Citadel crowd lauds Santorum for stance on faith - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Citadel crowd lauds Santorum for stance on faith, national defense

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Santorum poses for a photo with cadets at The Citadel on Friday. (Brian Troutman/WCIV) Santorum poses for a photo with cadets at The Citadel on Friday. (Brian Troutman/WCIV)

By Brian Troutman
btroutman@abcnews4.com

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) – Love him or hate him, anyone who knows Lt. Col. Bill Connor knows he is passionate about two things – national security and faith.

He built a nearly successful campaign for the position of South Carolina's lieutenant governor in 2010 on his passion for those two topics, losing the race to Ken Ard in a runoff.

Connor is a war hero. Among many military accomplishments, he was awarded the U.S. Counterterrorism Advisory Team's William Barret Travis Award for Valor. He commanded a vehicle convoy in Afghanistan surrounded by insurgents without losing a single American life. He's also a national security advisor.

So, it's safe to say the candidate who gets Connor's vote will be a candidate he believes is capable of heroically commanding the country while keeping a strong focus on issues of faith.

For Connor, that man is former senator Rick Santorum. In fact, Connor feels so passionate about Santorum that he serves as the volunteer co-chair of Santorum's campaign efforts in South Carolina with former congressman Gresham Barrett.

"Rick just puts it all together," Connor said. "He is a comprehensive conservative."

Connor says in Santorum he sees a little of himself – a hard worker with drive and heart. He said he also sees consistency and a man of great conviction.

"That's one of the main things that sort of draws me to him," Connor said. "He is consistent. He is a man of conviction when it comes to things like life and marriage and the Christian issues."

"It reminds me a lot of Ronald Reagan. Whether you agree with him or not, you like him, because you believe in him. I believe in Rick Santorum. The Christian issues to me are key. He stands behind them as a man of faith, and he won't give in on them."

Connor's admiration of Santorum doesn't stop there. The Bronze Star recipient praises the former senator for being the only candidate who said he would not cut defense spending.

"He's going to reallocate from the waste," Connor said.

The national defense advisor says the last thing we want to do is cut defense spending. He passionately says we need more money to employ more troops.

"What he (Santorum) wants to do is take the waste we know about and contract it into other areas," Connor said. "…Put it into our Navy and ground forces and things of that nature. He gets it."

Connor wasn't the only person at The Citadel's Patriot Award ceremony on Friday who thinks highly of the former senator. The Citadel crowd gave Santorum a standing ovation after he spoke of protecting America's future.

Citadel cadet Townes Moore, who was in attendance on Friday, traveled all the way to Iowa to help with Santorum's campaign. Moore's support of Santorum falls in line with the issues important to Connor.

"Rick Santorum's relationship with God is what fuels his daily routine," Moore said. "…That's what speaks volumes to me."

Moore wears two bracelets on his left wrist. One's a W.W.J.D. bracelet, the other is a Rick Santorum bracelet. He said somehow Rick Santorum always ends up under W.W.J.D. He described it as "fitting."

"Rick Santorum talks about three main things – faith, family and freedom," Moore said.

Santorum was the recipient of the Nathan Hale Patriot Award on Friday.

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