Interview with Rick Santorum

Can the GOP presidential candidate take his fight all the way to the convention?
18:27 | 03/18/12

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Transcript for Interview with Rick Santorum
Good morning and welcome to this week. It's a two man race we did it again. The time is now for conservatives to pull together. Mitt Romney regain his momentum for senator Santorum is at the desperate and of his campaign and how -- Republicans you know right after this -- Questions this morning for our headliner. Continues to surprise. Rick Santorum. Save the white house on offense that probably bricks -- Angry. These guys have a fundamentally different economic philosophy we -- and on defense after a tragedy. No one wants. This is -- -- this is art works that in the rest of this week's politics with our powerhouse around. George Will Haley barber Bill Burton -- -- with -- Henderson. From ABC news. This Week with George Stephanopoulos. It's fewer reports -- -- Reporting from the museum in Washington. Jonathan -- Good morning everyone George Stephanopoulos has a well deserved morning off. It's been a wild week on the campaign trail voters in Alabama and Mississippi giving Rick santorum's campaign a lifeline. Yet in the all important delegate race Mitt Romney still holds a big lead with 496. Delegates Romney has nearly twice as many as Santorum. And he's almost halfway to the magic number 1144. Needed to win the nomination. But -- our headliner this morning has -- on all roll former senator Rick Santorum joins us now good morning senator. Good morning Jonathan it is so -- senator front page of the New York Times today has a big headline saying Republicans are girding for a fight on the convention floor. You've been saying this for days saying that. Basically nobody can really. -- get a majority of the delegates be before the convention are you saying essentially -- -- best chance of winning this nomination. Is a fight on the convention floor. Well we've still believe that -- appointed delegates out there for us to to do what we've been doing which is actually going out there and winning states in winning the tough battles are doing so over. Pretty overwhelming odds you consider the fact that where. You know I've to deal with congress Gingrich speaker Gingrich's -- -- in this race and it certainly pulling more votes from -- -- from governor Romney and being outspent. You know here in Illinois when I was just there yesterday and you know by ten to one. Yet we're -- in and -- were fighting reclined because we've got. The best message the the best contrasts with with -- Obama. And the best vision for our country and I think that's for people responding to in their I think they're getting tired of the negative ads are getting tired of -- just staring down the other side which is what Romney has been doing now for two elections in a row. And really providing no real vision for the country. But how likely do you think it is that this is gonna come to a battle on the convention floor as you know this is something that Romney -- said. Would doom the party's chances. Against Barack Obama. Well I don't think it dooms anybody's chances that -- this is a this is a primary process where. Somebody had a huge advantage huge money advantage huge advantage of establishment support. And he hasn't been able to close the deal and even come close to closing the deal that tells you that there's a real flaw there. And the fact that we are able to do this. Just by having eight as -- as I said before a great message and and the American people the Republicans and conservatives. Lining up behind -- enthusiastically doing -- fighting the establishment. You know clawing our way you know into contention here just tells you that people are looking for something different -- looking for something that. Taken you know quite after pres Obama and make the contrast that -- -- as it was saying yesterday out of the road and Illinois. I mean there's just there's increasing the more -- look at the record of governor Romney and -- -- up against Barack Obama I feel like I'm doing the training run for the general election. The same issues I'm out -- campaign not against governor Romney the same issues -- -- -- campaign against. Barack Obama on which is you know the government overreach and health care and cap and trade try to control the the manufacturing energy sector the atop and of the economy and and of course you know the bailouts all of these things are our you know unfortunately governor Romney and and Barack Obama -- the same place so. That's -- -- of the reasons you're not seen him close the deals mandates are are you saying did. There's not much difference between Romney and Obama. On those issues are clearly isn't as you know Jonathan those -- the issues that. There really spurred our victory in 2010 was this idea of government mandates in control of the economy and you know the bail -- and then. And the attempt to try to take over -- -- the the energy use and our country through cap and trade and and of course the successful takeover of the economy obamacare. Governor -- on the same page as Barack Obama and all of these issues and that's what -- -- again you that you see conservatives all across this country rejecting someone. Who they don't see a difference between this president we can't be out there -- nominating someone who gives away the most important issues to conservatives care about in this election when it comes to the economy. You know Gingrich has suggested Newt Gingrich suggested that he's actually helping you out here. Did -- by staying in the race he's making it harder for Romney to get a majority of the delegates. I imagine you don't see it that way but but -- if this. If you believe this a two man race is it time for a head to head debate. You against Mitt Romney. I'd love to have I had had a date with -- around -- in the idea for example you know he he pushes back and says Romney care is nothing like obamacare and he never advocated for which of course he did. I in an op ads as well as on -- television programs and and even in the 2008 election. What -- he got up and was questioned by Fred tops in the 2000 election. Governor Romney said mandates -- love mandates -- mandates work this is what we need to do we need to force people to buy insurance and and he defended his record. And in in Massachusetts and in fact argued for exactly what -- Obama put in place was a