Exclusive – Rick Santorum Will Run for President: ‘We’re In It to Win’

By Kate McCarthy

Jun 6, 2011 7:11am

And with that another Republican challenger jumped into the 2012 race this morning on "GMA."

"We're ready to announce that we are going to be in this race and we're in it to win," Rick Santorum told me.

Santorum, a former two-term Senator from Pennsylvania, will formally kick-off his campaign in his home state later this morning near a coal mine where his grandfather worked after immigrating from Italy.

The father of seven has been a frequent sight in the early voting states. This week is no exception with a trip to Iowa tomorrow followed by another trip to the first in the nation primary state on Wednesday.

Santorum won two straw polls in New Hampshire and South Carolina but he’s trailing in the polls. The latest Gallup poll has him at 2 percent behind Romney’s 19, Palin’s 15 and Ron Paul’s 13.

Santorum rose to the third seat in the GOP Senate leadership but lost his 2006 bid for a third term to Senator Bob Casey by 18 points.

A viewer – Charles from Los Angeles – asked “why, after being rejected by the people of Pennsylvania 59%-41% in his last Senate race, he thinks Americans would want him as their president.”

“In 2006 by everybody’s estimation was a pretty bad time for a republican and particularly for a conservative in states like Pennsylvania. And I stood up and I didn’t back away. I didn’t back down on trying to reform the social security system,” Santorum told me.

“I did some things that were very unpopular but if you look back at what I did and when I did it people can say ‘You know what, he may have lost but he didn’t flinch, he stood by what he believed in and continued to fight to the end,’” he said.

Since leaving the Senate he has served as a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and as a Fox News analyst, until they suspended his contract on March 2 while he debated his 2012 plans.

I asked Santorum about his fellow Fox News analyst Sarah Palin and whether her she got it right about Paul Revere.

“You know what to be honest with you I’ve been sort of hunkered down. I have no idea. I haven’t really been paying attention to this one George, I’ll pass,” he said.

Watch the interview here:

George Stephanopoulos

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