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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Rick Santorum On The Culture and People of Faith

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Rick Santorum was my guest on Friday’s show. His website –including the soon-to-be-available orange sweater vest– is here. We cover the article on his kids’ Catholic school in the New York Times, Tim Tebow, his failure to qualify for the VA ballot, and other issues in the campaign. Here’s the transcript:

HH: Joined now by Rick Santorum, former Pennsylvania Senator from, United States Senator. He is of course surging in the Palmetto State. Senator Santorum, welcome back, great to have you on.

RS: Well, thank you, Hugh. It’s great to be on. I’m here in beautiful Greenville, South Carolina.

HH: Well, I’m on the air right now in Greenville, so someone could come looking for you at the gas station or wherever you are. Senator, I was just over at www.ricksantorum.com, and you still have not put up the orange and brown Cleveland Browns sweater vest. But you’re moving a lot of them, I see.

RS: We are moving a lot of them. We’re actually putting, I’m coming close. I’m putting up an orange sweater vest. [# More #]

HH: (laughing) That’s an appeal…

RS: Now it’s an orange sweater vest for hunting, and it’ll have the logo on it, and then it has our little slogan, which is, you know, it’s a hunting vest, and so we call it our right to bear arms vest.

HH: Oh, that’s so awful, but it’ll probably bring in a lot of contributions. Plus, it covers the Browns, the Bengals and the Tebow vote. Speaking of Tebow, are you surprised, Senator? He’s on the front page of the New York Times as a divisive figure. Are you surprised that people are so polarized over Tim Tebow?

RS: It’s actually tragic. You know, here’s a great American story, but we have so conditioned our culture through the left just pounding away, that people of faith should keep their faith private, that when anybody even publicly tries to display it, it’s now something that’s offensive and being shoved down our throat, when it is in fact freedom of expression. I was in a town hall meeting in Hollis, in New Hampshire the other day, and a young man got up and started going after me, talking about the Constitutional separation of Church and state. And I asked him where it was in the Constitution, and he insisted it was in there. That’s the kind of, really, indoctrination that’s going on in our country, as to the role of faith in public life. And you’re seeing it played out here on the football field.

HH: Now yesterday, the New York Times ran a story about your son’s high school, and felt obliged to note that it was run by Opus Dei. Do you think that story would have been written if you weren’t running, Rick Santorum?

RS: Oh, well, of course not. You know, this is a, the organization that runs it is a great group of religious people who are very orthodox in their belief of the Catholic Church. They’re very faithful to the Church. And that is somehow offensive, that it’s okay if they were the Jesuits and they were liberals, and they didn’t really follow closely the teachings of the Church. Then that would have been just all right. But if they are someone who actually adheres to the faith, and the principles that the Church teaches, this is a threat, and this is something that should be ostracized, not celebrated as part of the diversity of our country.

HH: And so I expect it was kind of a dog whistle to the left, to start going after sort of a da Vinci Code analysis of Rick Santorum. Are you ready for that?

RS: Oh, my goodness. Sure. Look, Hugh, you know this. I mean, when you stand up and you articulate a worldview that is consistent with Biblical worldview, you’re going to get hammered for it in the media today. And I’m perfectly comfortable with that. I mean, I read my Bible. I know what they say, what Christ said about folks who stand up and speak those types of truth. There are many in the world who aren’t going to accept it. And I’m perfectly okay with that. I go out there and speak about my faith very publicly, and I speak also about the reason that I use, the gift of reason that we are all given, it’s available to all, to be able to make up the persuasive case about the things I believe in also. You bring both faith and reason to the table, and if your faith is true and your reason is right, you’ll end up at the same place.

HH: Now Rick Santorum, about 150 big time Christian conservatives are getting together for a meeting in Texas this weekend. One of them would be Gary Bauer who has endorsed you, and that’s a big deal. A) Are you going to communicate with that meeting by phone or any way?

RS: No, I have talked to a few people that are, you know, in advance of that meeting who called me and told me that they were going. And obviously, we’re looking for everybody’s help and support. I’m not involved in that meeting. I’m not, we don’t have anybody from our campaign at that meeting or participating in that meeting. People are free to associate and decide what they want to do. We’re going to go out here in South Carolina and do what we’ve done in the first two states, which is win the conservative vote. We finished tied for first in Iowa. We were the leading conservative in New Hampshire. We finished fourth ahead of Gingrich and Perry. And we believe we’re going to finish ahead of Gingrich and Perry here in South Carolina. And at some point, if you want an alternative to Mitt Romney, then the choice is, I think, clear already, but should be clearer after South Carolina.

HH: Now Foster Friess is a good man. I’m proud to call him a friend. He’s been in studio with me. He’s also backing the Red, White & Blue PAC, which is running ads about you in South Carolina, as it did in Iowa. Have you seen anything in the Red, White & Blue…you can’t coordinate. Everyone knows that. But have you seen anything in the Red, White & Blue ads that you would have to ask him to take down, unlike the other ones, which have had errors or especially this one under fire today, the Newt movie? Anything in the Red, White & Blue PAC ads that have embarrassed Rick Santorum?

RS: Well, the Red, White & Blue ads, to my knowledge, have all been positive ads about me and the record, and what I want to do for this country, which I’m perfectly comfortable with. You know, this is the kind of campaign that we’re running. We’re running campaigns talking about the issues, talking about how I can differentiate myself between Governor Romney and his Romneycare, and the Wall Street bailouts, and all the other things that he’s supported that I think are critical and important, distinguishing issues in this campaign between not just me and Governor Romney, but between who the Republican nominee should be and President Obama. And those are the issues I’m going to focus in. I’m not going to focus in on the Governor’s private sector career. He was someone who was involved in private equity. It was an honorable thing to do, and I support, having started and helped start a small technology company, I certainly wished that we would have had private equity investing in our company. But we didn’t. We didn’t quite make it that far. So that’s great that these private equity firms are out there, and that they’re there to help businesses, and in some cases, turn them around and give them an opportunity to succeed. And I think the direction that several others in this campaign have taken, I think, is only feeding into what the left’s view of capitalism…and I’m going to talk about Governor Romney’s, in my opinion, not particularly strong record, in fact, very weak record as governor of Massachusetts, and show that that’s really the issue that we should be concerned about in the campaign.

HH: Now Rick Santorum, you didn’t make the Virginia ballot today. The courts ruled against you and Newt and Rick Perry.

RS: Yeah.

HH: But there’s a question that Bill Kristol raises, which is if all the Republicans get out, that just leaves Ron Paul, and he’s getting increasingly irresponsible, increasingly frenetic, increasingly vicious. Do you intend to press on to delegate rich states like Pennsylvania and Ohio, your natural hard-core constituency, regardless what happens in Florida?

RS: Oh, yeah. Look, our objective is to finally get on a one-on-one match with Governor Romney. And I believe, and if you look deep into some of the polls that have been out there in the last few days where they put Governor Romney and myself, just the two of us together in these states, we win every one of them. And I’m convinced that if we continue to be the leading conservative out here, and I think we will be, that eventually, irrespective of whether Governor Romney wins South Carolina or not, we’ll get our opportunity, and the conservatives will support an alternative. The money will be there, and eventually, we’ll have our opportunity, and there’ll be plenty of states out there, plenty of delegates left. This idea that the Romney campaign is trying to spin that this is a fait accompli is simply not based on any reality. And as much as the press would like to end this in a couple of days, it’s not going to happen. A couple of primaries? It’s not going to happen.

HH: www.ricksantorum.com, if you want to help the Senate press on. Thank you, Senator Santorum. www.ricksantorum.com

End of interview.

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