Advertisement
Call the Show 800-520-1234
LIVE: Mon-Fri, 6-9AM, ET
Hugh Hewitt Book Club
Call 800-520-1234 email Email Hugh
Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Rick Santorum In Florida Before The Debate

Email Email Print
Advertisement

HH: I begin with a man who’s still there, Rick Santorum. He won the Iowa Caucuses. Newt Gingrich won South Carolina, Mitt Romney won New Hampshire, so it’s 1-1-1. Senator Santorum, welcome back to the program.

RS: Thank you, Hugh, it’s great to be on again. I appreciate the opportunity.

HH: There’s no money bomb at www.ricksantorum.com. What’s going on?

RS: We just finished one on Saturday. So we had a great day today online, by the way. Donations continue to come in, a lot of encouragement. I think a lot of folks are seeing that as this campaign goes on, and we’re starting to see the charges being launched at Romney and Gingrich, and starting to see the, well, the problems of their candidacy, we’re hopeful that the slow and steady pace that we’ve been taking. We’ll run the race and the people will see that we present the boldest vision and the best contrast for Barack Obama to be able to win that election and govern our country.

HH: It is a two hour debate tonight. Do you think you will find an opportunity to mention that James Dobson endorsed you?

RS: Well, I certainly am very pleased that James Dobson and a whole host of other conservatives have been standing up and endorsing us. And I think what you’re seeing is, as you know, a lot of conservatives are very, very concerned about Mitt Romney. But you’re also seeing a lot of conservatives step forward and saying that they’re very, very concerned about Newt Gingrich. And that’s a real opportunity for me as this race goes on. And obviously, the Gingrich bounce from his debate performances, and John King’s gift to him in South Carolina, will help him right now in Florida. But you know, the debate tonight will change the tenor of the race, and we’re hopeful that we’re going to start getting that traction again that we need to keep this thing going for a long time, which we intend to do.

HH: Senator Santorum, I have been very critical of these debates, and I would like to know, in your own mind, what question would you like to be asked by a debate moderator?

RS: Well, you know, the questions I’d like to be asked are questions that go to…more values. What is it that, and you know, these are questions that are asked in a lot of interviews that are a little deeper than the superficial sort of gotcha questions that the debate moderators…you know, why do you think that we should have, for example, a policy of Iran that stops them from making a nuclear weapon? But what is it that underlies your vision? Instead of telling people just what you believe, more importantly, why do you believe it? And what makes us think that you’ll actually do what you say you’re going to do? Those are the kinds of things that I think are very, very important, and get involved…you know, there are a lot of issues that we haven’t even discussed. We haven’t had any discussion, really, about cap and trade or global warming. And you’ve got two candidates up there who have been all over the map on this issues, and on the wrong side of this issue, and we haven’t had a discussion about that. Not only what was their policy, but why did you feel that way? What was it that convinced you that you had to do, as governor of Massachusetts, CO2 emission regulations, the first in the country. Why were you so excited about it? Those are the questions that just never get asked as to what you did and how…why did you do that. And that would be, I think, be very helpful in giving insight into people as to what’s behind these apparent flip-flops.

HH: Now I’d like to ask you, for yourself, for Speaker Gingrich and Governor Romney, what their biggest strength is, and your biggest strength is, and what your most glaring weakness is, and what their most glaring weakness is.

RS: Well, I think my biggest strength is that, you know, we’ve been a passionate leader across the board on conservative issues, and have a strong vision for the country to do the same. And combine that with the ability to attract the Reagan Democrats that we need to be able to win this election in the key states. I think our biggest weakness is, I’ll be honest, I mean, I’m not particularly great at one-liners and glib comments. My staff has said that you know, the average soundbyte on television now is four seconds, and my average soundbyte is four minutes.

HH: (laughing)

RS: So it’s a little bit of a challenge. And I understand that. I’m trying to get a little punchier on our remarks, but that’s sort of the way I’ve approached things. I try to teach and explain and give depth to answers, and it doesn’t necessarily come across the best in these debates. And of course, these debates have been absolutely critical in this election, more so than probably anytime in history.

HH: Do you believe President Obama will agree to even one debate? I don’t think he will, Rick Santorum. I know the President. He’ll do a Nixon ’72, his record’s so bad.

