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

Interview

By:  Rick Santorum
Date: March 4, 2012
Location: Unknown

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I'm Chris Wallace.

There are 10 states and more than 400 delegates in play. It's the countdown to Super Tuesday.

With primaries and caucuses across the country, we'll ask presidential candidate Rick Santorum where he needs to win to regain momentum in the race. Rick Santorum -- a "Fox News Sunday" exclusive.

Then, President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu get ready to discus what to do about Iran. We'll explore how to keep that rogue nation from going nuclear with two key senators, Republican Lindsey Graham and Democrat Richard Blumenthal.

Also, U.S. soldiers are targeted in Afghanistan and the Syrian government attacks its own citizens. We'll ask our Sunday panel how the president should handle both hot spots.

And our power player of the week gets ready for March Madness.

All right now on "Fox News Sunday."

(MUSIC)

And hello again from Fox News in Washington. While all eyes are on Super Tuesday, Washington state held its caucuses Saturday and here are the results: Mitt Romney won with 38 percent, Ron Paul finished second with 25 percent, Rick Santorum was chose behind at 24, Newt Gingrich was last.

On Tuesday, 10 states are up with more delegates at take than all contests combined up until now.

Joining us from Tennessee, one of the states that votes on Super Tuesday, is former Senator Rick Santorum.

And, Senator, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."

RICK SANTORUM, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks. Thank you, Chris. Good to be with you.

WALLACE: Good to be with you, sir.

Ohio is I think it's generally agreed the biggest prize on Super Tuesday, and it would seem to be tailor-made for you -- blue collar, manufacturing, lots of rural areas, big evangelical vote. Don't you have to win there, sir?

SANTORUM: Well, we are going to do very, very well there, I believe that. I mean, it's a tough state for us only because of the fact that -- with the money disadvantage, but we've got a great grassroots campaign. We are hanging in there and we feel very confident that we're going to do well.

As you know, it's always harder when you got two conservative candidates running in the race as we have seen in Washington and we've seen in some of the other states. We have the anti-Romney vote, if you will. Both Gingrich and I are slugging away.

We just need to show that we are the best candidate to go head-to-head. And if you look at all of the races, it's Governor Romney and me, one or two, or in this case in Washington, Congressman Paul spent a lot of time out there. But we are the ones that are the alternative, the real clear alternative. And, you know, eventually hopefully the race will settle out and we'll go one on one. And once that happens, we feel very comfortable we're going to win this thing.

WALLACE: Well, you raise the question -- should Newt Gingrich drop out?

SANTORUM: Well, that's up for him to decide. But, clearly, if you continue to combine the votes that Congressman Gingrich and I get, you know, we are pretty doing well. In Michigan, we would have won easily had those two votes been combined.

You know, that's a process. I think Newt has got to figure out, you know, where he goes after Georgia and we're going to see that I think we're going to do well here in Tennessee. We're going to do well in Oklahoma. I think we can do very well also in Ohio and North Dakota, I think we will come in second place in a lot of places, too.

So, again, if you look at, you know, where you can finish first and good second places, again, this race narrows to two candidates over time and that's where we have our opportunity.

WALLACE: On the other hand, because of filing problems, you may be ineligible for 18 of the Ohio's 66 delegates and you're not even on the ballot in Virginia, which means you have to chance for those 49 delegates. The Romney campaign says this is a question of basic competence and they say you flunked.

SANTORUM: Well, as you know, Chris, those delegates had to be filed in Virginia and all the way back in early part of December. And, you know, look, I'll be honest, I mean, I was running across the state of Iowa and, you know, sitting in 2 percent of the national polls, with very, very limited resources, you know, we didn't have the ability to go out.

I think it is remarkable that if you look at all of the states other than the handful in Ohio and in Virginia, where we weren't the only that didn't get on the ballot. Rick Perry didn't get on, with a lot of resources, and Newt Gingrich who had a lot of resources didn't get back on.

You know, we've done amazingly well for a campaign early on that didn't have a lot of resources to go out and do things. We got on a lot of ballots that people just thought we wouldn't.

And I feel very good that we got on enough, clearly enough to be able to win this nomination.

WALLACE: Rush Limbaugh has now apologized to the Georgetown law student who said that her student health plan should cover birth control. But your party is still pushing this issue. In the Senate, they offered a Blunt amendment this week which said that any business, any insurance company could decide on moral grounds not to offer birth control coverage as part of the health insurance plan.

Do you really want to be campaigning on contraception in the year 2012?

SANTORUM: Well, the Blunt amendment was broader than that as you know. I mean, it was a conscience clause exception. I mean, it's a conscience clause exception that existed prior to when President Obama decided that he could impose his values on people of faith when the people of faith believed that this is a grievous moral wrong.

WALLACE: But, respectfully, sire -- let me just say. But the Blunt amendment wasn't just talking about Catholic institutions, Catholic colleges, charities.

SANTORUM: Right.

WALLACE: It was saying any, you know, U.S. deal, any company, any insurance company could decide not to offer birth control.

SANTORUM: If there -- no, no, it wasn't about birth control. It was about a moral exception to any type of mandate. It didn't specify birth control.

WALLACE: No, but including birth control. Right, any treatment.

SANTORUM: Well, yes, this is a conscience clause exception, which used to be something that was unanimously agreed to. Daniel Patrick Moynihan back in the Hillarycare bill offered a similar bill and it was widely -- it was accepted widely.

The idea that the government can force people to do things that they believe are morally wrong is something that heretofore was seen as an outrage that the government, there would be a separation of church and state. You hear so much about the left say, oh, we need to separate church and state. Well, how about the separation of church and state when the state wants to force the church and people who are believers into doing something that they don't want to do?

And as you know, in that amendment, it said that if people want to object to certain treatments, that the secretary of health could require them to adopt other treatments. So, it's actually the same. So, it's not something where people can say, well, we're just going to get out of paying for these things because we don't want to for them. It's -- well, there's real, clear conscious protection for the people of faith, the government should not be forcing people to do things that are against their conscience. That is a hallmark of America and absolutely anchored in the First Amendment.

WALLACE: But, Senator, it is more than a issue of faith and conscience and religious freedom. You say that you believe that birth control is wrong. Take a look.

BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: Many in the Christian faith have said, well, that's OK, contraception is OK. It's not OK. It's a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to what -- how things are supposed to be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Senator, the Centers for Disease Control say that 99 percent of the women in this country, between the ages of 15 and 44 who had sexual activity -- and this includes Catholic women, they say that 99 percent of them at some point in their lives have used artificial birth control.

Are you saying that all of those women have done something wrong?

SANTORUM: I'm reflecting the views of the church that I believe in. And we used to be tolerant of those beliefs. I guess, now, when you have beliefs that are consistent with the church, somehow or another, you are out of the mainstream. And that to me is a pretty sad situation when you can't have personal health belief.

But that's not what the issue is about. The issue is about whether the government can force you to do things that are against your conscience. And that's what we've been talking about on the road. We haven't been talking about my own moral beliefs. We've been talking about what the government can do in forcing people to change or violate those beliefs.

WALLACE: One last question on social issues. You say that churches and faith-based organizations have a big role to play in helping the poor, helping people who are disadvantaged.

I want to ask you about the 2010 tax returns because in them, they show that President Obama gave 14 percent of his income to charity. Mitt Romney almost 14 percent. You gave 1.76 percent.

Why so little, sir?

SANTORUM: Well, I mean, we always need to do better. I was in the situation where we have seven children and one disabled child who we take care of and she's very, very expensive. We love her and we cherish the opportunity to take care of her. But she's -- it's an additional expense and we have round the clock care for it and our insurance company doesn't cover it, so I pay for it. And you know, that's one of the things that, you know, you have to balance the needs of your immediate family.

And if you look back in the previous years, we did donate more. And it's an area that I need to do better and will do better.

WALLACE: Actually, we looked at your charitable returns, I think since 2007. And in every case, it was around 2 percent. You talked about --

SANTORUM: Well, it was 3 percent or 4 percent in some cases, but that's OK. Again, we were dealing -- we are dealing with a situation in our own family. I have seven children. During those four years, we had our little girl, and it was -- it's very costly. She is very costly.

Again, I'm not making excuse except for the fact that, you know, every families go through periods of times where they have to donate -- dedicate resources to the problems they have in their own family and taking care of people. And that's what we did.

WALLACE: Absolutely. You talk about the cost of education. You caused quite a stir recently when you criticized President Obama's education policy. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: But, Senator, we look back. The president has never said that. This is what he did say in his first address to Congress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training. It can be a community college or four year school, vocational training or an apprenticeship.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: The reason I asked that, Senator, we look back at your 2006 Web site when you were running for reelection back in 2006. And here's what your campaign put up in your Web site: "Rick Santorum has supported legislative solutions that provide loans, grants and tax incentives to make higher education more accessible and affordable."

Question: Weren't you then right where Barack Obama is now?

SANTORUM: Well, all I can tell you is that I support people being able to go to and have the opportunity to go wherever they want to go. But I wanted to make sure that we focus not just on four-year college degrees and we understand there are a lot of different training opportunities for people both in technical schools and in going to the military, or going to a lot of other places that we need to make sure that we affirm all of those choices.

WALLACE: But that's what the president as well, sir.

SANTORUM: Well, again, maybe I was reading some things that -- you know, I've read some columns where at least it was characterized that the president said, we should go to four-year colleges. If I was in error, I certainly -- you say you haven't found that. I've certainly read that. If it was in error, then I agree with the president that we should have options for people to go to variety of different training options for them.

WALLACE: You also say that you were never -- although you voted for No Child Left Behind, you were never for it. And, in fact, you took one for the team. But again, we want to look --

SANTORUM: No, that's not true. I didn't say that. I said -- I supported it and I said subsequently that I made a mistake. I mean --

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: You said you took one for the team? What was that about?

SANTORUM: Well, there were thing in that bill that I didn't like. And, you know, there is huge amount of education spending that I absolutely didn't like, a lot of people didn't like.

But, as you know, about 90 percent of the Senate voted for it because there were in things in there I did like which was the education testing part of it and trying to get some determination as to how our schools were performing. I think that was important to do to get some sort of measurement. It's ultimately what happened with the implantation of this bill and that spending which gave me heart burn then and I didn't like then seem to then become the dominant part of what No Child Left Behind was about.

And that's why I said, you know, that was a mistake in voting for the spending and government control and overstate and local schools.

WALLACE: That brings me to my point, sir, because I want to go back to what you said in your 2006 Web site when you were running for reelection. "Rick Santorum supported the No Child Left Behind Act, which has been the most historic legislative initiative enhancing education opportunities to pass in Congress in decades."

Now, this was five years after you voted for it. And in 2006, you are campaigning based on your support for No Child Left Behind, when you found out what it was about and all of the spending.

SANTORUM: Well, as I've said before that having the testing was very, very important. And in fact, the first part of that when it was implemented, what we did see is a lot of testing, a lot of evidence that came out that our schools were failing. And I think that was an important thing to have accomplished, you know, subsequently, particularly under this president, we've seen -- and later in President Bush's term, we saw an explosion of education spending which I objected to.

WALLACE: Couple of final questions: I want to talk about your economic plan. You would set two tax rates, 28 percent and 10 percent. You would cut the corporate tax rate in half, to 17.5 percent. You would start reforming entitlements now, not in 10 years. And you would cut spending $5 trillion in five years.

The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget says even if you could get all those things through Congress, you would end up adding to the deficit, largely because of your tax cuts by $4.5 trillion over the next 10 years.

Your response?

SANTORUM: Well, this is -- these are these organizations that don't believe that when you reduce taxes, that you get more economic growth. And I just don't accept the economic models that they use. We've seen in the past when Reagan and Bush, particularly Reagan, made the cuts, the kind of dramatic cuts that we're suggesting here, you see a huge spike in growth and more revenues coming into federal government.

They don't -- they don't use dynamic scoring. They basically say, if you cut things, you're going to get less money, period. And they don't accept the facts that the economy is going to grow faster.

So, I just don't accept the premise of their argument. I think that we've seen in the past that cutting taxes does create growth, cutting regulations as we do in this, our plan, we repeal every single one of Obama's regulation that cost $100 million to the economy, which is -- you know, last year alone was $150, which is two and half times the average under Clinton and Bush. We're going to go out and change the entire environment in this country so we can see real economic growth and you'll see more revenue as a result.

WALLACE: We're going to have to leave it there. Senator Santorum, we want to thank you so much for coming in and talking with us. Safe travels on the campaign trail, sir. I know you've got a bit of a cold. I hope you feel better and we'll see how things go on Tuesday night.

SANTORUM: Thank you. Appreciate it, Chris.

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