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Santorum Runs Scared in Pittsburgh, P.A.

“What will you tell your kids?” Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania told a group of about 50 supporters and Federation types at a campaign appearance yesterday morning in Pittsburgh. “It’s your time, not just mine, to do something.”

Still lagging in polls against Democratic rival Bob Casey, Jr., Santorum was showing frayed nerves at the conclusion of his hour-long appearance with Senator Arlen Specter.

His pitch to the audience could be summarized as follows: Iran is a grave threat to world security – a greater threat than was Nazi Germany. We are in a “moment in history” that is akin to the 1930s, when a gathering storm went ignored. The United States and Israel will fight alone in the war against “Islamic fascism.” His Senate race, which he referred to as “his burden,” is about nothing less than world security.

He implored the audience to do whatever they could to help because, surely, one day their own children would call them to account for what they did or did not do during this critical time.

One audience member commented afterwards that he had never seen a politician so heavily rely on guilt as a motivator.

Specter, for his part, subtly or maybe not so subtly, tried to present Santorum as an free-thinking critic of President Bush. “This guy is very independent – I wish you could see him raising hell with the President,” Specter said at one point.

As Santorum hits the homestretch, he is clearly relying on Jewish support.On Wednesday night, he appeared at a fundraiser – with a $2,000 minimum donation and 35 to 40 people – that was hosted by Danny Shapira and his brother David, the head of Giant Eagle, Inc. Next Tuesday, he will attend a fundraiser with pro-Israel Republicans in Philadelphia.

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