BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Personal story segment tonight.
According to the latest Rasmussen poll taken yesterday, after the votes in Michigan and Arizona, Mitt Romney now leads the Republican field nationwide with 40 percent; Rick Santorum 24; Newt Gingrich, 16; Ron Paul, 12.
That's a 13-point improvement for Romney in about two weeks.
And joining us now from Spokane, Washington, Rick Santorum campaigning for that state's vote on Saturday.
So, let's talk some tactics here. Ten states on Tuesday. Washington state as I mentioned on Saturday.
The money factor becomes huge now to buy TV time in all those places, right?
RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's absolutely true. I mean, we have been very, very successful. This month, last month of February, we raised $9 million dollars.
Here is the key, Bill, two thirds of those donors came from small dollar donations, compared to 9 percent of Governor Romney's from small dollar donors. So, we got 130,000 donors. We got a grassroots effort out here that, you know, trying to combat, you know, the inside crowd, the folks that you know, the good old boys funding Romney's campaign. We have got grassroots America funding our campaign.
O'REILLY: Ok. How do you evaluate Barack Obama's religion or spirituality? I mean, if he is your opponent, are you going to go after Obama on the religious issue? Do you think he's a Christian? Do you think he values people of faith? What do you think on that area?
SANTORUM: His personal faith is none of my concern. What is my concern is the values he's trying to impose on people of faith. And that's exactly what he did with respect to this HHS regulation. When he says that the state
O'REILLY: Why did he do it though? If he were a Christian and he saw things the way that do you and I think I'm more similar to you than the President, you know, a Christian wouldn't be telling other Christians, hey, you have to put your belief system aside and do what the government tells you as far as birth control or anything else.
So, certainly you
O'REILLY: you've thought about Barack Obama and how he approaches religion and spirituality. You must have thought about it.
SANTORUM: Well, I don't think it has to do with whether a Christian can tell another Christian. It's whether a public official can tell someone of faith whether they are forced to violate the religious tenets because the government tells them they have to do it. You know this wasn't the only time.
O'REILLY: Why would President Obama do that because he's the guy that drove the policy. Biden didn't want to do it. The Vice President didn't want to do it. He told President Obama not to do it. President Obama made the decision to do it.
So, it's on him. He is the guy that wants to do it. And he says he is a Christian.
Why would you want to do it?
SANTORUM: Well, because I think what is he doing is saying the states' rights are more important than religious rights. He says the state has the ability to trump faith when the state wants to impose their values.
O'REILLY: Again, we have to go back to the president, the man, because if you are going to oppose him, you are going to have to convince Americans that you are a better man than he is. Your vision is better but that you have a much more sensible approach than he does. And I still don't get any feeling from you about how you feel about the president, the man.
How do you feel about him as a man?
SANTORUM: I think the president has a very, very left wing ideology who tries to take every opportunity to take more and centralize more power in Washington, D.C. I don't think he is a bad person. I think he is a good father. He is a good husband.
But he is a very convicted ideologue who wants to impose his view of state control of things on the American public. He's done it with health care. He did it with the government takeovers. He wanted to do it with cap and trade.
He's doing it on the energy policy right now where this I called it radical ideology of putting, you know, the earth above the needs of man and the quality of life in this country. That is a fundamental misunderstanding. It's our job as people, as stewards of this earth to preserve the earth, but also to use it for our benefit while preserving it. He doesn't see it that way.
O'REILLY: All right. Last question: some conservatives believe I'm sure you have heard this that Barack Obama wants to do what you have just accused him of doing, to radically change the country from a capitalistic, free market enterprise to a more quasi-socialistic Western European type thing, and is he trying to break down the gas industry, the oil industry, the capitalistic market, he's trying to break it down on purpose in order to build up the other thing.
Do you buy into that?
SANTORUM: Well, I buy that he is certainly building dependency in this country. He's building up government control of things. And whether he is trying to deliberately break it down really isn't the point. Just that because government can't do what millions of consumers and entrepreneurs have proven over the past 235 years of American history that we do better than everybody else which is freedom and building a great country from the bottom up. He is someone who believes that you build great countries from the top down.
And that's why this election is the most important election of our lifetime.
O'REILLY: All right, Senator. We appreciate your time. We know you are very busy. Thank you.