• Lillie Burke

Santorum’s Curb rally draws crowd

Presidential candidate Rick Santorum faced mixed support during his rally at the Curb Event Center Wednesday night.

A crowd of more than 500 was at the arena for the speech centered around Santorum’s beliefs about the size of government, health care and energy.

During the approximately 45-minute speech, the GOP candidate said multiple times that the 2012 general election would be a defining moment for the direction of the U.S. He also spoke strongly against President Obama’s policies about health care reform, use of domestic energy and the size of government and its role in people’s lives.

“As young people, with your future ahead of you, why would you want to settle for an America that doesn’t believe in you?” he said.

A number of the former Pennsylvania senator’s comments got a mixed reaction from the crowd of middle Tennessee residents and Belmont students. Some students and others cheered when issues like health care reform and other entitlements were brought up. When the senator said the Constitution was written for a purpose, one person shouted, “to protect us from you.”

Several people were also asked to leave early in the event for heckling Santorum or showing their outgoing support for other candidates. No arrests were made during the evening, said Belmont spokeperson Greg Pillon. The ejections occurred, he said, because of a miscommunication among the different security groups at the event.

Santorum, who leads multiple statewide polls before Tuesday’s primary election, arrived on stage and hour and 45 minutes after doors to the Curb Event Center opened. The GOP candidate had already attended a fundraiser Wednesday night held by Belmont trustee Lee Beaman and appeared on FOX News’ “Hannity” program before addressing the people at the event.

While many students attending the rally were interested in what Santorum said, some were not pleased with his positions and the way he delivered them.

“Most was just empty political rhetoric,” said Belmont student Emily Hunerwadle. “I thought maybe we would hear some sort of argument.”

While several people at the rally did not specifically support Santorum, not all reaction to the former U.S. Senator was negative. Santorum received partial standing ovations several times, and the heckling of some was drowned out at times by the rest of the crowd cheering for the candidate and his positions.

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