Interview with Rick Santorum

The GOP presidential candidate challenges Mitt Romney for the nomination.
2:56 | 02/26/12

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Transcript for Interview with Rick Santorum
Good morning and welcome to this week. Battleground Michigan. The critical primary just two days away. We'll Mitt Romney finally. Opt out -- You're -- to save the bridge to nowhere or -- Rick santorum's for a stunning upset in Romney's home state. Every time we run a moderate weight loss and is this primary battle helping President Obama. Questions -- headliners the man of the moment senator Rick Santorum. Plus Romney supporter governor Rick Snyder and co chair of Obama's campaign Governor Deval Patrick. Then feel. After -- What to watch more on this Oscar Sunday football -- Politics powerhouse roundtable with ABC's George -- -- hope you Roberts and two former governors from the Michigan battleground. Democrat Jennifer rented -- and Republican John and. From ABC news This Week with George Stephanopoulos. It's your voice your vote. Reporting from the newseum in Washington DC George Stephanopoulos. Good morning everyone it has been a rough and tumble week on the campaign trail all eyes now on the midwest battleground Michigan. The big question will it be a decisive tipping point in this tumultuous race. Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum neck and neck right now as senator Santorum is our headline this morning from Marquette Michigan good morning senator. Good morning charged Daria I'm OK thank you it looks like this tough week is taking a -- on you the latest Gallup poll want to show what happened this week he started out the week plus ten. In the Gallup poll yesterday it was a dead heat we're seeing the same kind of trends. In Michigan what's happening there. All you know look this is this is going to be a long race and it's going to be some ups and -- downs and you know what happens and when you I think you get that that position to be out front. At what we just does -- focus though we stayed focused on. On here in Michigan a particular talking about manufacturing jobs -- about energy and try to get energy prices lower and in -- the response we've gotten has been absolutely great we've -- great crowds we've focused on on building this economy particularly focused on. On making sure that lower income people folks who don't have the skill set. That has been rewarded a lot this knowledge economy. Have the opportunity to get those basic skills get those good manufacturing jobs rise up the latter and have the opportunity succeed for themselves and their family and we're going to continue that message here in Michigan and across this country. Seems though that that debate performance earlier this week was a setback for guy I noticed the -- you should prepared more I was in New York Times and governor Romney. Has -- in on this moment where you discussed your vote for No Child Left Behind. I have to admit -- voted for that. It was against the the principles I believe then but you know when you're when you're part of the team some time to take one for the team for the leader and I made a mistake. You know politics is a team -- folks like. Crowd didn't like it -- says it suggesting you're playing for the wrong team. And that you'd like to take that answer back is he right. Quality about -- -- forests making sure that we stick to the American principles that made this country the greatest catcher in the news of the world and you look at my record and a particularly on education what -- -- proposing and fighting for. -- to get the federal government out of the education business actually debt. Get the state -- less in the education business and bring it back to families and communities and here and you know where where where education should be should be and -- Responsibility of the of the people in the community and particularly the parents. They should be involved in making sure that we have. Customize education for every child -- America I think that -- against the principles. Well -- you know looking back on it that that was the case but here's the amazing thing. -- that governor Romney supports. No Child Left Behind I looked at No Child Left Behind after was enacted and saw what happened. And saw the export expansion of the federal government in the role in education and I said you know that was that that's not what I believe it. And governor Romney still believes -- that governor -- defends No Child Left Behind and supports -- today. I don't because against the principles I believe it. It's obviously not against the principles of governor Romney I have principles I have principles that that support the the basic foundational principles of our country. Governor Romney is now only. Wrong on the issue of education with the federal government state government having you know basically micromanage it from the top down. But he's also wrong and a whole host of other principles of government involvement in health care system government involvement in and energy and manufacturing with -- -- traded as he proudly proclaimed that he was gonna put the first carbon cap. In the country -- when he was governor of Massachusetts are when he. Proudly pass and still defends government run health care in Massachusetts. I've never been for any of those things I believe in. Three people and free markets and capitalism I didn't defend the Wall Street -- he does he still today does it. These are the differences and that's the team -- on the team that supports. Free markets free people and bottom up not the team that governor Romney supports which is big government and the top. On the question of bail us you also running an ad in Michigan we suggested governor Ronnie turned his back. -- the workers of Michigan of course referring to the auto bail out there but you also are opposed. To the auto -- -- isn't it disingenuous to charge that -- is turning his back on Michigan when you have the same position. Well we have the same position on that but we don't have the same position on ballots. When I was and southwestern Pennsylvania as as a young man I saw the steel industry just decimated. And no government bailout came to the steel industry we went through the very tough difficult time and Western Pennsylvania a -- most of the mills close their big companies that you would have never thought Bethlehem steel would not be around anymore but it's not. What happened what happened was. That the marketplace work and look at southwestern Pennsylvania Pittsburgh it's growing it's prosperous its diversified steel is still there it's just different. It's now all over the country and it's in a different way. I believe from that experience that you know what markets actually do work and I didn't support the Wall Street Dallas I didn't support Detroit. Mitt Romney supported his friends on Wall Street and had turned his back on the people of Detroit. Now I -- turned his back because he supports the concept to bail out. I don't -- and that's the difference between the two approach you -- talked as friends on Wall Street there but you also think history is something -- -- a little bit on her before he said the nit Romney sounds like a member of Occupy Wall Street what did you mean by. Right well because it in his tax plan -- he laid out what he was gonna do it cutting rates which I'm I'm I'm glad he came to the party because he wasn't cutting rates. Up until just just this week. He actually said well -- reduced the tax rates and an actually put the highest rate and it is tax code. At 28% which is that top rate that I put in my my plants I welcome that. But what he dead was say that on the net pay for this by taxing the top 1%. That's Occupy Wall Street terminology without you know this idea that well we're gonna make the rich pay for this in the weight 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 to adopt for purposes of charitable giving. We charitable giving this so important. To make sure that we have vibrant. Mediating institutions and our country you know schools -- Nonprofit organizations that really do help the 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 -- get. Governor Romney's on the team of government. Doing more things and that's his record in Massachusetts and he can't run away from. Let me ask you about Afghanistan for Americans were killed this week by Afghans in uniform. Does it make you think that it's time to rethink -- -- You know what I can't continually -- -- this mission there look there are no question that things have been possibly accomplish in this in this latest move and I congratulate. The president for committing the troops that not as many as was requested that committed the troops to. And the counterinsurgency that's been going on in Afghanistan. But obviously there are still huge problems there the huge -- what -- network these 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 on acceptable. The idea that such a mistake was made clearly a mistake which we should not -- apologize for in state. There was nothing deliberate well because -- 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 need to win that is -- -- you should not be apologizing for something. That was a an unfortunate say it's unfortunate say that this is something that should've been done we will -- better procedures. But to apologize for something that was not an intentional act is something that the president -- states in my opinion should not done. But if it was a mistake isn't apologizing right and Smart thing to do. Well again it it it it it suggests that there are somehow blame this is somehow that that we did something. Wrong in the sense of doing -- deliberate act wrong I think it shows that we are that I think it shows weakness I think what we say is -- What what happened here was wrong. But it was it was not something that was deliberate and we are we you know we take responsibility for its unfortunate but to apologize. I think. Lends credibility that somehow or another that it was more than that then let me get back education you're talking about that the top of this -- -- you talk to -- President Obama. And education yesterday -- -- she said. President Bob wants that said he wants everybody in America to go to cop. Let's not. Good decent editor -- Work hard every day and put their skills to test that are taught by some liberal college professor. And colleges and part of the American dream for generations senator why -- articulate and aspiration make the presence not. I think because there -- a lot of people in this country that. Have no desire no no aspiration to go to college because they have a different set of skills and desires and dreams that don't include college -- to sort of lay out there that somehow this is this is it should be. Everybody's goal I think devalues the tremendous work the people who. Frankly don't don't go to college and don't wanna go to college because they have a lot of other talents and skills that frankly college. To. You know four year colleges may not be able to to assist them -- there are other -- there's technical schools -- additional training vocational training. Their skills and an apprenticeships there's all sorts of things that people can do to upgrade their skills to be very productive and that rate it -- -- American -- I think that -- and build their community. -- said -- he wants quote every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training. In your interview with Glenn Beck this week he seemed to go further the -- said. I understand why Barack Obama want to send every kid to college because they are indoctrination -- what does that mean. Well of course I mean you look at the if you look at the college and universities churches is not is not something that's knew what most Americans -- How liberal -- colleges