'This Week' Transcript: GOP Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum

For example, the government-mandated health insurance that is at the core of Obamacare is something Newt Gingrich has supported for 20 years. The big bank Wall Street bailout, something that Newt Gingrich supported. Sitting on the couch with Nancy Pelosi during a very critical time when we were trying to fight off the cap-and-trade bill, immigration and a path to citizenship. I mean, these are core issues of the Republican base where Newt Gingrich is absolutely wrong and, by the way, Mitt Romney is wrong.

And, really, the race is a three-person race, and there's one strong, consistent conservative in this race. There's one candidate that can rally the Republican base, one candidate you don't have to worry about what he's going to say or do. He's going to, you know, criticize Paul Ryan's plan as right-wing social engineering. You know, his campaign staff's going to leave him, you know, en masse. This is not, you know, the old Newt. This is the last six months. So there's a big, big difference between these three candidates.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But, Senator, you've been making that case for some time right now. But looking at the exit polls coming out of South Carolina, among the voters who thought that electability, who can beat Obama, was more important -- there were a lot of them, 45 percent -- Newt Gingrich got 51 percent of them, Romney 37 percent. You were way down at 7 percent. And then of candidates looking for a very conservative candidate, a lot of those, as well, 36 percent, but Newt Gingrich gets almost -- more than double what you got.

So if you're not winning among the very conservative and you're not winning among those who want to beat Obama, what's your rationale?

SANTORUM: Well, look, we -- if you look at the numbers in Iowa, they were just the opposite. You look at the numbers in New Hampshire, they were -- they were tilted in a different direction. I mean, Newt put his flag here in South Carolina. It's a state that he knows well. It's a neighboring state for him. He spent all of his time and money down here. I spent a lot -- most of my time and money -- and certainly time, not money -- in Iowa.

And this is -- you know, these three races, in many respects, were -- are baked much more than the races going forward. And now we're going to have an opportunity for folks who haven't had the kind of exposure to the candidates that the three early primary states have, and we're going to see a very, very different dynamic.

George, there's one thing you know, that if you don't like the state of the play of the race right now, just wait until the next race. And we're going to see a completely different story. And that's the dynamism of this race.

So this idea that, because one person did well, Newt finished fourth and fifth. Where was everybody calling him to get out of the race? You know, we finished a very -- you know, we came from single digits in the last week and -- and really had a strong finish, a good debate. You know, we won Iowa, got really no bump from that because it happened the day before the primary.

There's a lot -- there's a lot of races to go. We're going to Florida and beyond.

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