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GOP Presidential Hopeful, Rick Santorum

Monday, September 19, 2011
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HH: Joined now by former United States Senator Rick Santorum from the great state of Pennsylvania. He’s had a string of great debate performances. And Rick Santorum, how do you feel the momentum is switching around in this race?

RS: Well, I think, I feel great, Hugh. Thank you for the compliment. But the thing I keep hearing as I travel around the states is we want to hear more from you. Why is the media only talking about two candidates? There are other candidates up there, and we like your answers, we like what you’ve accomplished in your career politically, and I feel like we’re very, very well positioned right now as the next, this trial balloon that Rick Perry has floated out there, that starts settling back down to Earth, folks are going to be starting to look at other candidates, and we think we’re well positioned to take him on.

HH: Senator, I’ve often said that right now, it looks like a two man race. But Iowa is where that narrative always gets upended. How do you feel about Iowa, particularly with the fade that Michele Bachmann, I mean, her own campaign manager, Ed Rollins, basically wrote her off today.

RS: Yeah, well, here’s the way I look at it. Four years ago, the top two people in the polls, and if you read the articles from four years ago, they said this race was between Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson, because they were by far the top two in the polls. And neither of them ended up with a delegate. And two guys who were in single digits ended up to be the two guys left standing at the end. So I don’t get discouraged at all. I just go out and try to be the best candidate. And Iowa, as you know, Hugh, the Ames Straw Poll, Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty and Ron Paul all spent in excess of a million dollars, and I think one campaign spent almost two million dollars. We spent less than $100,000 dollars, but I went out and did 50 town hall meetings, talked to the people of Iowa, started to build a grassroots organization there, and we came within a few hundred votes of Tim Pawlenty. And that’s one of the reasons he got out of the race. So we know that our message is resonating with people, that the record of being a consistent conservative, from a blue state at a time when it wasn’t popular going out and talking about these issues, and actually getting things done, that’s going to play well. They want authenticity, and they want someone who can win, and I bring both to the table.

HH: www.ricksantorum.com is the website if you want to help out Senator Santorum and his effort. How is your fundraising, Rick Santorum?

RS: You know what? We’re doing enough to survive, and that’s really where we are right now. I feel like I’m on an episode of Survivor. And I just have to survive, and we’re doing that. We’re not going to show big cash on hand numbers, we’re not going to show big fundraising numbers. But we’re paying our staff, I’m paying my travel, and we’re getting to those debates, and we’re building an organization. We’ve got tons of volunteers. I talked with Mike Huckabee a couple of weeks ago, and he said Rick, stay lean. He said don’t buy into these consultants and all this stuff. Just believe in yourself, believe in your message, don’t have all these consultants tell you what to think. And I never have, and I never will. I mean, you’re going to hear what I think, not what somebody prepared me for the debate. People ask me how I do, what I do for debate prep. I said I go do town hall meetings, and that’s what I do. And I think that, again, back to the trust and authenticity, hopefully that’ll show as the debates and the campaign season goes on.

HH: Now last segment, I had on Mitt Romney, and last hour, I have on Paul Babeu, the sheriff from Pinal County in Arizona.

RS: Yeah.

HH: …talking about the fence with both of them. What’s your opinion on the fence, Rick Santorum?

RS: You’ve got to build it. And that’s the difference. I brought that up in the debate last week, and I will certainly bring it up again. Fiscal barriers are important. It’s not the only thing. I would agree with that, that we need surveillance, we need personnel on the ground. But to have a fence through most, if not all, is something that is vitally important, and it’s…fiscal barriers matter. Good fences make good neighbors.

HH: Now if Florida, this is a process question, but if Florida advances its primary, will you compete there? Will you go and fight for every vote in Arizona, Florida, others that break the RNC rules?

RS: You know, no matter what Arizona and Florida does, Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina are going to be first. And so I’m going to compete in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, because they will, no matter what the other states do, those three states will move ahead of them. And so they will be first, and that’s where I’m going to compete, because I can’t look past Iowa, at least not at this point. And so we’re going to be in Iowa this weekend. I just came from New Hampshire yesterday, I’ll be in South Carolina on Wednesday, just to give you an idea. I mean, that’s where my focus is, and we’re doing well there. We’re building a good grassroots organization. We’ve got a lot of energy and excitement, and they recognize that I’m not the fair-weather conservative. I’m someone who’s been there, and someone who will be there, and has stood up in the crucible, and was well accounted for.

HH: A minute left, Rick Santorum, again, www.ricksantorum.com. What do you make of the so-called Buffett Tax that the President is suggesting be levied on everyone who makes more than a million dollars a year?

RS: I mean, you know, I don’t like having this class warfare argument being played. I mean, Warren Buffett’s not going to pay that tax, as you know, because he makes his money on capital gains and dividends. So this is class warfare. And I just reject that. The bottom line is we need to create economic growth and upward mobility. That’s why I focused my tax plan on manufacturing. That’s where we’re going to grow the great middle of America back, is by getting people into those jobs that make things that can pay those wages that support families, and that’s going to be my focus, not trying to penalize people who create jobs in this country.

HH: Rick Santorum, always a pleasure, thank you, Senator, www.ricksantorum.com, America.

End of interview.

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