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Fox News "Fox News Sunday" - Transcript


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WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
Well, after a week off, Republican voters return to the polls Tuesday for three more primaries. Joining us from Brookville, Wisconsin, is the candidate who needs to persuade voters and GOP leaders this race is not over yet, Senator Rick Santorum.
Welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."

RICK SANTORUM, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, thank you, Chris. Good to be with you this morning.

WALLACE: This week, I don't have to tell you -- two of the conservative young guns in the party, Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio, endorsed Mitt Romney and suggested that you and the others should get out of the race.
Take a look at what they had to say.


REP. PAUL RYAN, CHAIRMAN, BUDGET COMMITTEE: I think it's important that we just coalesce as conservatives and focus on defeating the president in the fall.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA.: They're saying the only way they can win this race is having a floor fight in Tampa in August. And I think that's a recipe to deliver four more years to Barack Obama.


WALLACE: Senator, do you feel pressure now to get -- or added pressure to get out of the race and give Mitt Romney a clear shot at Barack Obama?

SANTORUM: No. You know, you should have told Kansas last night when they were down almost 20 points in the first half. You know what? It's almost over and you guys should pack it in.
Look, I mean, this race is not even at half time. We haven't even selected half the delegates yet. Governor Romney is not halfway to the magic number and, you know, we look at the calendar ahead, and we feel very, very good about where we are going.
And, you know, we -- four years ago, everyone said, oh, we got to wrap this thing up and we did, and John McCain was the nominee and Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton went in the summer and pounded it out.
And guess what? They came up with the best candidate and we came up with someone who -- well, just simply wasn't able to win. We don't need to repeat that again. We don't need to bail out and not have the best candidate to take Barack Obama on the fall.
And when you look at huge advantages, this man has been running for passport for six years. He has all of the establishment behind him. He has 10-1 money advantage. He has the media singing what -- I mean, every question I get is when are you getting out?
I mean, the whole narrative has been in Romney's favor from the beginning of this race and he still isn't even close to closing the deal.
That should send a signal to these people inside the Washington bubble, the senators and congressmen and party leaders, inside the Washington bubble, that maybe something is going on across the country when over 60 percent of the people even hearing all of this still think, yes, Rick Santorum should stay in the race. We need a conservative. We need someone who can be a contrast with Barack Obama, not the same old tired establishment person that's going to be shoved down our throat.

WALLACE: Let me look at this in other way. You talked about four years ago. I want to talk on the Republican side. Mike Huckabee decided to stay in the race until John McCain had it wrapped up, had half of -- you know, the delegates enough to clinch the nomination. But Huckabee campaigned for himself, not against McCain.
You on the other hand are still out there pounding Romney. Do you worry at all and I certainly understand the point you make. He hasn't wrapped up the nomination, Romney hasn't. But do you worry at all about hurting him in case he ends up being the candidate who faces Barack Obama?

SANTORUM: Well, let me show that Barack Obama is going to pound Romney or who ever the Republican nominee a lot more than I am. I'm focused on the issues. I haven't been criticizing Governor Romney personally or any other way. I'm focused on who is the best person to make the case in the general election and win and get the mandate to govern. That's what --

WALLACE: But, wait, wait. I mean, you are talking about him as an Etch-a-Sketch candidate. You talked about him about not being a real conservative. I mean, you're certainly criticizing his credentials?

SANTORUM: Well, I would just say this. I am criticizing his policies and the policies that would best juxtaposed against Barack Obama, as opposed to -- let's just be honest here about who is running the negative campaign. Governor Romney has spent tens of millions of dollars running negative ads about specious issues, taking things I said completely out of the context, try to convince the voters of Wisconsin -- believe this one, Chris -- that I'm not pro life? I mean, these are kinds of ridiculous campaign tactics that Romney campaign is taking on.
And, you know, we are focused on the big issues and energy, and health care. We're talking about national security. I just gave a speech at Jelly Belly jelly bean factory talking about national security and the Reagan legacy and who's best prepared to do so.
You know, we run a very substantive campaign because we believe that that's what's going to win in the general election. Governor Romney has run negative, negative, negative. He hasn't painted a positive vision for this country. He hasn't been able to close the deal with the conservatives, much less anybody else in this party. And that's not going to be an effective tool for us to win this general election.

