Former presidential contender Rick Santorum delivered a well-received speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference Friday criticizing the Republican Party's focus on blasting Democrats and President Obama, calling on the party to focus less on job creators and more on the working-class Americans who make up the bulk of the American electorate.
“If you're sitting there unemployed ... and all we're talking about is cutting taxes for high-income people, [that] doesn't connect emotionally," Santorum said.
Santorum, who is considered to be among those who could run for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, distinguished himself from the field by pointing out that government could be used for good purposes, such as lowering smoking rates, and by telling the crowd to get over reflexive criticism of Obama.
"Get it out of your system. Because after we leave here, we've got a job to do. We've got to win," he told the crowd.
The problem with the 2012 presidential campaign's focus on job creators, he said, was that the bulk of American voters have never owned their own business and that Republican policies had little to say to those individuals.
"We're out there as if everybody who is a voter is like us, high-energy people who want to reach for the brass ring ... but you know what we also need folks who work 9-5 and coach Little League," he said. "We didn't connect with them."
The one-time Pennsylvania senator urged the Republican Party to consider Pope Francis' example.
"He's going out there and not talking about what the Christian faith is against; he's out there and talking what we're for ... what he'll do is talk about the good news to a hurting world," Santorum said. "What we need to do is talk about the news of a good America, and what that good America could be."