government mandated health care program at the federal level. We I'd love to be able to get one on one with. Governor Romney. And expose the record that would be the weakest record we could possibly put up against Barack Obama and that's again why believe ultimately you know we did very well yesterday in Missouri I think we're gonna do really. Really well in Illinois even though you know where again you know we're being. How -- -- a course congressman Gingrich is on the ballot in. And certainly the speaker to is taking a lot more votes from us and -- is from governor around me but still. We're hanging in there because people are seeing they're becoming -- round of the fact that we can't nominate such a weak candidate in the general election OK why just heard from -- a challenge for a head to head debating its Mitt Romney viable in turn give you an -- We can do it right here on this week. -- that. Look I'd love to do what I and see if not save governor -- he's going to come out he's been turning down every single debate. I he's hiding behind the billionaires who are finding his super pac. And spending outrageous amounts of money all running negative -- staring down the opponent on specious -- not talking about the issues that people are talking about their kitchen table. And in fact a lot of the criticisms that he's leveling against me are things -- it himself. Has -- in fact far worse like giving money to Planned Parenthood personally and and and funded abortion clinics while he was governor of Massachusetts with taxpayer dollars. Mean this is someone who who will say anything to get elected I think again people are recognizing. They want the genuine article a case now Puerto Rico primary today you obviously spent some time down there took some heat for suggesting that. If Puerto Rico while were to become up by a state they would need to have English as the official language in and I want to play something else he said. Fire. So what what what did you mean by that as far as I can tell there is no requirement for for official English right now there were require. Yet their. Yet there were requirements put on other states when they came into the union that they that English be that the principal language in that that'd be taught and spoken universally in the states. -- several states where as you know there were other languages spoken in the southwest Oklahoma Hawaii. And and so it was it was a condition. Five admission to state and and that's that's simply what I've said is only 15% according to the census. Are fluent in English and in Puerto Rico and what I've said is that obviously Puerto Rico is a Spanish speaking country and this is finished speaking island not a country but -- Rican island. And we'll continue to speak Spanish and of course that's the culture and have every right to do so. But what what I've said is that -- -- there should be fluent in English as well as as Spanish and if they want to and I think that it's it just makes sense just like here in this country and governor Romney and I have both said that we would like English as the official language of this country yet. When governor Romney went to Puerto Rico. He he -- -- I'll have to speak English if you come in in as -- because as a requirement to be estate. -- he wants English to be the official language of this country this is the hypocrisy. A Mitt Romney to -- -- pander for votes knowing full well that there's. There's no way he would stand for that if as as Puerto Rico coming in the -- -- into us statehood without having proficiency in English yet. To get twenty delegates he's willing to say whatever he needs to say in order to get those votes and I'm I'm hopeful the people Puerto Rico will see through the charade of what governor Romney will do to get votes. -- let -- turn to foreign policy obviously it's been a -- rough week in Afghanistan. I mean really rough couple of months. You've heard Newt Gingrich suggest it's time to get out what what what's your sense at times to pull the plug on the war in Afghanistan. You know this is it's a terrible tragedies that things have been occurring in obviously some of them are are just simple that it's -- simple in tragedies of people are doing irrational things. The -- the bigger issue here is the policy of this administration. The policy of this administration. Does something you simply can't do if you want to win a war particularly against a guerilla insurgent force and that is give them hope. That they can survive and that's what the president is done from day one that -- came into office where he put a timeline for the it for us to to leave Afghanistan. Once you give a timeline and you give the enemy -- an objective to hold on to to to bunker down if you will. And and survived whatever on -- the United States is gonna put forth. And the other problem is you have all those actors in the -- from Pakistan to the Afghans. Who are opposing the Taliban. Who realize that the United States is going to be there to -- to finish the job so and that they're gonna have to deal with the Taliban afterwards and so. You've created a an untenable situation and and so -- in and in some respects I agree with congressman Gingrich -- this is. If this is the game plan. In the game plan -- we're leaving irrespective of of whether we're gonna succeed or not. Then then why are we why are we still there let's let's either commit to winning or let's get out. OK so what what this president -- -- do do you commit to winning in in what does that take. Or do you say it's time to get out. Well I think if you commit to winning and you change you change the entire dynamic in the region you change the dynamic with with respect of the Taliban and you you recognize that. That we are gonna stay there we're gonna finish the job and by the way. That may not mean the heavy footprint that we have in Afghanistan right now they may be as we did when -- We initially through the Taliban happily did so with -- a with a few handfuls of troops -- -- several hundred troops said. It -- there's a lot of ways in which we can we can play and be an effective actor. In that country and and certainly -- would work with are out with our experts in that area to see what what -- pop compliment we would need. And and work with the Afghan government to make sure that we commit to them to be successful. At whatever whatever that is that means whatever that's necessary to accomplish. OK -- -- turns in the economy