WALLACE: All right. Let's talk about an issue and I think you would agree the big issue in Wisconsin right now is not the presidential race. It's the recall campaign against Scott Walker, the governor, because of his effort to remove some collective bargaining rights from the state workers.
The Romney campaign -- and you can say it's negative -- but they point out that as a senator you voted against a national right to work law, to allow people to get jobs without joining a union and you repeatedly supported the Davis Bacon Act that requires government contractor to pay the prevailing wage. They say -- and, in fact, it's the case on both of those issues, you sided with big labor.

SANTORUM: Right. In my 16-year career of representing two of the heaviest labor districts in the country and a state of Pennsylvania, which is a heavy labor district, my voting record with labor was 13 percent. I did -- along with almost 70 other senators -- vote to have a federal change in the right to work statute because I represented Pennsylvania which was not a right to work state. But, Governor Romney well knows when I announced I was running for president, I said I would sign a national right to work. I talk about it in the debate. He seems to ignore that fact, that, you know, now I was running for president. I'm not representing the state anymore, who had the interest in keeping the laws the way it was, that I was representing what I thought was best for the country and that's why I'm taking that position.
The head of the AFL-CIO in Pennsylvania said that calling Rick Santorum a friend of big labor is like calling Romney a conservative. Neither are true. They spent literally millions of dollars to beat me in 2000 and 2006 and even before that.
So, I assure you that you have someone who supports Governor Walker, supported from the very beginning what he was doing with the public employee unions, that I think is a completely unfair bargaining position that they have in negotiating the wages and benefits. And you will find someone who is very strong in making sure that people have freedom in this country, to contract with their employers instead of having to go through a union.

WALLACE: Let me -- because I'm not quite sure I understand this. You are saying because you were the senator from Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania had a right to work law, you weren't going to vote --

SANTORUM: Did not have a right to work law.

WALLACE: I mean, did not have a right to work law, you were not going to vote to create a national right to work law.


WALLACE: Now, abortions were legal under certain circumstances in Pennsylvania, but you voted for a constitutional amendment to end that, right?

SANTORUM: Well, of course, there are certain issues that are -- that ones that I think can be left to the states to decide and we do that all of the time. I mean, I believe in the Tenth Amendment. I believe the states have the right to make decisions on a variety of the issues, but not every issue.
I mean, obviously, there are some issues that we need to have national laws in place. That's -- the Constitution clearly laid that out. We saw that debated just this past week. There are some things that can be left in the states, the other things government has limitation of power on and other things the federal government can do.

WALLACE: I -- you know, you said at the very beginning, all of the questions you get are about are -- are you going to drop out? And I hope to fall into that. I guess I am.
Are you saying flat out no matter what happens, win or lose or draw, in Wisconsin, which a lot of people are saying is a big battleground state, the kind of Midwestern battleground state, you are in it to stay beyond -- regardless what happens in Wisconsin?

SANTORUM: Yes, absolutely. We are moving forward. We're setting up our teams for the 26th.
You know, if you go past this month of April, we've got these primaries and then five more at the end of the month, the map in May looks very, very good for us. Texas, and Arkansas and West Virginia and North Carolina, Indiana, Kentucky. We've got some great states, where we are ahead in every poll in all of those states.
And, again, if you listen to the folks across this country, we are hearing over and over again, stay in there, we need a conservative. We cannot do what we have done in the past as Republicans which is: settle for something that we know is not going to be successful for us. That the establishment wants to give us.
Remember, Chris, in the last 120 years, we've only defeated a Democrat incumbent president as a Republican Party. And always, always, the establishment says, we've got to nominate, that's when we're going to win. And the one time we didn't, with Ronald Reagan, that's when we won. We beat Jimmy Carter.
And that's what's going to win this election. A clear contrast and vision, someone who has a solid record that can make Barack Obama the issue in this election and not have President Obama turn it back on the candidate because he too, supported government-run health care, he, too, supported cap and trade, he, too, supported Wall Street bail outs. That's why the race is so important.

