Rick Santorum: Transcript of ABC/Yahoo News Exclusive Interview

PHOTO: GOP Candidate Rick Santorum gives an exclusive interview to ABC News John Berman, Nov. 8, 2011.
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JOHN BERMAN: Hi, there, I'm John Berman in Manchester, New Hampshire. And we are live for a series on ABCNews.com and Yahoo News. It's an original series called Newsmakers. And I'm here with the former senator from the State of Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum, running for president. Thank you for joining us, and we'll jump right into the questions, Senator.

RICK SANTORUM: Thank you.

JOHN BERMAN: Senator, when did you know you wanted to be president of the United States?

RICK SANTORUM: Hah-- well, know-- I-- I guess I would say-- it was a process. I-- when I was going through this process, people would ask me, "Are you running?" I would say, "No, I'm walking." 'Cause I felt like I was just sort of walking down the path, trying to discern whether this is really something I wanted to-- to do. And-- and just, you know, Karen, my wife and I, the kids, we prayed a lot about it, we thought a lot about it, and-- and really felt that, you know, this was a very critical time in our country's history and that-- as a good father, a good husband, and as someone who is very grateful for the opportunities America gave me, my-- the son of an Italian immigrant.

So I just-- to me, America's still very fresh. And-- and in the sense of my-- of our own experience here as a family. And so I-- I just felt like I had to step forward and-- and try to-- and try to get this country back on the right track. And then I thought I had somethin' to offer to the equation. And-- was not particularly happy with-- with the choices that-- that I was looking at with respect to the other candidates. They're good people, but I felt like I brought something different to the table that-- our country needed, at this time, so I-- I-- I stepped forward.

JOHN BERMAN: Any doubts that you were the right man at the right time?

RICK SANTORUM: No, I-- I really don't have any doubts. I mean, I wouldn't be doin' this. If I thought someone else could do-- the job that-- I believe I can do and-- and be successful in winning this race, which I think-- I'm in the best position to do, I-- I would be very happy to step aside. It's not a lifelong dream of mine. This is not something that I've aspired to. And this is somethin' I feel like I need to do in-- in order to serve our country. And-- and, you know, my family and-- and the future of our-- of our nation.

JOHN BERMAN: I-- I think some people will be surprised to hear you say you think you're in the best position to win this race, because that's not what the polls show today. Why are you in the best position?

RICK SANTORUM: Well, I think I've got the-- the best track record of anybody out there. I'm-- you know, I've been someone who is-- been a strong-- consistent conservative on all the issues. Someone who-- has been unwavering. I mean, I think America's looking for someone that they can trust. Someone who's authentic. Someone who will tell it straight. Lay-- lay it on the line, whether people agree with you or not. And you can say a lot of things about-- about me, but I-- I think I have a pretty strong re-- reputation. And a reputation of taking on Democrat incumbents and being successful. No one else in this race has ever defeated a Democratic incumbent on a nation-- on a big race. And I've done it. And I've won a swing state, which is also important.

JOHN BERMAN: So if all this is true, why aren't you doing better in the polls?

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