Rick Santorum Reaches Out for Sarah Palin Endorsement

Oct 7, 2011 4:32pm
Rick Santorum‘s bid for the Republican presidential nomination is not going well. While rivals such as Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and now businessman Herman Cain enjoy bursts of popularity, the former Pennsylvania senator can’t seem to get his campaign out of the gate.
Endorsements from leading Republicans – say, Sarah Palin - would certainly help. “Her being out of the race and potentially getting involved in a campaign with somebody else could be a big lift,” Santorum said on ABC’s ‘Top Line.”
“We’d like your endorsement by the way,” he joked, staring straight to the camera.
Palin labeled Santorum a “knuckle-dragging Neanderthal” in February. Santorum called it a misunderstanding and said there is no problem between he and the former Alaskan governor. Santorum is not running in place like Jon Huntsman, but it’s unclear when his moment will come? His national poll numbers remain low, although the candidate says he does not pay any attention to the dismal numbers.

“I don’t want to be depressed by watching national polls,” Santorum said. “I just tend to focus on what we’re doing on the ground and know, just like in the Ames Straw Poll where no one gave us any chance, every poll said we were way, way back in the back and we finished a pretty strong fourth.”

Santorum’s campaign has held more than twice as many events in the Hawkeye state as any other 2012 candidate. But the senator denies Iowa is a must-win for his campaign.

“Iowa has to get us in the race,” Santorum said, adding that if he can finish third or fourth in Iowa, he will solidify his position as “the conservative alternative” to moderate candidates such Mitt Romney, Huntsman and even Cain.

A few months ago, Santorum, 53, was near tied with Cain in several polls. Cain’s campaign is now taking off as Santorum’s remains stuck in first gear. The former Godfather’s pizza CEO came in second in the ABC News-Washington Post poll  Tuesday, and won the Florida GOP P5 straw poll last month.

“You know what, we’ll wait and see what happens when Iowa rolls around,” Santorum said. “We’ve seen just about everybody in the field, a couple have not, who have had an opportunity to get their moment in the sun, and the sun has wilted their campaigns.”

Santorum went on to blast Cain’s ‘9-9-9‘ plan, dismissing the proposals as a tax increase that Americans do not need or want. “The last thing, the last thing a Republican should be for is to give the federal government a new way to get money out of your pocket,” Santorum said.

Cain’s plan would change the tax code to have a 9 percent business flat tax, a 9 percent personal income flat tax and a 9 percent national sales tax.

Santorum said a national sales tax is a “bad idea” that has been proposed - unsuccessfully - in the past, adding that he would be surprised if Cain’s plan got two votes in Congress.

“It’s a tax increase. It’s a sales tax increase. It gives the federal government now the ability to tax consumption which they have not had in the past,” he said. “This is a bad idea.”

So Santorum would likely not endorse Cain, but he would support Perry if the Texas governor wins the nomination.

“I can, you know, support Rick Perry, I can support pretty much anybody on that dais,” Santorum said.

The presidential hopeful was quick to add, however, that he does not believe Perry is the best choice.

“I think I am the best candidate,” he said. “I have the best record and the best plan and a good track record of showing that we can execute those plans and actually get elected in tough states.”

Apart from the presidential race, Santorum has also been on something of a personal campaign: getting Google to eliminate sexually explicit search results linked to his name.
Santorum said Google’s Eric Schmidt more or less told him “this is just how the algorithms work, and it is what it is.”
Santorum doesn’t buy it, saying others have had similar technical problems fixed. “They were addressed and ours wasn’t and you have a case of clear, nothing other than cyber bulling that is going on by a group of folks,” he said, “and Google has decided it doesn’t rise to the level where they are going to pay any attention to it.”

Watch more of Santorum’s interview here.

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