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Fox News "The O'Reilly Factor" - Transcript


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Now for "Top Story" tonight: Rick Santorum polling around 15 percent in Florida. And he is not even campaigning there today. The Senator's 3- year-old daughter Bella remains in intensive care in Pennsylvania with pneumonia. So Mr. Santorum obviously has to care for her in addition to carrying on with his campaign. The Senator joins from us now from St. Louis.

So how is Bella today, Senator?

SANTORUM: She is much better. Yesterday afternoon she really made a turn and the chest x-rays dramatically improved. I just want to thank everybody for -- for their prayers and their outpouring of support for -- for Bella and for Karen and the family. And it -- it worked. I mean, she -- she had a very, very tough time of it on Saturday.

It was sort of miraculous, Bill, I haven't been home since Christmas Day and the one day I was home was the day that she -- she really started to have a lot of problems and we ended up for the first time in three years she hasn't been in the hospital in three years.

She has a condition called Trisomy 18, which is a condition that -- that makes you susceptible to -- to having problems if you get sick, severe problems. And so we were just very blessed that we had a good team there and she has turned it around and she is doing great.

I just talked to my wife. And she's on the mend and hopefully be out of the hospital in a couple of days. So we're feeling very good about things.

O'REILLY: That must make it very difficult for you, Senator. I mean I know you're committed to the campaign but certainly family comes first. And you have your little daughter in this kind of a condition. It's got -- it's got to be very, very tough for you to deal with both of them, am I wrong?

SANTORUM: No, it's incredibly hard. You know it's one of the sacrifices that you make obviously as any candidate. And Karen and I have seven children. And we have a couple of them on the road with us. The older ones who are out of -- out of school and they are traveling with us a lot. But you know the other ones are behind. And it's a sacrifice. And particularly a sacrifice given this little girl who is -- who is already well, well, well outlived her life expectancy and it's just -- really a -- a unique and a terrific little girl.

She is the joy of our lives. She is the most pleasant, sweet little girl you would ever want to meet. And she is sort of the center of the family. And I miss her terribly when I'm on the road but in many respects one of the reasons I'm out here is because, you know, fighting for little kids like Bella who in many respects are, I think are going to be left behind whether it's Obama care or whether it's a system where government is going to start to evaluate people not based on who they are or what they are but what they can do.

And that to me is a world that I don't want to be a part of and I'm going to fight to make sure it never happens.

O'REILLY: Ok. You heard my "Talking Points" memo and it looks -- and we're going to get into the analysis.


O'REILLY: It looks pretty clear that Mitt Romney will win from the -- from the votes that have already been cast in the three bellwether counties. And again, we'll get into this during the program. Let's assume that Romney does very well in Florida. You're in Missouri right now because there is a primary there but it's a nonbinding, no delegate primary.


O'REILLY: Do you stay in if the odds then rise against you to the point where there is not a lot of money coming in, do you stay in the race?

SANTORUM: Oh, absolutely. You know, the money is coming in. We've - - we've done very, very well. Just over the last four or five days we have raised about a half a million dollars online. Things have -- have really done well since the last debate. We think we separated ourselves out from the pack really very well and, in fact, the last three debates

Since it got down to four, we feel like we've gotten our stride here. And while Florida is a very, very expensive place to play and one that I -- I just certainly couldn't play in from a financial point of view we spend time down there. I think we're going to have a good vote down there. I think as you mentioned there are a lot of voters --


O'REILLY: You get yes, I think you get 13 percent or 14 percent. But -- but let's be realistic here, Senator, you get -- you've got nothing really coming up. Nevada is Romney territory. That's a caucus. Minnesota, I don't know what's going on in Minnesota. That's another caucus and then there's nonbinding thing where you are in Missouri.


O'REILLY: But it's all up to Super Tuesday -- and Super Tuesday is going to be an enormous financial buy. I mean and only Romney --



O'REILLY: He's the only guy that's got the bucks right now. I don't know how you compete, it's not about you or your ideology or who you are or anything like that.



O'REILLY: It's about the reality of money in this country.

SANTORUM: Well, let me just say a couple of things. First up, it's proportional. The -- the delegates are going to be assigned proportional and so winning, while it's a good thing, it's not everything because delegates are going to be assigned based on the percentage of the vote that you get. And you know I think it's very important to understand that --


O'REILLY: But Florida is winner take all. Florida is winner take all but look --



O'REILLY: -- you know what I'm talking about here. It becomes a very, very long, long shot for you, all right? As Romney's -- rises in money and donations. Gingrich I don't know what he's going to do. I really just don't know. But we're going to try to find out.

But it becomes very difficult for you to really compete. Now some people say well, it's worth hanging on because, number one, your message gets out. You continue to get your message out. You become a player at the convention and if anything were to befall Mitt Romney or whoever the leader is, you are in position, is that entering into your thinking?

SANTORUM: Well, I think one thing we do know about this race, Bill is if you don't like what's going on in the race wait a week or two. We've seen -- we've seen this race change literally a dozen times in the last seven or eight months --


O'REILLY: That's true, but there's nothing in between now in Florida and Super Tuesday. There is no event that could -- unless it comes out of the news world. Go I'll give you the last word. Go ahead.

SANTORUM: Well we -- no I mean we have caucuses, you mentioned Colorado which is another caucus. That -- these caucuses are important. I mean, there are -- there are delegates at stake at these caucuses and it's important. And in Missouri even the primary, even though it's nonbinding, you know, a strong vote here for us I think will -- will tell the story.

There is a lot of restlessness among conservatives. They are not happy with -- with Governor Romney. They are not happy with -- increasingly not happy with Newt Gingrich and the way his campaign is and some of the things that have been highlighted. And they are looking for someone as an alternative.

And I do believe that this is an episode of "Survivor", Bill. We hang in there this race will come back to us just at the right time.

O'REILLY: Well listen Senator, I can't argue with you. Because you came out of nowhere in Iowa, you've been very competitive. Nobody thought that was going to happen. So you hang in there and our best to your family. And if we can do anything for Bella or for your family you let us know please.

SANTORUM: Thank you.

O'REILLY: Ok, thanks Senator we appreciate it.

SANTORUM: Thanks Bill, I appreciate it.

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