The Corner

Santorum Slams Pawlenty’s ‘Class-Warfare’ Rhetoric

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, mulling a presidential run, says Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, a potential 2012 primary foe, is indulging in “class-warfare” rhetoric.

On Monday, Pawlenty met with reporters at the Christian Science Monitor in Washington, where he cast himself as a Republican who could shake the impression that the GOP is a party of “country-club elitists.” Pawlenty also said that it helps to have a “messenger who has at least walked in [voters’] shoes.”

“I’m not a class-warfare guy,” Santorum tells National Review Online in reaction to Pawlenty’s remarks. “That’s the Democrats’ gig. They like to divide and play the class card. We don’t have classes in America — I don’t even like the term ‘middle class.’ People are lower income or middle income, and the dynamism of this country is that you can rise, and sometimes fall, but you are not stuck in classes. We should not get into that kind of rhetoric, or showing some sort of prejudice.”

Last week, Santorum huddled with his former staffers in downtown Washington. “We just caught up,” he says. “It was nothing more than that. I spoke about what I’ve been doing these past few months and got some advice and counsel, as well as some friendly criticism.”

“By and large, most folks encouraged me to get back in the fray,” Santorum says. “I will take a look at what happens in November and see how things shake out.” If he runs, Santorum says he wants to have a “real chance of having an impact.”

Robert Costa — Robert Costa is National Review's Washington editor and a CNBC political analyst. He manages NR's Capitol Hill bureau and covers the White House, Congress, and national campaigns. ...

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