Rick Santorum headlines Tea Party Liberty Forum event - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Rick Santorum headlines Tea Party Liberty Forum event

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB-TV)-- The road to Super Tuesday leads one GOP candidate to Chattanooga Saturday. Presidential Hopeful Rick Santorum brought hundreds of people out to the local Tea Party's Liberty Forum at Abba's house.

Hundreds turned out to hear Rick Santorum speak about why he should get their votes. His main topics-- healthcare, abortion and the economy-- got big responses from both sides. Santorum came out to a standing ovation from hundreds of curious voters.

"I didn't know when I came here what I wanted," Matil Richard said.

First on his priority list was his stance on abortion, saying he "fights for pro-life."

"It is our responsibility to protect all human life and give that life dignity, value and worth," Senator Rick Santorum (R) said.

Other hot topics included government bailouts.

"The government came in and bailed them out and guess what? They're taking huge bonuses and making lots of money again. They're just fine, thank you very much, on Wall street," Santorum said.

He talked against so called "Obama-care."

"Government control of healthcare-- taking away your liberty, economic liberty to choose the healthcare you want," Santorum said.

He also said he wants limits put on federally run programs like Welfare.

"To make them not dependency programs anymore on Welfare, food stamps and Medicaid," Santorum said.

Much of what got him a big responses inside the event, didn't go over so well with dozens of protestors outside.

"I'm very much supporting women's rights. What's happening on the republican side is just a crime," Emily Greene said.

"Drawing attention to the corporate influence of Santorum's campaign," Brooke Washburn said.

"Rick Santorum does not represent the broad spectrum of Americans," Richard Wilky said.

But Santorum thanked Tennesseans for their strong morals and that hit home with many.

"He really backs family and that's the nucleus of America," Matil Richard said.

"It's his understanding that government should be from the bottom up. Start at the family level," Michaele Swiderski said.

"The idea of honor, which is what he closed with basically. That was very moving," Herb Leinberger said.

Some rowdy audience members were asked to leave during the event. Just as Santorum was about to start taking questions, he was cut short by his campaign managers saying his time was up. Several local politicians also spoke.

Reporter Kimberly Barbour tweeted updates from the event.

1:05pm - Hundreds pack Abba's House waiting to hear Rick Santorum.

1:14pm - Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger speaking first at Santorum event.

1:20pm - Mayor Coppinger say focus should be on money for education, small businesses and bringing more high tech jobs to Hamilton Co.

1:23pm - Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond speaking now about battling gang problem & getting private businesses to put money toward programs to help youth.

1:28pm - Chattanooga Tea Party representative speaking now about origins of the party, saying GOP presidential candidates in the past weren't "truly conservative."

1:36pm - Chattanooga City Council Chair Pam Ladd takes podium, saying "Not just the only female speaker, but also only Democrat. We all want the same thing."

1:40pm - Ladd says "The city needs to really look at duplicate departments and get rid of them."

1:44pm - Now taking podium is Hamilton County Commission Chairman Larry Henry at Santorum rally.

1:47pm - Commissioner Henry says "socialism has crept into the American way."

1:53pm - Chattanooga Tea Party co-founder commends Council Chair Pam Ladd for "fighting fairly" and says all Democrats need to be like her.

2:00pm - State Senator Bo Watson up next at the podium.

2:10pm - Rick Santorum takes the stage to chants of "USA!"

2:14pm - Santorum gets standing ovation for saying he fights for pro-life.

2:15pm - Santorum says "Liberty is what's at stake in this election."

2:19pm - Santorum speaking about "Obamacare" saying "you can't give the government control over your life."

2:23pm - Santorum gets big applause when he says "true happiness is about doing God's will."

2:35pm - Santorum thanks Tennessee for having strong morals.

2:41pm - Santorum says "we need a President who doesn't believe in the phony science of global warming."

2:44pm - Santorum stresses he's against corporate bailouts.

2:46pm - Santorum says he wants limits on welfare.

2:48pm - Santorum says Obama is a "snob" for saying all kids should go to college.

3:15pm - Santorum cut short by campaign managers right before he was supposed to take questions.

3:18pm - U.S. Congressman Chuck Fleischmann speaking now.

3:30pm  - Watch Channel 3 Eyewitness News @ 6 for a complete recap of the Santorum rally, plus reaction from the audience and what protestors had to say.

Stay with www.WRCBtv.com for constant updates throughout the afternoon.

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