'This Week' Transcript: GOP Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum

But George mentioned that we're seeing old patterns or we aren't seeing old patterns. I think we're seeing some truly old patterns emerge in this race, if you think we now have the surge of a street fighter with a history of poisonous politics.

And we heard very clearly in these debates in South Carolina a replay of a 2012 version of Nixon's Southern strategy, this playing on the racial grievances and resentments, attacking a mythic liberal media, attacking now Obama's otherness. This is very dangerous for the country.

And I know some Democrats are cheering because Newt Gingrich has historically unfavorably high ratings, but you have a party taking this country into an abyss of poisonous grievances, when this country desperately needs solutions to economic problems...

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Those Democrats include those in the White House looking for Newt Gingrich. They do want him.

VANDEN HEUVEL: ... of this country.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you -- you brought up two points that really harken -- a big thing that led to Newt's surge this week, two debate moments. And I want to show both of them, and then we can talk about it. The first one, when he got into that tussle with Juan Williams of Fox after Williams suggested that Newt's talk about food stamps was insulting to African-Americans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: It sounds as if you're seeking to belittle people.

(BOOING)

GINGRICH: Well, first of all, Juan, the fact is that more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: And then the night of "Nightline's" interview with his former wife, Marianne Gingrich, Newt Gingrich in Thursday's debate goes right after John King of CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office, and I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate with a topic like that.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Ron, we've been talking a lot about Mitt Romney, but we also saw this week in South Carolina the debates mattered a lot.

BROWNSTEIN: We saw the conservative opportunity -- Newt Gingrich from the 1970s was a back-bencher at the far reaches of the House who was, you know, talking in very vitriolic language to get noticed.

Look, the formula that had been working for Mitt Romney until now was divide and conquer. In Iowa, New Hampshire, in the national polling, he was consolidating the center of the party behind him more than anyone was consolidating the right of the party against him. That has now broken down.

If you look in South Carolina, evangelical Christians, strong Tea Party supporters, very conservative, voters under 50,000 and non-college Republicans, all strands of what could be called the populist wing of the Republican Party, Newt Gingrich got up to 40 percent among them by articulating, I think, that kind of core anger they feel at both Washington and elites in general.

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