RS: Well, I’d be surprised if he agrees to any Lincoln-Douglass style debates, that’s for darned sure. And he may agree to very structured debates, one, two, maybe even three, but probably two at most. And they will be very structured, they will be very moderated. The rules will be laid out in advance, and the idea that we’re going to elect somebody in the fall election because he’s the best debater simply is…they have no idea what this administration and this campaign that Obama has in store for them to make the debates a secondary issue by the time they come around.

HH: Now today, it was revealed that the public employee union, I believe it is AFSCME, has bought $800,000 dollars of negative television ads to run against Mitt Romney. That tells me they fear him most. What’s it tell you, Rick Santorum?

RS: Clearly, they wouldn’t be running those ads if you didn’t think Romney was a threat, and that they felt that the other person who right now is up there in the polls with him is a less of a threat. That’s pretty clear.

HH: Why do you think they want to run against Newt Gingrich, because that’s what the impact of these ads are. They’re not attacking you. They’re attacking Romney, so that means they must be helping the front runner, Newt. Why do the public employee unions want to run against Newt?

RS: You know, I’ve said this repeatedly, that Newt is a friend of mine, he’s a good guy. But discipline and constancy are not his strong points. And I think in a campaign, we’ve already seen the rise and fall of Newt. When Newt’s good, he’s very good. When he’s bad, well, he’s not very good. And so that’s the issue. We very rarely see candidates do what Newt’s been able to do – rise and fall and rise and fall based on, frankly, his own performance and his own record. That’s why I keep coming back to. This race needs to be about Barack Obama. And if we have this race about our candidate, and either his record or background, or whatever the case may be, then we’re missing a tremendous opportunity to have a referendum on the policies of this president, to be able to get a mandate to make the changes that we need, and get a sweep in the Congress to fundamentally change this country. And if the focus is going to be about the inconsistencies of the record of one of our candidates, or the erratic statements and actions on the part of another candidate, then we’re not putting our best foot forward.

HH: Romney said Gingrich could be an October surprise a day today. Do you agree with that?

RS: Look, I think Gingrich has problems, Romney has problems. Look, I have problems. I’ve admitted those problems. I just would make the argument that the issues that we would have in this campaign would be minor compared to the other candidates. And that’s what we’re going out there trying to communicate, that we have a bold plan, we have the right vision, we have the right message. On national security, we have the experience. We’ve tested, I’ve been in leadership, I was a conservative. I didn’t, you know, flip-flop or didn’t sell conservatives out when I was in a position of leadership. I stood tall for the things I believed in, a state that was a very state to be a conservative. That’s what I think the people of this country are looking for. They’re looking for someone they can trust, someone who’s been there and done it, and someone who has a bold plan for the future that’s going to shrink the size of government, grow our economy, and keep us strong overseas.

HH: Rick Santorum, it’s also obvious to me the Republican voters are looking for candidates who will challenge the media elites’ obvious deep and corrupting bias to protect the president. And Newt won South Carolina because he did that. Are you prepared to do that tonight with Brian Williams?

RS: Yeah, you know, I ran into a situation today where a woman got up at one of my town hall meetings and said well, the president is doing unconstitutional things, and he’s a Muslim, and he shouldn’t be elected, and all this sort of stuff. And she went on for a long time, and said we need to do something about getting him out of office. And I said well, I’m doing my best right now to get him out of office, and then went on and talked about some other issues. And of course, the media…why didn’t you stand up for the president, that he’s not a Muslim? I mean, that’s the takeaway from the town hall meeting. It’s this arrogance that somehow or another that Republicans, thanks to John McCain, Republicans have to defend the president’s honor when it comes to things that are patently, we know that are not true. But when it comes to Republicans, who are excoriated all the time with untruth, and repeated not by people in a town hall meeting, but by the media themselves, well, that’s okay. You can say things about Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich or Herman Cain or anybody else, or Mitt Romney, and that’s fine if you’re a member of the media. But if someone steps out of line and says something about the president that the media finds offensive, then it’s my responsibility as someone to rebut that, which is absolute garbage.

HH: Rick Santorum, I hope we see that tonight. Good luck, and we’ll talk to you again later this week. www.ricksantorum.com, America, to help Rick keep going.

End of interview.

Hughniverse

Listen Commercial FREE  |  On-Demand
Login Join
Advertisement
Advertise with us Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Book Hugh Hewitt as a speaker for your meeting

Follow Hugh Hewitt

Listen to the show on your amazon echo devices

The Hugh Hewitt Show - Mobile App

Download from App Store Get it on Google play
Advertisement
Advertisement
Friends and Allies of Rome