Another potential GOP contender in 2012, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, used his time on the CPAC dais Thursday to deliver strong criticisms of President Barack Obama’s first two years in office and stood out as a distinct social conservative.

Liberals and progressives are trying to change America’s divine footing, Santorum warned the conservative gathering. He went on to describe God’s role in the founding of the United States and the social issues that “bind us together.” When it comes to those issues, Santorum noted, “just because it’s not popular doesn’t mean it’s not true.”

“The Judiciary cannot create life, and it did not create marriage, and it has no right to redefine either one,” he continued. “America belongs to God,” Santorum said, “and we are the stewards of that great gift.”

“We believe in the dignity of life, the stability and strength of the family, of self sufficiency,” he said. “That’s what makes America the greatest country in the world, the social issues.”

“It’s not just the third leg of a stool, ladies and gentlemen, the moral issues, the cultural issues, the social issues, they’re the fabric the stool is made from,” he said, invoking Ronald Reagan’s famous description of the GOP’s three pillars: strong economic, foreign policy and social conservatism. “Those are the issues that matter. Those are the issues that bind us together, and those are the issues that we cannot retreat on.”

Santorum also contrasted himself with Obama on foreign policy issues, namely the ongoing turmoil in Egypt.

“What does the president of the United States do? He sides with the protesters,” Santorum said. “I am not suggesting that we shouldn’t side with the protestors but what message are we sending to countries around the world who are friends of ours – when things get tough we walk away.”

Obama “doesn’t believe America is exceptional,” does see America as a “force for disruption, and even evil,” and won’t “say that jihadism is evil,” he added.

On domestic policy, Santorum also emphasized the need to minimize federal intrusion which he said leads to widespread reliance on government. “My grandfather didn’t come to this country because we had 99 weeks of unemployment benefits,” he said.

In recent days, the media has zeroed in on an apparent feud brewing between Santorum and another possible GOP 2012 contender, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. But Santorum downplayed any hint of controversy Thursday, blaming speculation of a rift on “shoddy journalism.”

“They took things I said out of context and, in fact, not just out of context but they implied things that I meant when clearly I didn’t,” Santorum told ABC News in an exclusive interview at CPAC. “I think it’s shoddy journalism no one called me on it, no one asked me what I meant and to my knowledge they didn’t ask the interviewer about it.”

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