Santorum says 'state of family not healthy' during Naples visit

David Albers/Staff
- Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum speaks to a crowd gathered at First Baptist Church in Naples, Fla. during a campaign stop on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012.

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David Albers/Staff - Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum speaks to a crowd gathered at First Baptist Church in Naples, Fla. during a campaign stop on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012.

Rick Santorum took the stage around 9:15 a.m. and spent the first part of his stump speech on the importance of the family. Santorum said "the state of the family today is not a healthy state," and that if the family - and the county as a whole - doesn't get healthy "then the government is going to stay big and get bigger."

Santorum is banking on conservative, family value voters to stay in the race.

But Santorum's 30 minute stump speech wasn't just focused in the family. Santorum took several potshots at President Barack Obama, and even said last nights state of the union will benefit him.

"I was very excited by the president's speech last night,"he said. "I really was, because the president made a case for Rick Santorum to be the nominee for the Republican party."

Santorum touted his plan for more manufacturing, something Obama touched on Tuesday night.

Santorum is now taking questions from the audience.

More than an hour after taking the stage Rick Santorum has completed his appearance, appealing to the voters.

"Make a difference," he said. "we can surprise a lot of people come next Tuesday."

POSTED EARLIER

Rick Santorum takes the stage around 9:15 a.m. for his Naples visit.

TLC's Jim Bob Duggar described Rick Santorum as a "family values candidate."

"If you're looking for someone to stand up for what's right, Rick is the man," Duggar said.

North Naples fire Commissioner Chris Lombardo is acting as the master of ceremony today. He's spent several minutes describing Santorum's virtues.

"This guy was a tea party guy before there was a tea party," Lombardo said.

POSTED EARLIER

Several hundred people have turned out this morning to catch a glimpse of former Pennsylvania senator and presidential hopeful Rick Santorum.

Santorum's bus is already parked in front of the First Baptist Church. He is set to take the stage at 9 a.m.

Several local candidates, including Tim Nance and Trey Radel, are here. So is Jim Bob Duggar, who has supported Santorum since Iowa.

Estero resident Larry Fiesel said he and his wife are attending as many candidate events as possible in the days leading up to the election.

"We're trying to decide," he said.

Read the Daily News' interview with Rick Santorum

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