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Public Statements

Fox News "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace" - Transcript

Interview

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Joining us now from Myrtle Beach is the former senator from Pennsylvania.

And welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you very much, Chris. Good to be with you.

WALLACE: Senator, how big of a deal is this? And especially, what's the practical effect on your campaign with just, as we say, six days before the primary?

SANTORUM: Well, it's a great -- it's a very big deal. The bottom line is that you have folks there representing a lot of different camps. A lot of people who came there to win the day for the candidate, and it was a very divided group at the beginning.

But as they work through it, they came to a consensus, an overwhelming consensus, like 75 percent of the people there decided to support me. And I think they did so because they know that I'm the consistent conservative. I'm someone who's willing to stand up for all of the issues, not just the moral and cultural issues, but economic issue and the moral crisis of this debt and this explosion of government and willing to stand up against radical jihadism and the things that are important to conservatives across in this country and they saw me as the one best chance of winning.

I beat Gingrich and Perry in Iowa. I beat them again in New Hampshire, and we're doing well here.

So, we feel very, very good that with their support, we're going to get a network of grassroots leaders here, lining up behind us and giving us that surge that we need coming down to this last week.

WALLACE: Have they made any promises, the ones who endorsed you, of giving you money, of going out publicly in supporting you?

SANTORUM: I haven't really talked to any of them. I talked to one person, to be honest with you, since that meeting. And what I was told that individual members are going to go out and do things with, you know, either endorsements or contacting people here in the state and across the states to support us and to help our cause. And we certainly accept all endorsements and help and money and grassroots activity -- anything they're willing to do to help, we'll be happy to take it.

WALLACE: But the fact is, the practical fact is, you have been splitting the vote of social conservatives with Gingrich and with Perry, should they drop out of the race so that the votes of those social conservatives can be united in supporting a candidate who supports their views?

SANTORUM: I'm not going to tell anybody to get in or out of the race. I think that's their decision to make. We're going to run the race as hard as we can and South Carolina is going to have big impact on this race, but it's not going to be the final issue. There are a lot of the races and a lot of states to come. We need to get this eventually down to a conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. And those -- when we finally get matched up, and we believe it will be us. When we get matched up, if you look at the polls done in other states down the road, we match up very well and ahead of Governor Romney almost every one of those state polls.

So, feel like once this field narrows, when we get it down to a two-person race, we have an excellent opportunity to win this race.

WALLACE: But, and I take your point you're not asking them to drop out. As long as they stay in the race, however, Perry and Gingrich, doesn't it have the practical effect of helping Romney and doesn't it diminish the effectiveness of social conservatives in trying to help pick the nominee?

SANTORUM: Well, I don't think it's just social conservatives. It's all conservatives. I think a lot of conservatives have concern about Governor Romney's record on the economy and Romneycare as a real scarlet letter here that we can't have a nominee that takes away the most important issue of this election which is an explosion of federal government and robbing the people's freedom on the federal level with Obamacare and Romneycare, which was the predecessor to Obamacare, just disqualifies him and his ability to go out and aggressively go after this top down approach to health care.

So, this is not just social conservatives. I'm hearing from conservatives across the board, economic, foreign policy. They're looking for someone with a strong consistent track record. And I'm hopeful -- again, you know, will it help? Yes. It would be helpful if everybody drop out and I would win. But, you know, the idea is, we're going to go through this process, people have the right to go out and make the case to the voters and then we'll see what happens.

WALLACE: Given that Newt Gingrich is beating you right now in the polls in South Carolina, why should his supporters back you? Why are you a truer conservative than Newt Gingrich?

SANTORUM: Well, I'll just look the -- at our leadership. When I was in the Republican leadership in United States, conservative organizations from national security to economic to social conservatives came to me to make sure that the conservative agenda was pushed in our leadership and made sure that those voters came to the floor of the United States Senate whether it was the NRA or the National Restaurant Association, or the National Rifle Association, those folks came and they understood we were the conservative voice of the leadership. We were the ones who were out there taking it to the streets, if you will.

And if you look at Congressman Gingrich when he was speaker, three in to his speakership, there was a conservative revolution because they were concerned that he was not promoting those ideas.

So, when you look at someone in their leadership ability and what they do when inside of the room when nobody else is watching, we were the conservatives that stood up and fought. And Newt was not. And that's what we're looking at in the present. We're looking for someone who can lead and someone who's not afraid to take on those issues and put the real, tough conservative issues on the backburner.

WALLACE: Let's talk about your record as a conservative, senator. When you were in the Senate, you voted against the national right to work law which would have allowed people to get jobs without having to join a union. For years, you repeatedly supported the Davis-Bacon Act which requires government contractors to pay the prevailing wage.

In both of those issues, you sided with big labor, sir.

SANTORUM: Yes. I think if you look back in my track record, I think I had about a 9 percent big labor voting record. You picked out the two.

And you need to remember, I was from the state of Pennsylvania. State of Pennsylvania does not have a right to work law. The state legislature and our governor for a long time had rules in place that were inconsistent with right to work.

And I wasn't, as United States senator, representing the states of Pennsylvania going to go down and by federal vote change the law on the state. I believe the state has the right. If they want a union dues requirement, that the state should be able to do that.

As a president, I have a very different point of view. I have already signed a letter and sent it to the national right to work that I would sign a national right to work bill because now, I'm no longer representing that state.

And by the way, the same thing with respect to Davis-Bacon. My feeling was, again, representing that state, which has a large segment of contractors that work under those provisions that I would protect that right.

Again, as a president, I would have a different view. But I did represent a constituency and one of the things I think is important is to listen and respect the rights of my state.

