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      Santorum talks primary, abortion, and presidential bid

      Horry County GOP convention at Carolina Forest High School. / Lindsey Theis

      Saturday morning former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum spoke to a crowd of 368 delegates at the the Horry County GOP Convention at Carolina Forest High School. The party elects their local leaders and officers at the convention.

      "This is the most important election you'll be a part of," Santorum told the crowd.

      Santorum served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1990 through 1995, and in the United States Senate from 1995 through 2007. He is currently the Chairman of the political action committee America's Foundation, and contributes regularly to Fox News.

      Santorum is known for his socially conservative views, something experts say could draw voters in early presidential nominating states like Iowa and South Carolina.

      Following his speech the political pundit weighed in on issues the possible 2012 Republican presidential contender might face, should he run in the election.

      "We have to do something right away in 2013 to repeal Obamacare," Santorum said. If you elect a republican president if I decide to run and you elected me as president I would be laser beam focused and we would repeal Obamacare, and we would put something in place thats consistent with the principals of what made this country great."

      Another issue discussed was primaries. Florida is challenging tradition this year, and has scheduled its primary for January. In the past, the Republican National Committee has kept Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina as the early primary and caucus states. This has triggered some protests in these states, including calls for the RNC to move their convention location out of Tampa. In an interview Friday, April 1, Santorum said he wanted to keep Florida's primary after South Carolina.

      "I think that the RNC has the right to determine the order of the primaries its a nomination for the Republican party no one state should be able to say naw, I'm going to disagree with the Republican party I'm going to do what I want to do," he said. "The Republican party sets the rules. I love the people in the state of Florida. Florida is obviously a critically important state. It's going to be an early primary wether they try to move up or not. It's going to be the first major state primary, and it's certainly a state that gets a lot of attention in the general election."

      Santorum made headlines after he made comments on a New Hampshire radio show earlier this week where he blamed the nation's social security woes on an "abortion culture."

      Santorum says he was simply agreeing to a caller's economic argument that more abortions means less citizens paying into social security. He says his comment were taken out of context.

      "That's not an argument I do make. Not that I don't believe it's true, but I don't believe abortion should be an economic argument," he said.

      This is Santorum's second visit to the Grand Strand this year.

      During his visit in February, NewsChannel 15's Tim McGinnis asked Santorum if he was running for president. Santorum said, "I'm testing the waters, and like everybody knows here in Myrtle Beach, if you're testing the waters, you've got to get in and swim around a little bit."

      Santorum has said he will participate in a May 5 debate sponsored by the South Carolina GOP and Fox News Channel. It's the nation's first scheduled 2012 Republican presidential candidate debate and will be held in Greenville, SC.

      Santorum says if a similar debate was held in Horry County, he would try to make it.

      "This is a very important county in the state and a very important county in the Republican primary. I would be very disposed to doing something like that if that option were made availible," he says.

      The AP contributed to this report.

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