'This Week' Transcript: GOP Candidate Rick Santorum

SANTORUM: I don't it dooms anybody's chances. Look, this is a primary process where somebody had a huge advantage, huge money advantage, huge advantage of establishment support, and he hasn't been able to close the deal and even come close to closing the deal. That tells you that there's a real flaw there. And the fact that we're able to do this, just by having a, as I said before, a great message, and the American people, Republicans and conservatives, lining up behind us -- enthusiastically doing so -- fighting the establishment, you know, clawing our way, you know, into contention here. It just tells you that people are looking for something different, they are looking for something that they can, you know, go after President Obama and make the contrast.

You know, as I was saying yesterday out on the road in Illinois, I mean, there's just -- there is increasingly -- the more I look at the record of Governor Romney and match it up against Barack Obama, I feel like I'm doing a training run for the general election. The same issues I'm out there campaigning on against Governor Romney are the same issues I'm going to campaign against Barack Obama on, which is, you know, the government overreach in health care, and cap-and-trade, trying to control the manufacturing and energy sector of the economy. And of course, you know, the bailouts. All of these things are -- you know, unfortunately Governor Romney and Barack Obama are in the same place. So that's one of the reasons you are not seeing him close the deal is mandates.

KARL: Are you saying that there's not much difference between Romney and Obama?

SANTORUM: On those issues, there clearly isn't. And as you know, Jonathan, those were the issues that really spurred our victory in 2010 was this idea of government mandates and control of the economy, and you know, the bailouts, and the attempt to try to take over the energy use in our country through cap-and-trade, and of course the successful takeover of the economy, Obamacare. Governor Romney is on the same page as Barack Obama on all of these issues. And that's what, again, you see conservatives all across this country rejecting someone who they don't see a difference between this president. We can't be out there nominating someone who gives away the most important issues that conservatives care about in this election when it comes to the economy.

KARL: You know, Gingrich has suggested, Newt Gingrich has suggested that he's actually helping you out here, that by staying in the race he's making it harder for Romney to get a majority of the delegates. I imaging you don't see it that way, but if this -- you believe this is a two-man race. Is it time for a head-to-head debate, you against Mitt Romney?

SANTORUM: I would love to have a head-to-head debate with Governor Romney. The idea, for example, you know, he pushes back and says Romneycare is nothing like Obamacare and he never advocated for it, which of course he did, in op-eds as well as on television programs. And even in the 2008 election, when he got up and was questioned by Fred Thompson in the 2008 election, Governor Romney said mandates, I love mandates. Mandates work, this is what we need to do, we need to force people to buy insurance, and he defended his record in Massachusetts, and in fact argued for exactly what President Obama put in place, was a government-mandated health care program at the federal level.

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