"This is the most critical time in our country's history, economically, morally, culturally, national security," he said. "And the reason President Obama has divided this country is because he has not told the truth to this country. He hides the ball. He plays games. He pits groups against another. It's all this political chess game, instead of trying to be honest with the American public."
"If you're a leader as a president, you have got to motivate the American public, and the best way to do that is to be truthful, to lay out the problems and say here is the problem that we have and what are we going to do to join together and solve that problem," said Santorum.
"I think one of those common things that we agree on, that we should agree on, are these basic foundational principles of our country, based on the Declaration of Independence," he said.
"If everyone is endowed by God -- not any god, but the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that God -- with the right to life, then there are certain things that we need to follow through and we need to have in our laws," he said.
"If you believe in the right to liberty, then there are certain things that come with liberty," he said.
"Freedom is not an open checkbook to write whatever check you want, to perform whatever actions you want," Santorum said.
"We cannot long last as a country with people going around living lives that are not responsible," he said. "Freedom comes with the responsibility to do not what you want to do but what you ought to do. That is the freedom our founders gave us.
"If you look at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, happiness in the vernacular today has a very different meaning than it had at the time of our founders," he said.
"Happiness today is enjoyment, pleasure, what makes you feel good. At the time of our founders, one of the principle definitions was to do the morally right thing," said Santorum. "So, think of what our founders envisioned: The freedom to do the morally right thing. Rights given to us by God to serve him and his will in our lives. That is the moral foundation that is America.
"Now, can we get Americans to agree with that or not?" he asked. "I believe the vast majority of Americans would agree with those foundational principles. Then we say: OK, how do we build upon that?"
"We build a culture of freedom," he said, "but a freedom to do what you should do, not what you want to do."
Santorum's great secret may be that after spending months visiting town after town in Iowa, he takes American voters more seriously than establishment pundits and political reporters.