The banner hanging behind former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum spelled out the word freedom, a word whose interpretation was distinctly different for the two groups who turned up in Gettysburg's Lincoln Square for the Republican presidential candidate's visit.
Inside the Gettysburg Hotel, supporters such as George and Anna Fechet, a Shrewsbury couple in their 70s, said it means smaller government and Christian moral values, and an Oval Office occupied by anyone but President Barack Obama.
"Anyone who can beat Obama has my support," Anna Fechet said.
"Truthfully, I just don't like the man," her husband said.
Outside, a couple hundred protestors from several groups held signs disinviting the presidential candidate from their bedrooms, saying his moral objectives would strip them of rights and regress the country to the year that made the town famous: 1863.
One man, taking in the scene from the steps of the historic hotel, proclaimed March 20 the "second Battle of Gettysburg."
Long wait: Hundreds of supporters turned out to see the candidate, who took a moment to greet about half of those who were turned away for lack of space in the small ballroom.
People waited in line for hours before Santorum took to the stage with four of his seven children and his wife, Karen, around 9:30. He was greeted by raucous applause and cheering, though a small television in the corner had confirmed his loss to Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as the Illinois primary results were posted.
Santorum went into Tuesday's race having captured 263 delegates to Romney's 521, and the gulf was widened after Illinois. A candidate needs 1,144 delegates to win the nomination, and there were 1,324 delegates remaining Tuesday.
The Pennsylvania native said he planned to spend the week in Louisiana before returning to his home state for the primary contest in five weeks, in which he predicted a "big win" that would help close the delegate gap. Pennsylvania's primary is April 24.
The candidate told the crowd he's the most reliable of the three Republicans, the one who has consistently said what he believed instead of what someone else wanted him to say.
"Or what's on their teleprompter," he laughed. "I don't happen to have one here tonight."
He said Romney's Massachusetts healthcare plan, which he called "Romneycare," is interchangeable with the Affordable Healthcare Act, the Obama-signed law Santorum wants to repeal.
Romney and Republican rival candidate former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich both let people pressure them into acknowledgement of global warming, Santorum said, but now they're in favor of drilling for oil, gas and coal.
"I'm not going to change my mind," he told the group, which was validating his positions with applause, hollers, and an occasional "amen."
'Morality and Christian values': Several Yorkers who turned out at the event said Santorum's anti-abortion platform and his "morality and Christian values" are unique to the candidate.
Penn Township resident Louise Rupp, 54, said "the value of life" is the most important position on which she casts a vote.
"Everything else stems from that," she said. "If you're not respecting that, you don't need to worry about the economy ... or border control or other issues."
Rick Free, 52, also of Penn Township, said he was an undecided voter but wanted to hear more from Santorum because he doesn't support gay marriage.
"And he knows PA, and even though he lost last time around, he carries that experience," Free said.
Santorum was senator from 1995 to 2007, losing his 2006 re-election bid to current Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa.
While Free viewed Santorum's tenure as a senator as an attribute, protestors outside said the state knows the man well enough not to vote for him.
"I think we'll find out what the people of this area really think about Santorum," said Roger Lund, who chairs the Adams County Democratic Committee. "They turned him out of PA by 18 percent just a few years back. Cleary the people have spoken about what they think of his version of freedom."
- Reach Christina Kauffman at 505-5436 or email@example.com.