'This Week' Transcript: GOP Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum

The longer this campaign goes on, George, the better it is for conservatives, the better it is for our party. We stay focused on the issues, which is going out and taking on Barack Obama. The Republicans are the focus. I know why the media would love to have this race over, because they'd like to -- and the Obama administration, because they'd like to take aim on whoever the nominee as quickly as they can and start carpet-bombing them. I don't think that's going to happen, and I don't think it's a good thing that it does happen.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, it looks like it's going to be a long one. Senator Santorum, thanks for your time this morning.

SANTORUM: Thank you very much, George. Appreciate it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And with that, let's get straight to our roundtable. I am joined, as always, by George Will, Katrina vanden Heuvel of The Nation magazine, ABC's Matthew Dowd, and Amy Walter over here on my right, editorial director of the National Journal, Ron Brownstein.

And let's get right to it, George. Boy, what a difference a week makes. Last Sunday, Mitt Romney looking to do something never been done in Republican primaries, get a clean sweep, three in a row. This week, something else we haven't seen before: three primaries and caucuses, three winners.

WILL: Yes, the old pattern has now been broken, and that is, for five consecutive times -- beginning with Reagan in 1980 -- Candidate A wins Iowa, Candidate B wins New Hampshire, and either A or B wins South Carolina and the nomination. That's over.

Mitt Romney's going-in trump card was electability. If you go back now to his 1994 Senate primary, he's been in 25 races. His record is 6 wins and 19 losses.

BROWNSTEIN: (OFF-MIKE)

WILL: Newt Gingrich won, it seems, at least 43 of 46 counties. He carried women and evangelical conservative South Carolina. He carried evidently all seven congressional districts. So here's what we now know. We all thought going in that the big problem for Romney might be his Mormonism. It might be the Massachusetts health care plan. That's not it. Mitt Romney's problem is somehow his Romney-ness, that is the fact that people are just not connecting with him, not just that he's the first candidate we've ever had from the financial sector, which turns out to be a problem, because finance is, A, mysterious and, B, disliked, but there's something about him that is not connecting.

DOWD: I think the most -- the most consistent thing in this inconsistent race has been the -- Mitt Romney's inability to sell himself in this race. He came in this race as the establishment candidate. He came in this race that most people thought was the odds-on favorite. He came in this race, as we've presented argument, with the best organization, best campaign, and best money.

And as we've seen this entire process unfold, the problem has been -- maybe not his Romney-ness, but maybe his Mitt-ness, because he cannot sell himself as an authentic, competent conservative in this field. And now he's back to -- we thought they broke the lid. He's back to the 28 percent, 25 percent. And that's a huge problem. And it's going be a huge problem in Florida.

VANDEN HEUVEL: He's bleeding, because he has not been able to deal with the tax issue, with the fundamental unfairness that he is an MRI of, and so amateurish.

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