Under the Dome

Santorum focused on strengthening ‘middle America’

Rick Santorum, a potential presidential candidate, called for rebuilding middle America in remarks at the state legislature on Thursday.

Santorum, a former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, said he is traveling the country “testing messages” in advance of a decision in late spring or early summer about entering the presidential primary. He was a GOP presidential primary candidate in 2012.

He is giving speeches in the Triangle over the next few days, and said he was invited by state Rep. Jason Saine to come talk to legislators. He spoke in a committee room in a gathering in which lawmakers, aides and reporters were invited.

Talking about the economy, Santorum used an aphorism attributed to John Kennedy, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” But added, “that’s true unless your boat has a hole in it.”

That hole could be a lack of skills needed to get a job, or having attended inadequate schools, he said.

“We have to begin to look at those holes in the boats and the fact that our economy is increasingly not redistributive,” he said.

Santorum said he and other Republicans don’t like the term redistribution, but he used it to talk about manufacturing companies that employ many people and offer a variety of jobs that “build wealth for everybody involved in the economy.”