CNN "The Situation Room" - Transcript

Interview

By:  Rick Santorum
Date: Feb. 24, 2012
Location: Unknown

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BORGER: So, how do you respond to Governor Romney's criticism that you're taking it for a bunch of Washington insiders and that you play by insider rules because you're one of them?

RICK SANTORUM, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oh, my goodness. What team is Governor Romney on when he voted and led the fight along with Ted Kennedy for government-run healthcare in Massachusetts? What team was he on when he appointed that the most liberal judges, activist liberal judges to the court in Massachusetts?

You know, what team on it when he had that healthcare bill that provided for $50 abortions when he stood up and made the Catholic Church violate their conscience in that healthcare bill?

What team was he on when he attended Planned Parenthood fundraisers and filled out questionnaires that he was going to be a leader in the cause of -- look, Governor Romney has been on the wrong team, and so, maybe he doesn't understand when I was supporting President Bush and his initiative, that he had taken to the American public.

That's the team I was on, trying to get accountability in education. The bottom line is, Governor Romney supports that bill. That's the amazing thing. I mean, he's criticizing me for something that he supports. This is the hypocrisy of Governor Romney. He's been on the wrong team on a variety of different issues.

The Wall Street bailout. He was on Barack Obama's team when it came to the Wall Street bailout. He's on a cap and trade. He crowed about being with the environmentalist and believed in global warming. I wasn't on any of those teams. I've been on a team of being a conservative and principled in my position.

BORGER: Well, how would you describe the team that Governor Romney's on? What team would you call that?

SANTORUM: Well, I would say that's the left. I'd say that's the problem with Governor Romney and this election.

BORGER: He's a member of the left? SANTORUM: Look at his tax plan. Look at his tax plan. Well, he's for government-run healthcare. He was for government bailout of Wall Street. He was for cap and trade and CO2 emissions. He's not put forward a tax plan which is absolutely insider driven. Governor Romney has some 295 lobbyists who have contributed to his campaign. A bunch of them are actually running his campaign and --

BORGER: But Governor Romney would say -- but Governor Romney would say you left your job in the Senate and became a lobbyist yourself, right?

SANTORUM: I was not a lobbyist. I absolutely was not a lobbyist. I never did a lobbying or even anything close to lobbying. I was out there working in the private sector. I was managing -- I was a number two guy at a company, a start-up company, for three years. I was out writing. I was out lecturing on public policy. I was not a lobbyist.

BORGER: OK.

SANTORUM: And Governor Romney knows this is the kind of stuff that he does. He attacks personally. I'm talking about Governor Romney's positions on the issues. The positions on the issues for Governor Romney, for example, his tax bill, which adopts the rhetoric of the Occupy Wall Street folks.

He says we're going to cut taxes, and then, we're going to increase taxes on the one percent to make sure it's revenue neutral. We don't need someone that's going to adopt their playbook as our nominee.

BORGER: Senator, let me show you something. The new Gallup daily tracking poll is out. You are in a contest for the presidency. And if you look at these numbers, today you're at 33 percent. On Tuesday, before our debate, you were 36 percent. You've dropped a few points. Governor Romney has gone up one point.

You're still ahead, but are you coming out today and really attacking Governor Romney because you're worried that these attacks on you is an insider part of Washington or actually starting to stick?

SANTORUM: Well, it's funny. I mean, Governor Romney has gone full bore at attacking Rick Santorum, and you know, he's doing so falsely and he's misrepresenting his record. Even at the debate, Gloria. He went out and basically didn't tell the truth about his position on forcing the Catholic Church to go against their values and catholic hospitals in distributing the morning after pill.

BORGER: But are you afraid that --

SANTORUM: This is something that's a direct misrepresentation, and I'm not going to stand for him lying about his own record and lying about and misrepresenting mine.

BORGER: Well, you sound to me a little bit like Newt Gingrich when Newt Gingrich was attacked by Mitt Romney in Iowa and other states. Are you sort of thinking he's trying to do to you what he did to Gingrich?

SANTORUM: Yes, it's a pattern. I mean, everybody that's ever been up against Mitt Romney, he's doing what he's doing in Michigan. He has a Super PAC out there outspending, whoever it is, by a huge amount of money trying to misrepresent their record as well as he's done and misrepresent his.

I'm going to go out and tell the truth about my record. I'm going to go out and tell the truth about Governor Romney's record. I'm going to go out and tell the truth about what we're going to do to change this country, and that I'm the best candidate to contrast with Barack Obama because I've got a solid principle record on the important issues of the day, and that is cutting, spending, balancing the budget, growing this economy, making it inclusive for manufacturers and people working in the energy fields, so blue collar people can get jobs in this country.

We're going to talk about the importance of making sure that the American family is stable and prosperous. That's what our agenda is.

(CROSSTALK)

SANTORUM: And Governor Romney wants to talk about dead issues of the past where he was in fact in agreement with me and he's criticizing me on those issues. I'm not going to let him get away with it and change the topic --

BORGER: Well, that's on support -- that's on support for no child left behind. But let me ask you something also, that those of us who cover this race have been noticing. We noticed it at our last debate and we noticed it on the campaign trail which is -- and you have said it, actually.

You said it in the spin room the other night after the debate that you noticed that there seems to be some kind of alliance between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney presumably against you. Do you think there's a deal of some sort?

SANTORUM: Oh, I have no idea. I just found it odd that, you know, Ron Paul supposedly, you know, holds himself out as the libertarian in the race. Certainly not the conservative, his conservative ratings are pathetic, but holds himself out as a libertarian. And someone who is you know for little government that to my knowledge has never attacked Mitt Romney on any of the big government things that he's supported over the years and seems to delight in attacking me.

And here we are in Michigan where we've got a race going on and I don't think Ron Paul is actively campaigning in the state of Michigan.

BORGER: So why? Why? Why --

SANTORUM: Yet he's running -- yet he's -- yet -- but he's running ads in the state of Michigan attacking me. He's only running negative ads attacking me, so you have to --

BORGER: So what do you think is going on between --

SANTORUM: You know you guys do the -- you guys do -- I have no idea. Look, I just look at the situation and we're out there as the real conservative. I'm not the libertarian. I'm not the moderate Republican. I'm the true Reagan conservative in this race and there are folks on either side of the wings in this party who are coming out and trying to attack the real conservative.

And you know what? We are up to it. We have got a record that stands the test of time. It's been a solid record. Standing up and fighting for the conservative principles that Republicans want to see taken to Barack Obama on health care. Romney is disqualified. He's got Obamacare Junior in Massachusetts. He's disqualified on taking on the issue of government takeovers of the -- of Wall Street and you know to suggest he's against Dodd-Frank when Dodd-Frank is simply the follow- on legislation as to what the Congress did in the Wall Street bailouts, again, not credible.

BORGER: OK, Senator Santorum, thanks so much for being with us and we'll see you out on the trail. Thanks.

SANTORUM: Thank you.

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