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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Rick Santorum On His Surge

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Rick Santorum joined me on the program today to talk about his big wins yesterday, the cash infusion it triggered (see the moneybomb’s progress here), and his response to the criticism on earmarks.

If you download the free Hugh Hewitt app from the iTunes stores you can hear the interview, plus those with Senator Pat Toomey, E.J. Dionne, and Bishop Olmsted and Fred Barnes.

The transcript will be posted here tonight.

HH: Tom Cruise saying show me the money, and I understand from media reports that the money is flowing into www.ricksantorum.com. Here to confirm that, the victor of last night, Senator Rick Santorum. Senator, welcome back, and congratulations.

RS: Well, thank you, Hugh. I’m just very appreciative of the opportunity you’ve given me over the past several months to get out there and talk to folks on a regular basis. And hopefully, that message, thanks to you and others, is getting out. And we’re feeling very good about how things went last night. And the message that we’re out there delivering is a message that’s a winning message against Barack Obama. [# More #]

HH: Now I do know you have been getting a lot of contributions today. And has that continued throughout the day at www.ricksantorum.com?

RS: Yeah, this has been by far our biggest day, which we feel very blessed about. But yeah, it’s, I don’t even know if I have the most current figure, but it’s probably twice what we’ve raised in any one day prior to this.

HH: Now Senator, there’s obviously a surge that you experienced, and I was just talking with Fred Barnes. I believe it began palpably on the day that you came out swinging against these HHS regs. Everywhere you were, including on this show, saying civil disobedience, whatever it takes, these will not stand. Do you agree with that sense?

RS: I think that clearly helped us, because it galvanized, and I think in a lot of people’s minds, what I’ve been out there saying. And as you know, and I’ve been, this campaign for me has not been just about jobs and the economy. I’m not running to be the CEO of the country. I mean, jobs and the economy is important, but it’s just one aspect. What’s causing the underlying problem of having a bad economy and bad jobs is government. It’s government has just completely constricting through taking more of your money, and more importantly, regulating and dictating to you from these smart elites in Washington who think they know how to run your life better than you know how to run yours. And this is fundamentally a freedom issue out here. And people across America are getting it, but what this HHS reg did was show that it’s not just their economic freedom they’re after. But once you give the government the control, and because they’re going to give you some element of security, you don’t have security at all, because they can tell you how to exercise that right, they can tell you how to live your life, they can force you to do things that are against your conscience. They’ll silence you if you try to oppose them, which is what they did with the military archdiocese. This is a case and point of what corruption of government, of people who have power, and what they will do to people if we become the kind of statist government that Barack Obama views as the future of America.

HH: Now Senator Santorum, earlier today, I talked to Senator Toomey, who has declined to endorse you. And I asked him why, and he brought up earmarks. I’m wondering, though, is it the Arlen Specter race, do you think?

PT: Oh, I don’t know. I mean, I’m sure Pat Toomey believes what he believes, and that’s great. I mean, Pat’s a good Senator, and he’s done a great job in standing up for conservative values. And I greatly respect him and the work that he’s doing. So I’ve got no beef with Pat Toomey. He’s done a great job, and I’m glad he’s there, and wish we had 99 other Pat Toomey’s. I’d love to be able to work with Pat as president of the United States. We’d get a lot of stuff done. As far as earmarks, you know, then I guess he wouldn’t support Jim DeMint, because Jim DeMint earmarked. I know Pat was never an earmarker, and that’s fine. But from my perspective, you know, the real crime here is entitlements. The real crime is are the big earmarks. The Wall Street bailout, which Mitt Romney supported, that’s the biggest earmark in the history of our country. It’s about $700 and some odd billion dollar earmark. What we did was we went out and thought when the federal government was doing something, when the president was doing something that we didn’t agree with in spending money, we told the president we’d like to have it spent somewhere else. And you know, that process was abused. And when it started to be abused, I voted with everybody else…not voted, I wasn’t in Congress at the time, but I joined Jim DeMint who was an earmarker himself, and said let’s stop it. So you know, that can be for whatever candidate wants. We’ve got the best record on entitlement reform, which is what Pat is trying to deal with right now. We’ve got a record of accomplishment, we’ve got a record of leadership. That’s where the big problem of spending is, in Washington, D.C. It’s not in earmarks. To me, earmarks is a bit of a red herring. The real problem and the real courage comes when you stand up and you take on the big entitlement programs like I have, with the welfare programs as well as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps. I’m the leader on that, and that’s what we need to do in Washington, D.C., is to make sure those programs are fiscally sound.

HH: Half minute, Senator Santorum. Once again, to support Rick Santorum, go to www.ricksantorum.com. Rush said today you speak the language of conservatives. I’m curious, what do you read every day? Where do you get your daily dose of conservative thinking?

RS: Well, I mean, the daily paper I read is the Wall Street Journal, and you know, the websites I view are probably most of your conservative websites. I get a lot of information from, I’m a big National Review reader, I read Red State, I read Hot Air, I read Newsmax. I read, I’m trying to think what else, I mean, I go through Drudge…

HH: Great list. Great list.

RS: Yeah.

HH: Hey, Senator Santorum, we’ll check back early and often. Congratulations. Three weeks to the big showdowns in Arizona and Michigan. I’ll be right back. You can go help him at www.ricksantorum.com

End of interview.

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