WALLACE: But how is that different than Mitt Romney who took some positions when he was a governor of Massachusetts and changed some of his positions since then?

SANTORUM: Well, if I was governor of Pennsylvania, I would have worked to change those laws.

WALLACE: But you were senator of Pennsylvania.

SANTORUM: Well, but -- I would change those law within Pennsylvania. But I'm not going to have the federal government change the law for the state of Pennsylvania. It's a very different thing. You work within the people of your state to promote the ideas that you believe in. But you don't have the federal government impose those on the state when the state decided differently.

WALLACE: You are also coming under fire for your tax plan. You would cut the corporate tax rate to 17 1/2 percent for all industries, except that you would cut it to zero for manufacturing.

The conservative National Review says this, "The radical differences between taxes for manufacturing and other activities would introduce perhaps the biggest and most damaging tax distortion in American history. It would also invite endless fraud."

Your response, sir.

SANTORUM: Well, that's just outrageous. The reason that we have a different rate for taxes for manufacturing is because manufacturers face a different playing field. The hotel that is here right now is not going to move to China. It's not going to be -- jobs are not taken and gone and go to Canada.

The bottom line is that foreign competition that is in large part we are being uncompetitive, because of high rates of taxation, because of government regulation and because of government policy generally is making our manufacturing base uncompetitive with the rest of the world.

The rest of our economy, by and large, is domestically based because it serves the domestic economy. Manufacturing is different. It competes with international competition and particularly with countries that want to take those jobs in their countries.

And so, what I've done is look at where government can allow us to compete and if you look at National Association of Manufacturers, what they've said is that if you exclude labor costs and you compare our cost versus our nine top trading partners, we are 20 percent more expensive. There is no way that we were going to be able to keep those jobs for a national security perspective because manufacturing is key to our domestic -- to our security, to be able to have products that are essential for our national security to be made here in America.

WALLACE: Right.

SANTORUM: But it's also key for wealth creation and particularly wealth creation for the blue collar workers in America.

WALLACE: But, Senator, the --

SANTORUM: So, I disagree with those folks. We do need to have a different rate of tax to compete against the Chinas and the Mexicos.

WALLACE: But the counter of that, the argument would be that you are picking winners and losers, that you have -- you're using the tax code to establish an industrial policy.

Let me give you one other example of this, sir, if I may. You have a plan -- as part of your tax plan, you would triple the tax credit for children.

The Wall Street Journal editorial page says this -- "Mr. Santorum is essentially agreeing with liberals who think that the tax code should be used to pursue social and political goals."

And the conservative Tax Foundation gives your plan a D-plus, sir.

SANTORUM: Yes, well, you look at what's going on in Europe today. What they have a tax code just similar -- actually worse than ours with respect to families and children.

And guess what's happening? They have a demographic winter going on. People aren't having children. Why? Because it's so expensive and government does nothing to help them.

They have reached the point right now where they are paying baby bonuses so people will have children.

What's happening in this country -- we've seen a dramatic increase. The child adoption credit or deduction back then used to be 10 times, almost 10 times what it is today. When the government had a policy that said, we want human capital, we need and actually want children to be here in America and the government has a policy of helping and supporting families because children are the greatest resource. They're the natural resource that creates wealth in this country.

And if it wasn't for immigration, our population would be declining. And one of the biggest reasons, Chris, is the financial burden on families. And the federal government over the years has year by year by year decreased support for families. And guess what's happening? Year by year by year, birth rates are going down.

This is not social engineering. What social engineering is the policies of the last 30 years that have robbed family of the support they used to have in the tax code.

WALLACE: Senator Santorum, we got about one minute left and I want to get in to one last issue with you. In the next segment, we're going to debate Newt Gingrich's attacks and the attacks by his super PAC on Mitt Romney's record as a businessman on Bain Capital. I know that you oppose those and say we shouldn't be attacking -- the Republican Party shouldn't be attacking free enterprise.

The speaker now says that the super PAC should either correct its ads or take them down. But the super PAC, and we're going to be talking to one of their senior advisers, says we're not going to do that until Romney clears the record.

Here's the question for you, sir. I know that super PACs are legally independent. But what does it say about the candidate if he can't get a legally independent super PAC that supports him to change its actions, to do something different? For instance, do you think the red, white and blue fund would support you, do you think, if you said, I want you to take down an ad, do you think they'd listen to you?

SANTORUM: I hope so. I hope anybody supporting my campaign would listen to what I have to say. I hope Governor Romney will have his PAC take down an ad that's running against me in South Carolina saying that I want felons to be able to vote. That's an absolute lie.

I voted for a provision that said if a felon serves his term, serves his parole and probation, and then after that period of time, he can be restored his voting rights, which is exactly the law here in South Carolina, that --

WALLACE: If I may, sir, and we got about --

SANTORUM: And so, Governor Romney should be saying to his PAC, take that ad down, it's false. It gives the impression I want people to be voting from jail. And those are the kinds of things if candidates, when they see their super PACs doing things, whether it's Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney, they should stand up and say, this is false, I repudiate that and they should take it down.

WALLACE: And if the super PAC ignores them?

SANTORUM: Well, obviously, Governor Romney doesn't have the persuasion -- if can't persuade his own people to do something, how is he going to persuade the American public and Democrats to get things done?

WALLACE: You say the same thing for Newt Gingrich?

SANTORUM: I say the same thing with Newt Gingrich.

WALLACE: Senator Santorum, we're going to have to leave it there. I want to thank you so much for joining us and we'll see you down the campaign trail, sir.

SANTORUM: Thank you.

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