and universities are -- And how many children in fact are and looked I've gone through what I went through to Penn State you'd you'd talk to most kids who go to college and who are conservatives. And you were singled out you are you're ridiculed you are. I can tell you personally I know that you know that we I went through a process where I was docked for my conservative views this this is sort of a regular return you know -- They that this statistic at that I at least I was familiar with from few years ago I don't know if it's still holds true but I suspect it may be worse. -- 62% of kids who enter college with some sort of faith commitment leave without -- -- sent -- this is not all the -- -- -- setting it makes it sound like you think there's something wrong with encouraging college education. Now the out of all of that understand that we have some real probably -- -- -- college campuses with political correctness with. -- an ideology that is forced upon people who -- you know who may not agree with the the political correct left left doctrine and one of the things I've I've spoken out what I will continue to speak out is that. To make sure that conservative and more mainstream. A common sense conservative than. Principles that have made this country great are reflected in our college courses and with college professors. And then in many many and I would argue most institutions in this country that simply isn't the case you've also spoken out about the issue of religion and politics in early in the campaign you talked about John F Kennedy's famous speech. To the Baptist ministers in Houston back in 1960 -- -- say. -- my political career I had the opportunity to read the speech as well. You should read the speech. Has speech has been read as you know by millions. Of Americans its themes were echoed in part by Mitt Romney in the last campaign -- -- you make you throw line. Because the first line first substantive line in the speech says. I believe in America where the -- the separation of church and state is absolute. I don't believe in an America where the separation church and state is absolute. The idea that day that this the church can have no influence or no involvement. In the operation of the state which is absolutely antithetical. To the to the objectives and and and vision of our -- this a First Amendment. The First Amendment says the free exercise of religion. That means bringing everybody people of faith and no faith into the public square. Kennedy for the first time articulated a vision saying no faith is not allowed in the public square I will keep it separate -- ought to read the speech I will have nothing to do with faith I won't consult with people of faith. It was an absolutist doctrine that was four. At the time of 1960 I went down to Houston Texas fifty years. Almost of the day and gave a speech and talked about how important it is for everybody to feel welcome in the public square people of faith people of no faith. And be able to bring their ideas to bring their their their their their passions into the public square and have have -- out. James Mattis thank you wanted to wrap up perfect remedy. We get well absolutely to say the people of faith have no role in the public square you bet that makes you throw up. What kind of country do we live in that says only people of non faith. Can come in the public square and make their case that makes me throw up and should make every American were seen from a president someone who -- who is now trying to tell people pay faith. That you will do what the government says we're gonna oppose -- -- our values on you. Not that you can't come to the public square and argue against it but now we're going to turn around and say we're gonna impose. Our values from the government on people of faith. Which of course is the next logical step when people of faith at least according to John Kennedy had no role in -- -- Square we have a lot of questions this from on FaceBook and Twitter only play one of them team from a -- since Chris -- What should we do with all the non Christians in this country if I do not hold his belief which I do not how does he plan on representing me. Yeah I just said I mean that's that's the whole point that bit upset about Kennedy's speech. Come into the public square. I -- what I -- not the people like disagree with come to my town hall meeting says as people looked on the they disagree with -- and let's have a discussion. Let's -- let's hear your ideas let's let's bring them and let's explain why you believe what you believe in what you think is best for the country. People look these people of no -- people of different -- That's what America's all about it's it's bringing that diversity into an end and challenge of the different ideas that that motivate people and our country. That's what makes America works and what we're -- what -- we -- Kennedy's speech is just the opposite and that's what was upset in the we're just about at a time -- -- eloquent on that point he also have a car. In the Daytona 500 today you -- -- say average. He's -- started on wrote what he wants out of 22 but that -- -- -- -- was he was one of the final qualifiers and I'm so excited Tony Raines is our driver it's that it's the 26 guards -- forward which I'm very excited about it. You know will be watch it a note that this afternoon that he actually I talked about about a strategy -- recommend that he stayed back in the pack. -- want to hang back there until the right time. And that -- bolt of the front would it really count but let's watch a I'm hoping that for the first you know maybe 3400 miles east it way way back -- all the other folks crash and burn and then he got better when this. I sense of metaphor there -- watching today's senate thanks very well really I did. But -- -- backyard.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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