Rick Santorum, who nearly won the Republican presidential primary last year, warned an enthusiastic crowd at the Conservative Political Action Committee that they must fight against a "godless" liberal philosophy of welfare and handouts.
The former senator from Pennsylvania won over conservatives in last year's Republican primary with a message about family and traditional values and is on Friday was pitching to those supporters a new political action committee, Patriot Voices, and his book, "American Patriots: Answering the Call to Freedom." He also hosted a screening of the movie "Our Sacred Honor" before taking part in a round-table discussion and dinner before departing National Harbor.
During his speech, an audience member shouted "Santorum 2016," but that was quickly countered by another audience member shouting, "Rand Paul."
Some CPAC attendees said Santorum's time has passed, though others hope he'll stay involved or even jump into the presidential race in 2016.
"He is just passionate about America and our future," said Grant Moody, 33, who sat near the front row to hear Santorum speak.
Moody voted for Santorum during the 2012 primary. "He's such a principled conservative."
Santorum didn't disappoint his followers Friday, warning the party to avoid shifting to the political middle just to win elections.
"What does it profit a party to gain a country if it loses it's own soul?" Santorum said in his 20 minute address.
Santorum said nothing about the lost election, even though he warned during the primary that Mitt Romney, the eventual nominee, would never be able to excite the GOP base enough to win the race.
Instead, he aimed his attack on the "New Deal" philosophy at the heart of the Obama administration.
"Give them more power, give them more authority and they will take care of you," Santorum said.
Terry Walker, of Ocala, Fla., who prefers Paul's libertarian style of politics, said his view of Santorum did not change after listening to him speak.
"I don't think he's the answer to the party," Walker said. "He's a nice man but he delivers a very angry speech."