The Blog

Santorum Discusses the Economy, Obamacare, Electability, on Meet the Press

4:03 PM, Mar 12, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

During his interview yesterday with David Gregory on Meet the Press, Rick Santorum shared his thoughts on the economy, Obamacare, and how Republicans can beat President Obama. 

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum

On the economy, Gregory quoted the AP as saying that the recovery — which has been by far the worst from any major recession in the past six decades — has surprised economists with its “breadth and brawn,” before asking, “Is your point in this campaign to say, ‘I can do a better job of accelerating that recovery,’ and if so, how?”

Santorum replied:

“Well, absolutely we can do a better job.  I mean...just look [at] the energy sector alone, the jobs that can be created by…building the Keystone pipeline, [by] allowing for exploration of…oil in this country.  And there’s 600 billion barrels of oil offshore that this president has basically has said no to.  The federal lands, no; Alaska, no.  I mean, the only place he’s allowing drilling and providing help is to Brazil, which of course the Brazilians rejected….

“[T]hrow on top of that the implementation of Obamacare…and other types of high-cost regulations….[T]his president has set a record in the number of high-cost regulations.

“[O]n day one, I'll repeal every one of those regulations that cost [over] $100 million.”

Gregory responded, “But senator, you can’t tell Americans who are feeling more economic — more optimistic, I should say, about their economic prospects [that] their eyes are deceiving them.  And when it comes to gas prices, sure, that hurts everybody.  But also Americans know that it’s Republicans, just like Democrats, who have failed to provide the leadership to get any kind of energy plan for this country passed, and that’s been going on for decades.”

Santorum answered, “Well, David, you know, as someone who’s been voting to open up a lot of areas for exploration and [has] been repeatedly stopped by the radical environmental movement, now led by President Obama…it’s hard to point the finger at Republicans. Republicans have voted yes, yes, yes, all the time, and certainly I have, and the president has voted no. So the idea of, well, you can’t fix the partisan gridlock….There’s not partisan gridlock. There’s a radical ideology of environmentalism that says let’s drill for oil in Saudi Arabia, let’s drill for it in Brazil, but don’t drill for it in my backyard. This...is pure politics. It has nothing to do with what’s best for the overall environment. It certainly has nothing to do with the national security of our country by being more dependent upon very dangerous areas of the world that allow the speculative price for oil to go up. All of this is the president’s fault.”

On Obamacare, Santorum said:

“[N]ow we know...that Governor Romney actually advocated for the Massachusetts model that President Obama adopt[ed], with mandates, and then went out on the campaign trail and...well, he repeatedly told — didn’t tell the truth.  He went out and misled voters that somehow or another he was not for mandates at the federal level when, in fact, he was. He went out and said, ‘Oh, no, I didn’t require Catholic hospitals to provide things that were against their conscience,’ when, in fact, he did.  He said, ‘Oh, I didn’t provide free abortions under Romneycare,’ when in fact he did for some.  So he’s repeatedly had big-government solutions and then gone out and told the public, bald face[d], that he didn’t do the things that he did.”

Gregory responded, “You’re calling him a liar. You're saying that he’s lying about his position, that he doesn’t support an individual mandate at the federal level.”

Santorum replied, “Which he did.”

Gregory:  “He did support it.”

Santorum:  “He did support an individual mandate — absolutely and repeatedly, in op-eds and on your program.”

Gregory then asked, “On health care, what is the line of attack you think that President Obama will use against Romney that you think will ultimately kill Romney’s chances of being president?”

Santorum then expressed what he thinks Obama would say:  “You know, why are you complaining about — why do you say you want to repeal a program that’s identical to the program you put in place in Massachusetts and you advocated for me to do?”

Santorum then added:

“[A]nd they will play back the clips from Meet the Press. They will [show] the…op-eds that he wrote to advocate for this.  And…that just takes an issue [off the table] that [was] the most potent issue in the 2010 election.  The reason Republicans were able to sweep back into the control of the House of Representatives and make gains in the Senate and governorships is because we had an issue that talked about freedom, talked about whether government should be controlling your healthcare choices, should be allocating resources in the healthcare field, or whether we’re going to believe in free markets and free people and choices and consumers.  And Governor Romney and the state of Massachusetts mandated [that] every person in Massachusetts...[has] to buy health care.  He doesn’t tell the truth about that, either.  He said, ‘Oh, it’s only the 8 percent that didn’t have insurance.’ That is simply not true. And he continues to go out there and tries to misrepresent what he did in Massachusetts because it’s not popular.

“It’s what he’s doing with climate change. He [believed in] climate change, man-made global warming. He put caps on CO2.  And now that it’s not popular, now that the climate changed — guess who changed…with it?  Governor Romney. And well, you’re looking at someone here who doesn't change with the climate.  I stand for the principles that made this country great, limited government, free people, building a great society from the bottom up, not Governor Romney’s top-down control that will not make [for] the kind of contrast with Barack Obama that we absolutely need if we’re going to win this election.”

See the whole thing here.

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 15 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers