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CNN "State of the Union with Candy Crowley" - Transcript

Interview

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BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

CROWLEY: Joining me now, former Senator Rick Santorum. Thanks so much for being with us. I want to start out by asking about the new ad that Mitt Romney has up and running in Illinois, where you will next meet after Puerto Rico.

And in it, he basically says, listen, you've got -- you've never run a business and you've never run a state. And so how can you possibly be an executive? And both those things are true, are they not?

SANTORUM: Well, I have never run a state, that's for sure. I have worked in business. I worked in -- with a small technology company for three years after I left the United States Senate.

CROWLEY: This is about running, you know, sort of managing something.

(CROSSTALK)

SANTORUM: Well, no, I was the number two guy at a small technology company and did, in fact, help manage and get this company off the ground and as a startup. And it was a great experience and one that I learned a lot through that process. So that's not completely accurate.

I served on the board of a public company. So I, you know, I have some -- obviously was a lawyer and practiced law for a while. So I've had a fair amount of experience in the private sector.

But the real issue is, you know, the -- running a business is not the same as being President of the United States.

You know, what -- look at what Governor Romney did when he was governor of Massachusetts, 47th out of 50 states in job creation. Raising taxes by $758 million. Imposing a huge government-run health care system on the people of Massachusetts with taxes and fines and fees and mandates. That's a record that I understand he's running from.

But it's the public record that really is at stake here, and if Governor Romney thinks that is he the CEO of America and can run and manage the economy, he doesn't understand what conservatives believe in.

We don't want someone in Washington, D.C., to manage the economy. We want to get Washington out of our lives, to reduce these mandates, get rid of things like RomneyCare at the federal level, which we call ObamaCare, and do some things to get this economy going by believing in the private sector, something that Governor Romney showed no indication he's in favor.

CROWLEY: Let me ask it to you this way, because you do have to manage a very large executive branch. You are kind of the CEO of that. So when we look at Illinois, you are ineligible for 10 of the 69 delegates that are at stake on Tuesday, because you didn't file enough signatures.

You're not going to be on the ballot in the District of Columbia. You weren't on the ballot in Virginia. There were not full slates in Tennessee and Ohio where you could have picked up some more delegates. So what does that say about your ability to manage if you can't get these process things done to run for president? SANTORUM: That's pretty funny, Candy. You know, Governor Romney spent about $70 million, had huge amounts of resources, huge staff. You know, during the time that these delegates had to be filed for these states, I was driving around in a truck with a guy named Chuck in Iowa, you know, breathing through a swizzle stick and running a marathon.

And, you know, it's amazing, thing is, we're on as many states as we are, given the resources that we had and the lack of attention we had from the media. And yet we devoted resources in December.

When I was sitting at 2 and 3 percent in the national polls, I decided not to spend money in Iowa. I decided to file -- to get on the ballots in all of these states, use the very scarce resources we had, not to put television ads or do anything to invest in Iowa, but to invest in getting on the ballot.

And we had to use volunteer efforts in some states where they required a lot of petition signatures and you know what? We did an amazing job with -- except for the small handful of states where we came up a little short in some delegates, you know, we were able to get volunteers and organize a campaign.

Can you imagine -- think about what we've done in this campaign with the limited resources. We're now here. No one gave us a chance.

We didn't have any of the resources that any of these other candidates had, and yet because of our organizational ability, our ability to take limited resources and turn them into votes and winning 10 states, that's amazing, with the fact that we've been outspent over 10 :1 just in our campaign and with the super PAC, more than 10:1.

And here we are. The real question you should ask, Candy, is Governor Romney, why with tens and hundreds of millions of dollars hasn't he been able to do anything to get this nomination even close to cemented away.

CROWLEY: But that's a political question as opposed to a -- that's a political question --

(CROSSTALK)

SANTORUM: No, it's not. It's not a political question at all. No, I disagree with that. When you have this amount of resources and this amount of advantage, you can't manage and deliver the mail and win this nomination, that shows a real weakness in his ability to be able to govern.

CROWLEY: Let me ask you -- move you to this delegate race, that we're now in the race for the nomination. If there comes a point that it is clear you cannot get 1,144 delegates before the end of the primary process, would you stay in to deny Mitt Romney that nomination? If he could still get it and --

(CROSSTALK) SANTORUM: Well, first up, as you know, Candy, number one, our calculation of the delegate count is very different than what is out there. I mean we --

CROWLEY: Sure. This is just a hypothetical.

SANTORUM: -- we are undercounted.

CROWLEY: Sure. No, I mean, I take it that you --

SANTORUM: Well, we'll wait and see how the --

CROWLEY: -- is different than his counting. But just if you -- if you should get to a point where you no longer -- you look at it and your math says to you, I can't get enough delegates in this process, would you say, but I'm going to stay in and deny it to Mitt Romney and go for that brokered convention?

SANTORUM: Well, obviously, you know, we are in this to win. We're in this because we think that we're the best candidate to take on President Obama, and we believe that Governor Romney is not.

And in fact, he's uniquely disqualified as some of the biggest issues of the day, like ObamaCare and bailouts and cap and trade and government control of your lives, that in fact there's very little difference in some of the big issues of the day and that's a great vulnerability.

And so I think -- what I'm hearing is, from people across this country, is we want a conservative nominee, that the establishment is trying to push a moderate, like they did in 1976 against Ronald Reagan, like they did in 1996 with Bob Dole, and what they did four years ago with John McCain.

And I think conservatives would like an opportunity to nominate a conservative and we're going to give them that opportunity.

CROWLEY: So is that a yes, that you would stay in it to force a brokered convention, rather than get out when your chances of winning through the primary process is over?

SANTORUM: Well, you know, if -- I guess you have to -- the hypothetical also presumes this, that Governor Romney cannot get there. If through -- if through running this entire process, and if he can't get there with the huge advantages he has, I think it tells you something about his support within the Republican base, which is vitally important to be energized, and his likelihood that he will be successful, with the overwhelming advantages that he had in this primary, for him not being able to be successful, he's not going to have those overwhelming advantages in the general election.

He's not going to be able to outspend and pound his opponent into the ground with a 10:1 money advantage. And if he can't win a state without doing that, that tells you that he may not be our strongest candidate. In fact, it tells you he would not be our strongest candidate. CROWLEY: So I'm not real sure I'm going to get a totally direct answer to that so I want to move you to something that's been on your website, that's gotten a lot of buzz and it's your position on pornography and one of the things you say in promising a tougher crackdown on pornography is that, quote, "The Obama Department of Justice seems to favor pornographers over children and families."

I just need to ask you to back that up. Do you honestly believe there are people in the Department of Justice who favor pornographers over children and families? Do you believe that?

SANTORUM: You have to look at the proof that's in the prosecution. Under the Bush administration, pornographers were prosecuted much more rigorously than they are under existing law, than they under the Obama administration. So you draw your conclusion.

CROWLEY: Well, what's your conclusion?

(CROSSTALK)

SANTORUM: Whether the administration has not put a -- my conclusion is they have not put a priority on prosecuting these cases.

SANTORUM: And in doing so they are exposing children to tremendous amount of harm and that to me says that they're putting -- they're putting the un-enforcement of this law and putting children at risk as a result of that.

CROWLEY: I want to play for our listeners something that you said at a rally last night. This was in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, talking about the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: We need a president that's going to go out and -- presidential nominee is going to go out and draw a clear contrast between President Obama and his failed policies here at home and, of course, his failed policies where he's been the weak horse, the appeaser in chief around the world with evil.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: Appeaser in chief around the world with evil. Where is, for instance for that, for our listeners.

SANTORUM: Well, Iran is --

CROWLEY: Where do you think the president has been an appeaser with evil?

SANTORUM: Iran is the principal place. That is the principal problem that we're facing on the national security front right now. A nuclear Iran. And he has repeatedly sided with the government of Iran.

In the Green Revolution in 2009 when people were pleading on the streets, holding signs and asking President Obama to help overthrow this theocracy that's developing, a nuclear weapon that's killing our men and women in uniforms with improvised explosive devices made in Iran that's attacking American troops through the surrogates and terrorist organize and yet --

CROWLEY: But isn't the tough sanctions, there'll be new sanctions?

SANTORUM: -- we have an opportunity to overthrow and side with the Persian people.

CROWLEY: There's new sanctions coming up, he's gathered world opinion. Isn't that better than, you know, going in with troops or whatever? What is it you're suggesting he should have been doing?

SANTORUM: Well, first off, he should have been aligning himself with the Persian people and the pro-democracy movement in Iran to topple this regime. This radical theocracy that's developing a nuclear weapon and spreading terror around the world. And he did not do that and here he says, you know, I'm going impose tough sanctions after he denied that and tried to stop those sanctions from going in place.

Only his own party got him in the Senate and the House got him kicking and screaming to oppose and oppose these sanctions. What has he done since then? This U.N. resolution that say there will be no negotiations with the Iranians until they stop processing their nuclear material. And what did the president do? He overstepped those things. He ignored that precondition and has been negotiating directly with Iran as Iran is continuing to develop their nuclear weapons.

CROWLEY: Senator --

SANTORUM: Buying time. This is doing exactly what the Iranian want to do. This is the weak horse that's in this region and the Israeli people, Benjamin Netanyahu came here and said, time is up. We need your help. The very next day he started negotiating with to this country and said Mr. President, time is up. We need your help and he the very next day started negotiating with Iran without precondition and allowing them the opportunity to continue to develop their nuclear weapons. That is weakness.

CROWLEY: Senator Santorum, I always wish there was more time. But thank you for joining us this morning.

SANTORUM: Thank you, Candy.

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