give you a chance to respond to something we heard pretty extraordinary statement. From Mitt Romney about you and about your credentials on the economy take a listen. We're not going to be successful in replacing an economic lightly if we nominate an economic lightweight and I am an economic heavyweight I know how this economy works I've got to get it working for the American people bigots like care about America. OK so are you an economic lightweight. But -- -- it when it can't they have to tell you he cares about the American people that intelligence on the number one. -- -- you can either demonstrate that a you can try to convince them by telling them that. I think we -- I don't go around telling people I care about them I show that I care about them number one number two. By the policies and by what I've done in my political career number two. If it -- problem is that economic heavyweight. We're in trouble because he was 47 out of fifty in job creation in the state of Massachusetts when he was governor. I may have he may have had some success in making money for himself and his partners. That at Bain Capital -- give in you know a lot of credit for doing so. But that's a very different thing than going out and creating an atmosphere for people to -- -- that create jobs and again. Four permit privacy -- economic heavyweight this is a man who doesn't understand. You know conservative principles. Conservatives are glad I'm gonna create jobs and I'm -- the change economy I'm gonna manage the economy just the opposite. What we believe it is getting government out of the way create an opportunity let the private sector do these things. This is is is Mitt Romney again you know the the the CEO trying to -- -- May need something we don't need a manager we need someone who can win there and transform Washington. Get out of the out of -- -- of people and in the private sector reduce regulation it. Cut taxes dramatically we do he doesn't -- his program is according -- the Wall Street Journal is weak and timid ours is bold. They called our plan they supply side economics for the working man because we talk about getting jobs for everybody in. In our economy getting manufacturing jobs back here grow in the energy sector. I was for growing the energy sector and and and for harvesting the resources in this ground when Mitt Romney was putting caps on CO2 as -- governor Massachusetts. And talking about cap and trade and and imposing all sorts of government regulations on the and -- Industry are your your stance on pornography has also gotten a lot of attention this week I want to read something this is from your website you say. America is suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography it causes. Profound brain changes in both children and adults resulting in widespread negative consequences. What what did you mean by that. Well you know we do something rather -- and our campaign when people right into our campaign and asked for our opinions on issues we actually respond to them and post them up on the website and that's what happened here and -- was asking about. The fact that present Obama and his attorney general don't enforce the existing pornography laws and we wrote back in and put it -- our website saying that we would of course as president forced those laws because. Obviously congress in its wisdom. Understood that hardcore pornography is is very damaging particularly to young people -- that exposure on the Internet. I can be very damaging and of course it's very damaging to a lot of folks so -- do about it don't be it's all sorts of side. -- -- You enforce the law their laws against against you know -- -- hardcore pornography and that in and we have attorney generals in the country at least on -- the Bush Administration who did prosecute that and this administration is and I simply set I would follow the law which. I know in the case of Barack Obama can be somewhat of a hefty challenge for him but we're gonna do it is president. OK and I -- -- I've got to ask you you've mentioned how liberal you say Mitt Romney is. You back in 1996. Supported Arlen Specter offer president. -- this was a one issue candidacy he was a pro choice. I it candidate take a listen to what he said when he announced his campaign for -- that you were on the stage. I want to take abortion out of politics. And -- moral issues. Such as abortion to the conscience of the individual. That is a matter could be decided by women. Not by big government. It could take a look at I think we have 88 screen grab from that you were there on the stage with him. You were you were probably his most -- most prominent supporter why did you support Arlen Specter for president. Well and you know when -- -- colleague is running for office and you know I was his colleague United States and it. He asked me to to stand with them that certainly wasn't one of my prouder moments. I look back on but. Let -- in you worked together as a team for the for the state of Pennsylvania and you know I felt -- felt they you know that senator Specter had set up in and supported me and in when I was running -- 1994 and and I didn't I did likewise. -- is certainly knew that our inspector was going nowhere and certainly disagreed with a lot of things that he said. And it was it was something I I look back on and wish I had that done OK all right you two quick ones one your your top -- when you're topping its job -- -- Raise the issue of shame is the dog. Of course that the dog -- famously wrote in the top of Mitt Romney's car. You think this is an issue for the campaign. About the -- I just want to add that by the when I was -- up behind Arlen Specter Mitt Romney was pro choice Mitt Romney was giving money to Planned Parenthood and list is out there talking being. As. Which by the way senator Specter supported and one of the things that. That -- -- tonight was a key was for his support. For that issue as far -- the Doggett like got. I would say is you know the the issues of character important this election in we need to look at all those issues and and make a determination as to whether. That's the kind of person you want to be present United States. All right well -- the dog I think will be hearing more about him going forward but to have but thank you senator Santorum we appreciate your time. Thank you very much Jonathan.

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

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