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Fox News "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren" - Transcript


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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Right now, Senator Rick Santorum joins us. Nice to see you, Senator.

RICK SANTORUM, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, Greta. It's good to be back in the chair.

VAN SUSTEREN: Nice to have you back. You've been on -- you've been on the road a little bit?

SANTORUM: Yes, here for CPAC, so back in Washington, and it's nice to be here. It's good to see you. You're looking great.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, thank you. All right, I'm going to ask you in a second about this new -- this HHS rule. But first, I'm curious -- fund-raising -- in light of the fact that you swept Missouri, Minnesota, Colorado, how's the fund-raising?

SANTORUM: We've done $3 million in three days. It's been just overwhelming. Just thank everybody. It's been a great boost to us. It's obviously given us an opportunity to go out now and really start -- start playing heavily in some states that -- that, you know, we have an opportunity.

Michigan in particular, we think we have a greater message with our "Made in America" plan, and you know, the kind of economic growth that is going to get manufacturing back in this country and grow those jobs in Michigan. And you know, the other side of Michigan, the western side of Michigan, we got, you know, the good, strong conservative values that is -- you know, Grand Rapids and that great western Michigan heartland of America. We think we can run very, very well in the state of Michigan.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you really think you can beat Governor Romney? Because that is his stomping grounds.


VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, his family...


VAN SUSTEREN: You think you can beat him in Michigan?

SANTORUM: Yes, we've got -- look, you know, I came from a steel town in western Pennsylvania, grew up, you know, with working-class roots, and had the opportunity to see what manufacturing means to this country and what it did to the town that I grew up in.

And you know, we're going through the same thing in Michigan as they did in western Pennsylvania. And we put a plan together that's -- without question will make Michigan -- will turn that economy around in a heartbeat.

And that's what folks are looking for. They're looking for somebody who has ideas, that aren't -- maybe -- you know, not the model. I mean, "The Wall Street Journal" called our plan the supply side economics for the working man, and they criticized it. They criticized. Oh, you know, you can't single out manufacturing, just try to help manufacturing. Well, you can if that's where we're losing our jobs.

I was watching your show the other night...


SANTORUM: ... when you had -- when you had your good, dear friend on...

VAN SUSTEREN: Which one?

SANTORUM: Your dear, dear friend, Donald.

VAN SUSTEREN: Oh, Donald? He took a swipe at you!

SANTORUM: Yes, he did.

VAN SUSTEREN: Took a big swipe at you!

SANTORUM: Yes, he did. And...

VAN SUSTEREN: But he sort of -- during the source of the conversation, though, He chilled out on you a little.

SANTORUM: Well, he said, Oh, yes, he talked to me once. ... I talked to him. I was in a -- I had seen him on your show the day before. This was right after the straw poll. And I was in a Sheets, which is a convenience store, you know, one of these gas and -- gas and go place.

And I just got so -- I just was stewing about it. And I finally just picked up the phone and called him. And to his credit, he called me right back. And -- because he was criticizing me, as he did on your show. Well, he lost his last race.

I said, Donald -- I said, Donald, did you ever fail in anything? I said, When you did, did they give you another chance or did they say, "You failed once, you're done"? He failed many times and came back. And I think he's doing pretty well right now.

VAN SUSTEREN: What did he say to you? What did he say to that?

SANTORUM: He said, "Good point". And I said, Well, you know, you learn from failure, don't you? And he said, Yes, you do. And I said, So criticizing me for failing once out of five races that I run -- I run, not particularly a fair way of looking at it. He said, No, you make a good point.

And then I talked to him about what we were doing to combat China and get the manufacturing jobs in this country. And he said, Oh, yes, he said, but you know, you -- you know, you talk about social issues too much.

I said, The only reason I talk about social issues on this campaign right now is I talk about the importance of families in our economy, that when families are broken, it's harder for them to do well economically. And that's just a fact. And you know, why shouldn't we do things to try to help and nurture and support the family? And said, Well, no, I understand that.

So he may not remember that conversation. I remember it very well and...

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, now -- now all the viewers remember it. They've heard it.

SANTORUM: There you go.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, HHS -- the president's "accommodation" today, that's what they're calling it...


VAN SUSTEREN: ... where -- your thought on it because this was his effort to sort of resolve what's obviously been a big problem with the -- with the -- with Catholics and many people on religious freedom.

SANTORUM: Well, when the government says they're going to give you a right, guess what? They can tell you how to exercise that right because now you've given them control. And...

VAN SUSTEREN: Meaning who? Meaning what?

SANTORUM: Well, you've given them control. You've given them your resource...

VAN SUSTEREN: Who's them?

SANTORUM: The government. You've told them, basically, you know, they can -- they're now designing the system of what every insurance policy in America is going to look like. They're going to design the system of how much you're going to pay for that policy, how much you're going to pay if you don't pay for that policy -- in other words, we're going to be fined -- how much your employer's going to pay. You know, all of these things are now going to be managed by the federal government.

