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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Rick Santorum On Ebola, ISIS, and Kansas

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Former Senator Rick Santorum was my guest in hour three today:

Audio:

10-07hhs-santorum

Transcript:

HH: Joined now by former United States Senator, Rick Santorum, almost certainly going to be a candidate for president in 2016. Senator Santorum, welcome back, always a pleasure to talk to you.

RS: Thank you, Hugh, it’s good to be on the show again.

HH: Now you know that the Steelers are coming into Brownie’s town again, so you’re going to have a bad weekend.

RS: The Brownies have had some rough goes, although you know, they had a good game the other day. I mean, I give them credit. They came back…

HH: Good game?

RS: Yeah.

HH: It was the greatest comeback for an away team in the history of the NFL, 28 points.

RS: No, look, you know, they’ve been playing a lot better this year. They’ve, you know, they played the Steelers tough in the second half of the game earlier this year, and the Steelers have been anything but consistent. So I’m not counting my chickens this time with the Brownies.

HH: All right, now Rick Santorum, I have had on today Lindsey Graham, who refused to rule out a run in 2016. That was interesting, and talking to Bobby Jindal, who’s definitely running in 2016. And we talked a lot about foreign policy. So the hawks are back. You never left. I’m just curious if you’re glad that the Republican Party is returning en masse to Reagan-like Defense policies.

RS: Well, not only did I not leave, but you know, after the 2006 election where I went out and really ran a campaign talking about how we had to be more serious on Iran and serious about winning the war in Iraq, this is pre-surge, and after I left the Senate, I spent four years at the Ethics and Public Policy Center writing and lecturing around the country on national security and the threat of radical Islam, and even went across the pond to the UK and did the same thing. So you’re right. I mean, I’ve seen this as a problem, that it’s, just learn from history, Hugh. You know this. I mean, this is a problem between the expansionist Islamists and the West for 1,300 years, and it’s not going away now that the resources are in hand by some of these radicals to force the issue again.

HH: So Senator, would you commit ground troops right now in the battle against ISIS? Turkey is all but begging for them. They’re going to massacre the Christian Kurds in the town of Kobani and the other sects that are there probably by the end of the week. They can’t be held back.

RS: I would say that given the situation on the ground right now, I think we have to have a heavier presence than what we’re doing. I mean, it’s clear that what we’re doing right now is insufficient. As much as I’d like to say that we can count on the Kurds or count on other forces, I think we have to have a heavier footprint. What that would be, look, I’m not close enough, Hugh, to be able to say here’s what I would command or here’s what I would do. I don’t know that. I mean, I’m not that close to the situation. But what I would say is I would sit down with the generals and say you know, we are obviously not containing this threat, we’re obviously not winning. We have a desperate situation, and we have to be able to address it. And if that means that we’d have to commit ground troops to do so, and that would be the recommendation, then of course that’s what we’d have to do.

HH: All right, Senator, let’s switch over to, if we can, to Ebola. Earlier today, Governor Jindal said on this program look, why have we still got airplanes coming from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ghana to the United States? Would you suspend inbound travel from those three West African states to the United States?

RS: Yeah, two weeks ago, I suggested that we need travel restrictions, and that we had to not necessarily ban all travel, but certainly all non-essential travel. And if there are some people from that area of the world that for some reason need to be in the United States, then you know, we’re talking about a very limited number of people, and they can come through other places as opposed to directly from those Western African countries. So the answer is yes, we should be definitely limiting travel. This is, this is a growing and serious problem, and you know, we don’t, you know, coordinate and act together to limit the potential spread of this. This is, we’re not really quite sure how this thing spreads, and we don’t really know enough about it that we can be cavalier that I think the way this President has acted so far.

HH: So let me ask specifically about the people who come here right now. If they’re coming, should they be held in isolation for a week or so until we can, evidently you can be asymptomatic. I don’t, I honestly have no idea why we’re letting anyone in without a two week waiting period somewhere.

RS: Well, I mean, given the screening process is a joke. I mean, we have no capability of actually doing any kind of reliable screening in these countries. I mean, we have no way of knowing whether these people are telling lies. Look, if I’m someone who was exposed to Ebola, you know the first thing I’d want to do? I want to get to the United States.

HH: You bet. You bet.

RS: …because I know I’m going to get the best treatment in the world if I come here. They’re not, and I’m going to get it for free, because they’re not going to want this thing to spread. So I don’t see any way that we can realistically, given the, you know, the high risk of death with exposure, and given the fact that you have, if you’re a person of resources that you can get here, and you have been exposed, then you’d want to come here, and the last thing you’d do is you’d tell the truth.

HH: Yeah.

RS: So no, I just think we have to be very practical about this. We cannot expose the United States to this in a major way. And the way to do it is to put restrictions in place.

HH: Now I have to ask a political question to end our conversation. Pat Roberts is under heavy fire in Kansas.

RS: Yeah.

HH: You know Pat Roberts. You’re the conservative.

RS: He is.

HH: Everybody knows your credentials. What’s your advice to the voters of Kansas?

RS: Look, you know, I’ve known Pat Roberts for a long time. You know, Pat is a conservative. Period. And the idea that somehow or another Pat’s out of step with the people of Kansas, I tell you, I worked with Pat on everything from agriculture to welfare reform. And he is right on line with the people of Kansas. I mean, nobody fought harder for agriculture for Kansas than Pat Roberts. And by the way, Pat Roberts has forgotten more than what I know on the issue of agriculture. And that’s a very important issue for the state of Kansas. And the other thing, for Kansas, my goodness, Hugh, do we really want to give Barack Obama another vote? Do you want to keep control of the United States Senate in the hands of someone who’s doing things to systematically undermine our freedoms in our country like Harry Reid is doing? So this is not a hard choice for the people of Kansas. I know that there’s some folks upset about Pat and where he lived, and all that kind of stuff. But you’re talking about the governance of the country at a critical time, with national security and economic concerns, and Pat is a good, steady hand at the till here.

HH: Rick Santorum, always a pleasure to talk to you, Senator. Thanks for joining us. We’ll be talking to you again soon.

End of interview.

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