Full Transcript: ABC News Iowa Republican Debate

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RICK SANTORUM: Well, I was just down in Fremont County, which is down in the far southwest corner of the state, and they just lost about, a couple hundred jobs at a ConAgra plant down there. And Governor Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Reynolds understand, that's why they asked us to have a forum here in Pella a few weeks ago on manufacturing.

They understand that the heartland of America is suffering because the manufacturing economy of this country continues to go down. We used to have 21% of people employed in this country in manufacturing, it's now nine. And it hurts disproportionately small town and rural America. So what I learned from traveling around Iowa is we had to get a plan together that'll revitalized manufacturing.

So I took the corporate tax, not the 12%. I zeroed it out for all manufacturers. We want manufacture, we want "Made in the U.S.A." to be the moniker under my administration. We want an administra-- we want-- to put a platform together that's gonna repeal regulations that are crushing our-- our b-- manufacturers and businesses. I'll repeal, one thing a president can do, he can't pass a law, but he can repeal regulations.

And Barack Obama has given us-- a bevy of regulations that need to be repealed, starting with a lot of our energy regulations that driving up our energy costs. That's another part of d-- of the plan, is to-- to make sure we have lower electricity rates, that we have oil and gas drilling going on here, so manufacturing can afford to be here. You put together that plan, we will get-- not only revitalize the economy, we'll-- we'll take care of an area of the ec-- of this country that has suffered in-- in recent times. And that's rural and small-town America.

DIANE SAWYER: I just wanna point out, I think that Governor Romney is the only one who actually gave a four-year, first-term number, which was again, 11.5 million jobs. Wondered if anyone else wanted to come in with a four-year, first-term promise for the American people.

RICK SANTORUM: I'm not--

MALE VOICE #2: Well--

RICK SANTORUM: --I-- I-- I-- I'm not gonna make a promise, because I don't believe you s-- I don't believe that government can sit there and-- and-- and from the top down dictate how many jobs are here. What we can do is we can create an atmosphere for businesses to thrive. And we know what that means. Less regulation, where-- a regulation that works for-- for-- for businesses, taxation that makes us competitive, a litigation environment that makes us competitive.

You create the platform. You create the-- you create that petri dish, you'll get lots of things growing there. And I don't need-- some government bean counter to tell us we've got a right-- right program to be able to c-- create jobs in this country.

DIANE SAWYER: I wanna move on if I can, to another question which represents some of the urgent and tough choices presidents have to make, because this one is coming up soon, December 31st. And it is the payroll tax cut. And as we know, the payroll tax cut, which funds the Social Security-- fund in this country is part of the argument, part of the debate, part of the consideration about the economy in this country right now.

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