'This Week' Transcript: GOP Candidate Rick Santorum

SANTORUM: Right. Well, because in his tax plan, when he laid out what he was going to do and cutting rates, which I'm glad he came to the party, because he wasn't cutting rates up until just this week. He actually said, well, he'll reduce the tax rates and actually put the highest rate in his tax code at 28 percent, which is the top rate that I put in my plan. So I welcome that.

But what he did was say that I'm going to pay for this by taxing the top 1 percent. That's Occupy Wall Street terminology.

We don't -- you know this idea that, well, we're going to make the rich pay for this -- and the way he does it is really very damaging to communities because he tells those who are higher income individuals that they're going to be limited on the amount of money they can deduct for purposes of charitable giving.

I mean, charitable giving is so important to make sure that we have vibrant, mediating (ph) institutions in our country, you know, schools and non-profit organizations that really do help to build the fabric of our community and not just rely upon the government.

So you would think the one area that you would not focus on making cuts are those very community organizations that make government less important in people's lives.

But, again, Governor Romney's on the team of government doing more things. That's his record in Massachusetts and he can't run away from it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me ask you about Afghanistan. Four Americans were killed this week by Afghans in uniform. Does it make you think that it's time to rethink the mission?

SANTORUM: You know what, I continually am rethinking this mission. There -- look, there are no question that things have been positively accomplished in this -- in this latest (ph) movement. I congratulate the president for committing the troops that -- not as many as was requested but committing the troops to -- in the counterinsurgency that's been going on in Afghanistan.

But, obviously, there are still huge problems there. There are huge problems with the Haqqani network. There are huge problems still being able to track down and deal with the Taliban, and there are serious problems with the Karzai government and clearly the reaction that what happened here.

This is unacceptable. The idea that a mistake was made, clearly a mistake, which we should not have apologized for --

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Why not?

SANTORUM: -- it was a mistake. There was nothing deliberate.

Well, because there was nothing deliberately done wrong here. This was something that happened as a mistake. Killing Americans in uniform is not a mistake. It was something that deliberate.

That that you -- when that is occurring, you should not be apologizing for something that was a -- an unfortunate -- say it's unfortunate, say that this is something that should have been done. We were not (ph) better procedures. But to apologize for something that was not an intentional act is something that the President of the United States, in my opinion, should not have done.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But if it was a mistake, isn't apologizing the right, important (ph) thing to do?

SANTORUM: Well, again, it suggests that there is somehow blame, this is somehow that we did something wrong in the sense of doing a deliberate act wrong. I think it shows that we are -- that I think it shows weakness.

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