—At the same Ohio event, Santorum said Obama and his fellow Democrats have raised unfounded fears about hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," in which pressurized fluids are pumped into the ground to extract natural gas. Santorum said Obama wants to unfairly regulate fracking "as if this is some new technology out there that we don't know anything about, and we have to be worried about." Santorum said the administration tells Americans, "Ooh, we've got to be scared, we've got to be scared of this technology that's producing the cheapest natural gas and oil....Why? So we can get your dollars, turn it to politicians who can win elections so they can control your lives."
—Also in Steubenville, Santorum said Obama encourages a trend in which the church, religious-affiliated colleges and civic institutions grow weaker while government grows stronger.
"We all know that one of the ways that government has been able to accumulate power is to do so by weakening the institutions that people rely upon," he said. "When they can rely upon them, these stable, mediating institutions in our culture, they don't need government."
"That's why it's not surprising to see the president's assault on, first, charities," Santorum said. "You recall one of his first tax proposals was to limit charitable deductions — charitable deductions to those mediating institutions," which include colleges, churches and civic organizations.
—Speaking Sunday at First Redeemer Church in Cumming, Ga., Santorum said people who shrug off troubling signs about Obama are like those Americans who ignored the growing fascist menace in Europe before World War II. "Your country needs you. It's not as clear a challenge," Santorum said. "Obviously, World War II was pretty obvious. At some point, they knew. But remember, the Greatest Generation, for a year and a half, sat on the sidelines while Europe was under darkness, where our closest ally, Britain, was being bombed and leveled, while Japan was spreading its cancer all throughout Southeast Asia. America sat from 1940, when France fell, to December of '41, and did almost nothing.
"Why? Because we're a hopeful people. We think, 'Well, you know, he'll get better. You know, he's a nice guy. I mean, it won't be near as bad as what we think. This will be OK.' Oh yeah, maybe he's not the best guy, and after a while, you found out things about this guy over in Europe, and he's not so good of a guy after all."
Asked by a reporter Monday if he was comparing Obama to Hitler, Santorum said "No, of course not."
White House spokesman Jay Carney declined Tuesday to get drawn into a point-by-point rebuttal of Santorum's comments. He said Obama "is focused on his job as president, getting this country moving in the right direction, ensuring that the recovery, which is under way, continues forward."
Associated Press writers Kasie Hunt in Michigan and Ben Feller in Washington contributed to this report.
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