Here's the important -- and you really alluded to this. What's insurance for? Do you buy auto insurance for your oil changes or for -- you know, to get gasoline? Of course not! So why is the federal government mandating insurance for something that is not a very expensive medical item? I mean, why are they requiring people -- and particularly -- if this was...

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think the insurance companies really going to pay for this?

SANTORUM: Of course not.

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean -- immunity, they're going to -- they're going to figure out some way to pass it off on everybody else.

SANTORUM: They're going to pass it off to the people who are -- who are -- who are purchasing the policy, which is -- which are Catholic institutions. You know, this is a -- this is a distinction without a difference.

And the bottom line is, you know, President Obama is still trying to force people to buy things that shouldn't even be insured in the first place because insurance is for things that can harm you financially if something bad happens to you. Obviously, you know, birth control is not -- not particularly expensive item, secondly shouldn't be in insurance in the first place and secondly, shouldn't be mandated on top of that.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. You spoke today at CPAC and you said that you're the true conservative. Do you think you're more conservative than the other candidates ... put you on sort of a line, you...

SANTORUM: Here's what I talk about is I think I present the best contrast with President Obama on the big issues.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let me ask you -- all right, how -- if you get the nomination, how do you then, if you're sort of the -- you're sort of the far out on the conservative side (INAUDIBLE) conservative side. How are you going to get the moderates and independents, come general election? How do you convince those people to vote for you?

SANTORUM: Well, I'd say two things. First off, the point I'm making is on the real key issues of the day, the takeover of the health care system by the government with "ObamaCare," the takeover of the financial services sector with the bail-outs and the attempted takeover of energy, particularly energy and some of your manufacturing with cap-and-trade -- Governor Romney and Speaker Gingrich are pretty much with Obama, not with what I think most Americans are.

VAN SUSTEREN: So you think...

SANTORUM: They're against those things.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... the moderates and the independents go with you.

SANTORUM: Yes. I think -- I think...

VAN SUSTEREN: On that. What about the social issues because that's going to be -- you're going to get hit with the social issues.

SANTORUM: Yes, I mean, I'd say Governor Romney and Speaker Gingrich, if you look at their positions and look at mine, they're pretty much identical.

VAN SUSTEREN: On social issues.

SANTORUM: Yes. I mean, they're both pro-life. They're both -- they're both, you know, for traditional marriage. They're both against embryonic stem cell research. I mean, you go down the list of sort of the hot button social issues -- right now -- now...

VAN SUSTEREN: But all right, how about...

SANTORUM: ... they weren't always, but right now, they're maintaining that they have the same position as I do.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, then how -- then how does any Republican -- then let me ask you this way. How does any Republican, come general election, get those swing -- get the moderates and the independents with all of you on these sort of -- on social issues very conservative?

SANTORUM: By definition, a moderate has views in both camps. And so the question is, what's more important to them at the election time, number one? And number two -- and obviously, right now, the issues that are very important, I think for most people, are getting this economy going, getting this ridiculous debt that is being burdening our next generation and our economy today under control by cutting the size and scale of government. I think most moderates and independents feel that way.

And you throw on top of that, the -- you know, the national security posture of our country and this president's continuing flailing away, and particularly the actions toward the state of Israel. I think there are a lot of folks who are not happy about that. And you know, I think those are the -- those are the pressing issues of the day.

And as a result, I feel pretty comfortable that -- that, you know, folks are going to see -- our base, the Republican Party, excited about our candidacy -- about my candidacy because I get the base excited. And I was -- you know, why would folks -- why would folks in the middle vote for someone that even the people who nominated them aren't excited about? They -- at least -- and that was one of the key to his win four years ago was that the people that nominated him were really excited. And that excitement, you know, and momentum has an impact on everybody, not just the people within the base.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so the viewers sort of understand this process, you had how many hours sleep last night?

SANTORUM: About three or four.

VAN SUSTEREN: And what time do you hit the road tomorrow?

SANTORUM: Four -- a little before four.

VAN SUSTEREN: And you hit the road. And you fly off someplace.

SANTORUM: And we're doing this live because my friend, Greta, asked me to come on tonight.


SANTORUM: No, I -- you've been -- you've been...

VAN SUSTEREN: No, but I mean...

SANTORUM: I say that -- you've been very fair in giving an opportunity to come on this show, and I really appreciate that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I just -- I just want the sort of viewers to sort of understand that all the candidates are really running ragged, that there's no sleep for anybody. And you know, it's a tough race for all of you. And I appreciate you coming, and every other one and -- some day, you guys will get some sleep!

SANTORUM: It's worth it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Anyway, Senator, thank you, sir.

SANTORUM: Thank you, Greta.

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