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Rick Santorum One Week Out From Iowa

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Rick Santorum joined me today to discuss next week’s Iowa Caucuses:

Audio: 01-25hhs-santorum

Transcript:

HH: It’s Hugh Hewitt, joined now by former United States senator, Rick Santorum, who makes number 146 since the first Republican presidential debate, the Fox News debate in August, I have done 146 interviews with would-be GOP nominees. Rick Santorum is number 146, but I’m looking at a USA Today story that tells me that maybe I shouldn’t have bothered. Are you getting out? That’s what the USA Today says.

RS: The USA Today has not run a story on me on me I think since I announced. So they ignore me the whole time. They send a reporter to a church service that I’m attending, and they go out and say, “Well, you’re not doing well, are you getting out of the race?” And I said, tomorrow we’re starting out our InVest in America tour, where we’re going to be unveiling a surprise, maybe not a big surprise, but we got out the sweater vest, we’re ready for the home-stretch. I’m doing 45 townhall meetings and business [meetings] all across the state of Iowa. We’re organizing caucus captains. We’re going to surprise people on caucus night, we’re going to get our top four or five finished and we’re going to be one of the stories there, so I went on and talked about how great things are going and she said, “Well, but what if you don’t win? What if you don’t do well?” I said, well look, we’ll make adjustments after that and just like I did in the last race, if it doesn’t look like there’s a path, then we’ll make the decision as it comes. And so the story is, Rick Santorum is getting out of the race. It’s just crazy.

HH: (Laughs). I immediately called Danielle, my booking producer, to get you on, when I saw the vest was back this morning. I saw a picture of you in the vest, and when you took the vest out, I knew the guns were on the table and (laughs).

RS: We’re ready to fire, man. We’re doing InVest in America, we’re talking about American manufacturing, we’re talking about getting jobs back in, that China is shifting their focus away from manufacturing to take care of the service needs of their people in healthcare and education and they’re going to start cutting back. It’s a real opportunity for us if we have a president who is going to go out there and talk about how we’re going to get working men and women jobs and training and vocational education. I’m feeling like we’re on fire right now with the right message at the right time. The cool thing is, I just came from Burlington, Iowa, and we have Democrats showing up on our townhall meetings and I had two Democrats just at the last meeting saying that they were going to switch their party and vote for me because someone is talking about creating jobs in America that makes sense to them so I’m excited, I really am.

HH: Now Rick Santorum, people can follow you on Twitter @RickSantorum. Where do they [go for] the InVest in America campaign, what’s the URL for that?

RS: Of course you’re going to hit me with something, just go to RickSantorum.com. All of the stuff is on our main webpage.

HH: Alright.

RS: They can follow it from there.

HH: Alright, now let me read to you what President Obama told Glenn Thrush today in a Politico piece, he said, “John McCain didn’t call for banning Muslims from the United States. John McCain was a conservative, but he was well within the mainstream of not just the Republican party, but within our political dialogue and that’s where ultimately any voter is going to have to pay attention to the degree to which the Republican rhetoric and Republican vision has moved not just to the right, but has moved to a place that is unrecognizable.” Can you believe this president is saying the Republican party is outside of the mainstream?

RS: It’s sort of funny that the Democratic party is on the verge of nominating an admitted European Socialist and basically his policies are identical to Barack Obama’s policies, he’s just more forthright that the Democratic Party has moved to a European Socialist type of motif with a secular message, a message with government running and operating everything which is what Barack Obama has done. You want to talk about someone who’s changed the whole value structure of this country with respect to the family, and the Republicans are the ones that are the most extreme. Republicans are simply talking about what we’ve talked about for the last 200-and-something years which is principle American constitutional values. That’s now extreme under Barack Obama.

HH: Now Rick Santorum, I wasn’t the only one that noticed this, but at the State of the Union, the applause lines for the president were fewer and more muted and that’s because he’s wiped out the Democratic party. This county has not really changed, the president’s trying, but it has not really changed.

RS: That’s why we have to to have the opportunity, and I keep coming back to the message I just shared with you, that if we have the opportunity of someone going out and appeal to a lot of Democratic voters, I’m so excited to see Democrats start showing up in our townhalls here in Iowa, and really coming over to vote with us because they’re looking for someone that isn’t the extreme of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, that’s just so far out there that Hillary Clinton has been pulled over by Sanders to be the socialist that he is and they’re looking for someone who can reach in and pull up this country together, and, my experience in Pennsylvania, where you’re in a state with a million-and-a-half more Democrats than Republicans. We did it because we got a lot of Democratic votes that are blue-collared workers from all ethnicities and stripes to look at someone who can bring this country together and get us on a path toward the 74-percent of Americans who are aged 25-65 who don’t have a college degree could have a good-paying job and be able to provide for themselves and their family.

