GOP Presidential hopefuls campaign in South Carolina

In This April 18, 2015 file photo, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker smiles as he arrives at the Republican Leadership Summit in Nashua, N.H. For Democratic politicians, same-sex marriage has become an easy issue: They're for it. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) – Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says: “The American dream is out of reach.” In his comments Saturday, he was trumpeting a theme he’s touched on during his earlier visits to South Carolina.

Scott said: “It’s not out of reach because of Wall Street. It’s out of reach because of K Street,” a reference to lobbyists in Washington.

He said government needs to get of the way and power needs to be put back in the hands of the American people.

Walker hasn’t yet declared his candidacy for president in 2016, but with an active political organization and repeated visits to the early voting states, he’s all but sure to get into the race later this year.

He’s already a popular figure among many in South Carolina for his efforts as governor to weaken Wisconsin’s

Meanwhile, Rick Santorum hinted Saturday in South Carolina that he is close to announcing whether he will again run for president, telling a gathering of conservative activists he’s driven by what he called President Barack Obama’s failures on national security.

“Russia, China and yes, radical Islam, is threatening our country,” the former Pennsylvania senator said. “Heck, I would just be happy if our president would be able to tell the difference between our friends and enemies.

“Let me give our president a primer: Iran, enemy. Israel, friend.”

Santorum told the crowd: “I’ve been clear about the threat of radical Islam. This isn’t a war on terror. It’s a war on radical Islam.”

And he offered a solution: “Here’s what we need to do. If these people want to bring back a 7th Century version of Islam, my suggestion is to load our bombers up and bomb them back to the 7th century.”

In nearby Virginia, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is condemning the Obama administration’s use of “coercive federal power” to limit religious freedom as he courts Christian conservatives ahead of a likely presidential run.

The Republican White House prospect lashed out at the Democratic president’s administration for “demanding obedience in complete disregard of religious conscience” as he delivered a Saturday commencement address at Liberty University, a Christian institution founded by the late conservative culture warrior Rev. Jerry Falwell.

More broadly, Bush said “the Christian voice” isn’t heard enough in the world.

Bush is preparing to enter a presidential contest that includes Republican competitors considered far more popular with the GOP’s religious right. They all criticize Obama’s health care overhaul which requires some religion-affiliated organizations to provide health insurance for employees that includes birth control.


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