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Santorum Says Strategy Needed to Defeat Radical Islamists

ABC News(CHARLESTON, S.C.) -- Speaking before a crowd that included a number of cadets from the Citadel on Friday night, Rick Santorum warned that "radical Islamists" pose as great a threat to the Islamic world as they do to the United States, if not greater. He argued that the next president will have to take a more active role in working with people in countries such as Iran to help them combat the dangers inflicted by radical Islamists.

"There is an existential threat out there. It is a threat that has challenged Western civilization for 1300 years," Santorum said in a keynote speech at the Patriot Awards Dinner hosted by the Citadel's Republican Society. "In its most virulent form, it is back, and it is funded by oil. If we do not put together a strategy to defeat that radical element within the Islamic world that threatens the Islamic world more than it does even us. Look at the Iranians. I send a message all the time to the Iranian people. Hold on hold, continue to fight. We will help you."

Santorum stressed the strong leadership role the next president must take in helping those in countries he said are at risk of the terror inflicted by radical Islamists.

"We need to be a hope for them, not like what President Obama did three years ago and turn their back, his back on them when they were asking for our help."

Clad in his signature sweater vest embroidered with his name on it, Santorum joked about the campaign trail’s latest fashion accessory as many cadets sat in the audience wearing their dress uniforms.

"I am in my fatigues, not in my dress outfit tonight. We've just come off the campaign trail and this is the, this is the, you know my flak jacket if you will. My sweater vest," said Santorum.

At the end of the evening, Santorum received the Patriots Award, which was presented to him in the form of a giant rifle on a wooden plaque.

"That'll go in the Oval for sure!" said Santorum to loud applause and cheers as he admired the award. "Thank you all very, very much for this honor. I'm truly inspired and moved by it, and we'll get ready. We’ll arm, and we'll get ready and what a way to go into tomorrow's battle."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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