HH: Now Rick Santorum, earlier today, I’ve been talking about this Donald Trump nugget from the weekend.

DT: The people, my people, are so smart, and you know what else they say about my people? The polls, they say, I have the most loyal people, did you ever see that? Where I can stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s like it’s incredible.

HH: What do you make of that?

RS: Well, I’m sure it’s just a joke.

HH: It’s a joke.

RS: Some people make jokes, and this was an off-color joke, but I think what he’s saying is, you can pretty much do anything and people have stuck by it and you know what, that’s pretty much been the case (laughs).

HH: And I agree. Why is that? What has he tapped into?

RS: Well, I think he’s tapped into a visceral reaction, the American public are two-front. Number one, he’s not willing to back down from the media, he says that when he espouses things that base Republicans espouse that are politically-incorrect and he does it in the most politically-incorrect way possible in those cases, he doesn’t back down and shoves it right back to the media and the media just doesn’t know what to do. And that is very gratifying (laughs) for a lot of Republicans who have been told that what they believe in is, as the president just said, extreme, and un-American and all these things. And so I think that’s part of it, and part of it I think it is some of the issues that he’s highlighted and really tapped into. Maybe I shared this story with you, but I went out and visited Donald a year and a half ago when I was in New York, and I walked into his office and he was sitting behind his desk and he was holding the copy of my book, Blue-Collared Conservative, and as you know, we went on a book tour together.

HH: Yep.

RS: And I walked into his office and he said, before I said anything, he said, “I read your book.” And I said, “The hell you read my book.” And he said, “No, I really read my book.” And I said, “No, you didn’t read my book.” And he said, “Yes, I did. This is exactly the right message.” And I think he’s tapped into that, and I feel flattered in some respects. He’s out there talking about what we could do to create jobs and Blue-Collared Americans, he’s talking about expansion, he’s talking about manufacturing jobs, he’s talking about trade, and he’s done it in a way that’s getting a lot of attention.

HH: Stay right there, Rick Santorum is my guest. I’ll close today’s show by talking to him. Don’t go anywhere, America. It’s the Hugh Hewitt Show.

– – – – – – –

HH: My guest is Rick Santorum, interview number 146 since the first Republican debate. Senator Santorum, I have an opinion piece over at CNN Opinion that says this is the evangelical moment. Once every four or eight years, evangelicals and Mass-attending Catholics, and by that I mean people who go to church or Mass at least twice a month, 11 months out of the year. That’s my definition. I don’t people who self-identify your action.

RS: Right.

HH: That once every four or eight years, they get to make a statement in Iowa. And I pointed out that you and Mike Huckabee have made that statement as their vehicle before, I don’t know who’s going to make that statement this time. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are both playing for it. Are your troops still there? Are the pastors and the priests and the parachurch leaders who have been with Rick Santorum still with him this year?

RS: Yeah, some of them are, obviously some of them are not. There’s a lot more people in the field. You’re right, Mike Huckabee is in, Mike Huckabee has had those people before I did, some of them are looking for a new face and they moved on. So there’s question that it’s been shattered, but we still have a good solid base, and I feel very comfortable, we’re going to surprise people, and part it is because, if you look at the field, Mike and I are really the only two that have taken a principled position that four years ago that could have gotten me endorsements of some of these family pro-life groups. And Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and others are taking positions that four years ago they would have never been endorsed by any of these groups. But they’ve settled and in large part, many of them have settled because they have the most money. And instead of someone who’s got the right principles, and I think that’s disappointing. I know it’s disappointing for Mike, too, but I still believe that as people spend this last week here in Iowa focusing in the issues, they are going to see candidates like Paul and Cruz and Rubio who don’t stand for marriage, who aren’t going to stand up and fight as President of the United States to reclaim the American family and reclaim that institution. I think that will be factor in getting people to my way as they see the real position of some of these candidates in this race.

HH: Last key question. You took the sweater vest back out. Does it still fit, or have we added a few pounds in four years, Rick Santorum?

RS: I’m actually wearing a smaller-sized sweater vest than I wore last time. How about that?

HH: Oh, we’re not buying that at all. I’m not believing that (laughs).

RS: (Laughs).

HH: (Laughs) I’m not going to believe that, in the least, that puts all of us who are over 55 in a very bad place. I’m not believing that at all. Rick Santorum, 45 events, is that what you said in the next week?

RS: That’s what we’re doing this week. That’s right.

HH: Gosh, God love you and good luck. Rick Santorum out on the trail in Iowa. I will be in Des Moines on Saturday and Sunday, maybe I’ll see you there, but you’ll probably be in the western part of the state.

RS: I will be in the west, go to RickSantorum.com if you want to help us out. We’d appreciate it.

HH: RickSantorum.com.

End of Interview

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