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VIDEO, UPDATE: Santorum Energizes Tacoma Crowd Despite Vocal Protesters

Tacoma police escorted at least two protesters out of the crowd at the Washington State History Museum. Despite the interruptions, the Republican hopeful continued to attack both President Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney.

TACOMA, WA--On a night in which addressing supporters required talking past the chants of protesters, GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum tried to energize a mostly conservative crowd Monday night in Tacoma.

Santorum, trying to generate support in the Evergreen State in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, spoke of conservative values and warned that re-electing President Obama would be a setback for America.

But the Pennsylvania Republican’s speech became only part of the show, as protesters who had positioned themselves in the crowd before the speech chanted throughout Santorum’s address, prompting boos from the rest of the crowd of at least 400 people. Organizers didn’t have an exact headcount, but the sea of supporters stretched up and down the steps of the Washington State History Museum's outdoor arena area and was spilling out onto Pacific Avenue.

The chants also left Santorum with no option but to address their shouts, which echoed the chants of the national movement.

"We are the 99 percent," they chanted.

Santorum had to stop a few times throughout his hourlong address.

“What we see is an intolerance of different points of view,” said Santorum, who spoke earlier in the day in the state capital of Olympia. “From those who do not want the other side to have a voice. They don’t want to hear what the other side has to say.”

“All they’re interested in is shouting out,” he said over the protesters. “Why? Because if they have a reasonable, rational discussion, they can’t be successful.”

At one point, Tacoma Police handcuffed and escorted at least two protesters out of the lower bowl of the arena area, again prompting cheers from the crowd.

The (Tacoma) News Tribune reported that another person was arrested for showering Santorum with a "glitter bomb."

“Get a job,” the crowd yelled to the protesters.

“Show some respect,” one person yelled.

Coincidence or not, the city’s Occupy Tacoma encampment is located less than a block away from the museum.

After chants died down enough for him to speak, Santorum attacked Obama, as well as his biggest challenger for the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney.

Specifically, Santorum linked the president’s health care legislation with Romney, a tactic he will likely continue on the campaign trail.

The “Romney health care plan,” which the former Massachusetts governor helped implement during his tenure in that state, served as a blueprint for "Obamacare," Santorum said.

With Gov. Christine Gregoire Monday legislation that would allow same-sex marriages in Washington, Santorum touched on conservative hot-button issues such as gay marriage and abortion, arguing that the Constitution “talks about the dignity of human life.”

At one point, he called Obama the most divisive president in the country’s history and issued a plea to voters.

“The greatness of our country is not our diversity,” he said. “The greatness of our country is despite our diversity, we can come together.”

Before Santorum arrived, supporters gradually filled the arena area, a few of whom waved signs in support of his run. The museum - which was a former train station - provided a cavernous backdrop.

After the speech, Kirby Wilbur, chairman of the Washington State Republican Party, also tried to address the remaining protesters who continued chanting to the end.

“To my mathematically challenged friends in front,” he said, referring to their tag of being the “99 percent” of America that’s become victim to government and business interests, “Look around you. This is the real America.”

The GOP’s precinct caucuses are scheduled for March 3 in Washington.

John Gawron February 14, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Sheep are hardly noticed -- Barking dogs are. Being noticed first - change follows.
Michelle Hardiman February 14, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Thank you for showing the best and most God fearing candidate. The one that appreciates what our founding fathers have showed important for our county to thrive as we have not with a president who hates our countries very values.
Patty Denny February 14, 2012 at 05:01 PM
This election is the most important election in our Country. Name Calling, shouting isn't going to cure the problem. Rick Santorum would make a great leader. This article is much better written then the Tacoma News Tribune for sure. Very glad that I attended the rally. A lot of young men and women supporting this man and of course us older ones who still have common sense and appreciate a man that realizes how important OUR Constitution is.
Dan February 14, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Poor Kirby Wilbur. He doesn't even know that he's part of the 99%.
dexterjibs February 15, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Wow, the so called open-minded, tolerent left is on display today. Just goes to show you, the most intolerent, self-loathing, hateful people in the world are liberals.

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