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


Location: Unknown

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Right now, Senator Rick Santorum joins us. Good evening, Senator. Welcome to -- welcome -- how's Michigan, by the way?

RICK SANTORUM, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good evening, Greta. Oh, it's been great. We about had 1,300, 1,400 people here in Oakland County. A week ago, before they announced I was going to be here, they had 300. So we're feeling pretty that we had a lot of folks show up to see us here tonight.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let me ask you about -- I don't know if you've seen this. First of all, is Foster Friess one of your big supporters and a big contributor to a Super-PAC that supports you? Is he one of them?


VAN SUSTEREN: OK. Now, I'm going to play a video for you today that's making the rounds. And I want to know your reaction to this one. We're going to play the video.


FOSTER FRIESS, RICK SANTORUM SUPPORTER: And this contraceptive thing, my gosh, it's so -- it's such inexpensive. You know, back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptions. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn't that costly.


VAN SUSTEREN: All right, now, I know you certainly didn't say that, but -- OK, you shake your head. It certainly is...


VAN SUSTEREN: ... you know, is -- are, you want to say something about it?

SANTORUM: Well, I mean, it's -- look, I'm not going to be responsible for everybody who's -- you know, anybody -- any supporter of mine and what they say. I mean, that's -- that's -- that's -- I'm not going to play that game.
I mean, the bottom line is my position is very clear. I've had a -- a consistent record on this of supporting women's right to have contraception. I've supported funding for it.

So -- I mean, this is a -- this is a -- in my opinion, this is an attack on someone's religious beliefs because I have a very strong belief, as does my family, in agreement with the Catholic church, somehow or another, that that's -- that's a -- that's something that people should be afraid of, shouldn't be afraid of it.

If you look at my record in the public, I've been clear about -- about that issue. I've had a consistent and long voting record on it. And I think this is the media trying to play -- you know, trying to play gotcha. It's -- it's absurd.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, let me -- let me understand. All right there -- let me just sort it out. There are two issues. One is the creepy supporter, you know, the guy who says something really creepy about you and who's -- is a -- who's a huge fund-raiser for your campaign. Will you at least, you know, correct him about -- I mean, I think most women don't think it's particular funny, his comment.

SANTORUM: Yes. No, look, I mean, Foster is known in political circles as telling a lot of jokes, and some of them are not particularly funny, which this one was not. He's not creepy. He's a good man. He's a great philanthropist. He's a very successful businessman.

You know, he told a -- he told a bad, off-color joke, and he shouldn't have done it. But that's -- you know, that's -- that's his business. It certainly doesn't, in my opinion, reflect on the campaign or me because he wasn't doing it as part of our campaign.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK. I -- I was -- I shouldn't have said he's creepy. What he said was creepy. I don't know the guy, so I will give it to -- so that I'm -- I'm, you know, clear on that. All right, now let me go to...

SANTORUM: He's a very good man. Yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: Whatever. I don't know. The only thing I know is what he said. And right now, he's, you know, 0-and-1 with me. All right...

SANTORUM: It was a stupid -- it was a stupid joke.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK. Stupid joke. All right, now let me go to the issue of birth control. And so that I understand because I've seen a lot of sound bites, little, you know, quotes here and there. I want to understand, you know, do you think that birth control is -- let me pull out a sound bite -- is harmful to women and harmful to society?

SANTORUM: What I was talking about, generally speaking, in that interview, was that the idea -- the whole concept of sexual liberation, sexual freedom has had its down sides, and certainly birth control is part of that with a dramatic increase in sexually transmitted diseases, dramatic increase in out of wedlock births, a dramatic increase in the number of abortions.

I mean, you know, this has -- this has not just been -- you know, not been just, Well, everything's just fine. And I -- I -- that's a -- that's a commentary that I -- again, is not something that is completely out of the mainstream. The bottom line is there are consequences to the sexual revolution that we are living with in America today.

VAN SUSTEREN: In terms of your views on contraception and your religious beliefs -- and everyone comes to the office of the president with certain religious beliefs -- is it something that would in any way -- you know, be -- would it -- I mean, is there any way it would be imposed on the American people? Or is it something that's -- you know, how would we see it in policy, if at all?

