, THE PRESIDENT’S POPULARITY IS SO BAD AROUND THE WORLD TODAY, THAT I HEARD THIS REPORT FROM A SOURCE THAT THE KENYAN GOVERNMENT IS ACTUALLY DEVELOPING PROOF THAT BARACK OBAMA WAS ACTUALLY BORN IN AMERICA.”

Fact check: Barack Obama’s approval rating for his term, as reported by Gallup, is an average of 47 percent. In comparison to the average for all United States presidents, 53 percent, Obama is just a little bit behind. Additionally, although it is a joke, no one in Kenya (at least it has not been reported) is trying to put Obama’s birth on the United States.

Source: Gallup’s Approval Rating Poll

“WE HAVE MORAL CLARITY AND COURAGE BACK IN WORLD WAR II TO CALL NAZI GERMANY NAZI GERMANY. EVEN THOUGH ONLY 7% OF GERMANS WERE NAZIS.”

Fact check: In this part of the speech, Santorum claims that the United States don’t see the whole of the Middle East as a threat to national security, just ISIS. However, the United States called all of Germany “Nazi Germany” when few members of the country were actually Nazis.

In this case, Santorum is more or less correct. According to the History Place, “Before Hitler seized power (in 1933) only 850,000 out of 66 million Germans were card-carrying Nazis … At its peak, Party membership reached 8 million out of 80 million Germans in ‘Greater Germany’ or about ten percent of the population.”

In this case, at its inception, the Nazi party was less that 2 percent of the population, and at its peak it was 10 percent. His point, however, is proven either way: a small percentage of the population changed people’s views of and what people called Germany.

“SOME HAVE SUGGESTED THAT ONLY A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF ISLAM IS RADICAL OR MILITANT. EVEN IF ONE-TENTH OF .1%, ONE IN A THOUSAND MUSLIMS ARE RADICAL, VIOLENT ISLAMISTS, THAT NUMBER IS LARGER THAN THE ACTIVE DUTY MILITARY OF OUR COUNTRY.”

Fact check: While the exact number of Islam who support radicalism or who are militant could not be verified, it is overwhelmingly true that most Muslims do not support radical violence. According to a 2013 Pew Study on Muslims around the world, “Muslims around the world strongly reject violence in the name of Islam. Asked specifically about suicide bombing, clear majorities in most countries say such acts are rarely or never justified as a means of defending Islam from its enemies.”

Additionally, a site called “Encountering Islam” stated: “The vast majority of Muslims are moderate, pious people who suffer more from terrorism and violence than non-Muslims. Ninety-three percent of Muslims do not support extremist views of terrorism.”

In another PEW study, it was reported that there are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. One-tenth of 1 percent of 1.6 billion is 160,000. The number for the current active military could only be verified at one site (DMDC) with over one million active duty members. However, with more than 50,000 active military members reported in Hawaii alone in 2013, it is hard to image that the United States has fewer than 16,000 active military in total.

“SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE IS NOT IN THE CONSTITUTION. FREEDOM OF RELIGION IS. AND THAT’S WHAT I WILL STAND FOR.”

Fact check: This quote was taken during the Q-and-A portion of Santorum’s remarks at CPAC when he was asked about his own religious views affecting his politics. It is true that “separation of church and state” is not in the Constitution. Rather, freedom of religion is part of the First Amendment to the Constitution, which says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

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