WALLACE: Well, you are convincing me you're not about to drop you out. I will ask you this, though, because Pennsylvania, your home state, does come up on April 24th. And the polls are close. We showed here that back in February, you were leading by 29 points. Your lead in the Franklin Marshall poll is now two.
If you were lose in your home state, would that be it?

SANTORUM: Well, first up, the Democratic hack that does that, Terry Madonna, has probably and singularly gotten more polls wrong than any person I know in the history of the state. They are other polls that are out this week that have us up 20 and I think the other is 17. This is -- this pollster, he just -- I think he just draws numbers out of a hat sometimes.
We feel very good about Pennsylvania. We're going to do exceptionally well there. Governor Romney is already out there spending money, you know, dumping his millions in. But we've got a great grassroots strong network. You know, we have the strong conservative base in the state of the -- in the state of Pennsylvania that's going to come out and come out strong for us.
You know, look, I go back in Pennsylvania -- I was the first conservative to really be out on the scene in Republican politics. The Republican Party in Pennsylvania was a very much a moderate to liberal party for many, many years, and I was the guy that sort of broke through the ceiling. There are folks in the Republican Party who want that party to go back to being the moderate Republican Party that it was once. And, you know, they lined up behind Governor Romney. But the conservatives have and will line up behind me and I think we'll see a very good victory in Pennsylvania as a result.

WALLACE: Senator, we've got about a minute left. I want to ask you two questions. And I certainly -- you have convinced me you are not dropping out number one and, number two, you are in this for a while.
But let's assume for a minute that it doesn't go the way you want and, look, you would admit that you've got a tough road to admit this nomination, given the hole you're in. Win or lose, you have much done better than a lot of the so-called experts predicted that you were going to do this year.
You talk a lot about Ronald Reagan. He lost in 1976, came back and won in 1980. Do you ever think at all about, you know, if you were, you know, at some point, this doesn't work out, you could come back in 2016 as the front runner?

SANTORUM: Well, let me say this. You know, in 1976, I think the Republican Party made a mistake in not choosing Ronald Reagan and we went on with a moderate to lose the election. And we suffered four years of Jimmy Carter.
We already know, we didn't know what we are getting with Carter. We already know what we're getting with Obama. We can't make that mistake again. We have to nominate someone who is a strong conservative.
And all I would say is that, you know, I'm not thinking about the future. You know, we need to win this election. We need to reelect a Republican in 2016. That's my focus, is to win 2012, reelect a Republican 2016, and put this country back on the right track.

WALLACE: Finally, and I can't end this interview, you have shown some mad bowling skills on the campaign trail. And you may not be able to see, but we are now putting them up and I can see you roll in. It's a strike, Senator. How good a bowler are you?

SANTORUM: Well, I'm not all that good. I have -- you know, when I was a kid, I mean, I grew up actually doing a lot of bowling. I actually -- when I was younger, I had my own bowling ball and I loved the sport. I mean, that's what I grew up in when I used to visit my grandparents, in Johnstown, the bowling alley was literally quarter of mile down the road. And we used to hang out at the lanes all the time.
And I love the sport. I love that fact that you can, you know, sit around and drink beer and hang out with folks and talk to people all over the place. It's just a fun afternoon with the family --

WALLACE: All right. We are running out of the time. What's your highest score, sir?

SANTORUM: Two forty-one.

WALLACE: Wow. Remind me not to go bowling.

SANTORUM: I remember that.

WALLACE: Remind me not to go bowling with you, Senator.

SANTORUM: It was 30 years ago. I started out with seven straight strikes and I thought I was heading to a perfect game and ended up with a 8-10 split in the eight frame. So, couldn't quite finish it out.

WALLACE: Not like you remember that from 30 years ago. Senator Santorum --

SANTORUM: I remember it like yesterday --

WALLACE: I'm sure you do. If I had done that, I would, too.
Senator Santorum, thank you so much for joining us. We'll be watching to see what happens Tuesday night, and it's clear beyond Tuesday.

SANTORUM: Yes, sir. Thank you very much.

WALLACE: Up next, a preview of the general election campaign. We'll bring you a debate between Haley Barbour and Howard Dean. You won't want to miss this.


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