SANTORUM: Well, good. I -- you know, just look at my record. I mean, I have been criticized by -- by -- I think it was Governor Romney or maybe it was Congressman Paul's campaign for voting for contraception, that I voted for funding for it, which is -- I think it's -- I think it's Title 10, which is -- which I have voted for in the past, that provides for free contraception through organizations, even like Planned Parenthood.

And so, you know, it's funny that on the conservative side, I'm getting ripped for having voted for this. And now all of a sudden, the left is trying to make me out that somehow I -- you know, I want to stop women, or men for that matter, from getting -- you know, doing things and taking things for contraception.

That -- look, I have my own views on these things. They're deeply held beliefs. But not everything that I think is -- that I disagree with morally should the government be involved in. Only when there is -- there are -- there are real consequences to society or to the -- or to the rights of individuals do I -- do I feel a need to speak out. And that's why I do on the issue of abortion because we have another -- we have another person involved in the decision.
But the issue of contraception, that's not the case. It's something that people have a right to do in this country. And it certainly will be safe to do so under the Santorum presidency.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK. Now to Michigan. You're in a state -- and it's -- I mean, it must be exciting for you tonight because the polls have you, you know, a little bit ahead of Governor Romney. It's his home state. Both of you come to that state, though, having been opposed to the bailout of the auto industry. And that is the auto industry state. How do you convince those voters to vote for you?

SANTORUM: Well, I think I'm different than Governor Romney on that front. I mean, Governor Romney supported the Wall Street bailout. I mean, it was OK to go in and have the government take a huge role in bailing out big financial institutions, but it wasn't OK for them to come and bail big -- the big manufacturers in this country, which are the hub of the manufacturing industry.

I would just make the argument that my position is consistent. My position says that you're not -- I'm not for the government getting involved in bail-outs, period. And that to me is something that the folks in Detroit say, Well, look, here's a man of principle. Here's a man who believes in letting destructive capitalism work, going through a bankruptcy -- for the Wall Street banks -- Romney, who claims to be -- you know, hails from southwest Michigan and be a great defender of -- and understanding of the industrial heartland of this area, where he supported his friends on Wall Street, but did not support the auto industry. And that's where the -- I think the inconsistency is. It's not in my position.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you find that the voters in Michigan are asking you about that? I mean, is that -- is that an issue, the bailout? I mean, we're pretty far removed from Michigan, but I imagine that the auto industry and the bail-out's a big issue for them.

SANTORUM: Well, certainly, every reporter has asked me about it here, every talk show host and television show that I've been on. But I haven't been asked by any voters. But it certainly is something that is on the minds of the people here, I assume of southeastern Michigan. And it has -- they have every right to be.

And again, it's the same thing between me and Governor Romney. If you're looking for consistency, someone who actually believes in and tries to live out in their -- in their public policy that -- you know, the economic plan that I put forward, and you see a consistency in my record, you'll see it with me, you won't see it with Governor Romney.

And this is just one of many issues where he has been on both sides of the issue, being for it in some cases, against it in others, and now trying to explain, you know, why he picked big banks over big auto.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK, if you're president tonight, what are you doing about Syria tonight?

SANTORUM: I think we should be helping the Syrian rebels. I mean, we should be at least providing some arms to them. We should, to the extent that we can through other sources, even provide some -- some other types of support.
This is -- this is an opportunity to get rid of a satellite country of Iran as Iran is becoming much more menacing. We have an opportunity here to get rid of a very bad actor in the region. And candidly, we can't replace him with anything worse than what they have.

I mean, that's -- that's sort of the -- you know, you look at Gadhafi. Gadhafi was pretty neutered. Assad has been a very active advocate for Iran and a -- and a tool for them and he -- as far as I'm concerned, we should do what we can, without getting directly involved, to be helpful to the rebels in overthrowing him.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, some campaign advice. If you have a chance, go up to Mackinaw Island. There are probably only about 300 votes, at most, during the winter, but it's the most beautiful part of all of Michigan.

SANTORUM: It's beautiful.

VAN SUSTEREN: Beautiful!

SANTORUM: Yes, it is.

VAN SUSTEREN: It doesn't have many voters in the middle of...

SANTORUM: I've been there. It's great.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... winter, but boy, it is -- it is a beautiful place to be. Anyway, Senator, thank you. I hope you come back before the -- in a short time. Thank you, sir.

SANTORUM: Thanks, Greta.

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