Transcript: Rick Santorum’s remarks in the first Republican presidential debate


Partial transcript of former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum’s remarks in the first Republican presidential debate hosted by Fox News on Aug. 6, 2015:

[Question on electability]

I would say that the message that got us the win in Iowa and 10 other states against pretty overwhelming odds [during the 2011 primary] is the message that’s going deliver us in this election.

You know, we didn’t start our four years ago at the top of the heap. We were behind where we were today.

But we stuck to our message. We stuck to the fact that Americans are tired of Washington corporate interests and Democrats who are just interested in politics and power and they’re looking for someone who’s going to fight for them, looking for someone who’s going to grow the manufacturing sector of our economy so those 74% of Americans who don’t have a college degree have a chance to rise again, someone who’s going to stand up and be very clear with our enemies as to the lines that are going to draw and stand with them.

I’ve got a track record. The reason I did so well last time. It’s not just because of the vision. It’s because I have a track record in Washington, D.C. of getting things done.

Iran sanctions – they were on sanctions that brought them to the table. Those are sanctions that we put in place when I was in the United States Senate and a whole host of other things that put me in a position of saying not only have a great vision but I can govern effectively in Washington.

[Question on immigration and breaking up illegal immigrant families]

My father was born in Italy. And shortly after he was born, my grandfather immigrated to this country. And under the laws of this country, he wasn’t allowed to be with his father for seven years. Spent the first seven years of his life in fascist Italy under Benito Mussolini, not a very pleasant place to be.

I asked my dad after obviously I found out about this and I said, “Didn’t you resent America for not letting you be with your father in those formative and very threatening years?”

You know what he said to me? “America was worth the wait.”

We’re a country of laws…We’re a country of laws, not of men, not of people who do whatever they want to do.

I know we have a President who wants to do whatever he wants to do and take his pen and his phone and just tell everybody what he thinks is best.

But the reason America is a great country, the reason is because our compassion is in our laws and when we live by those laws and we treat everybody equally under the law, that’s when people feel good about being Americans.

And I’ve put forth an immigration policy that is as strong in favor of the folks who are struggling in America the most than anybody else. It’s the strongest pro-worker immigration plan.

It says that after 35 million people have come here over the last 20 years, almost all of whom are unskilled workers, flattening wages, creating horrible lack of opportunities for unskilled workers, we’re going to do something about it. Reducing the level of immigration by 25%.

We’re going to be tough at the border. We’re going to be tough on all of the illegal immigrants that everybody else – we’re going to be different. We’re going to be actually out there trying to create a better life for hardworking Americans.

[Question on economy and jobs]

I think it’s a one-two punch.

Number one, we have to create better paying jobs. I mean, that’s just the bottom line. We haven’t.

And that’s just the reason that I’ve said under my presidency we’ll create jobs and make America the number one manufacturing country in the world.

If we want to create jobs for the folks you are talking about who are having trouble getting off government benefits, primarily because of their low skill level, there is no better way.

It’s worked for 100 years in America – putting people back to work in manufacturing is it.

I’m going to be introducing a plan which I call the 20-20 Perfect Vision for America.

It’s a 20% flat rate tax. It’ll take a blow torch to the IRS. It will create a manufacturing juggernaut to this country and you combine that with reforms of our welfare system.

You’re looking at the man who introduced and fought on the floor as a freshman Senator and passed the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 over two President Clinton vetoes. Got 70 votes in the United States Senate. Bipartisan issue.

And I ended a federal entitlement. Never been done before, never been done since.

What we need to do is take the rest of the federal entitlements, not just welfare but food stamps and Medicaid and housing programs and do the same thing we did with welfare. Work requirements and time limits. That will change everything.

[Question on the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage]

It is not any more than Dred Scott was settled law to Abraham Lincoln, who in his first inaugural address said it won’t stand and they went ahead and passed laws in direct contravention to a rogue Supreme Court.

This is a rogue Supreme Court decision just like Justice Roberts said. There’s no constitutional basis for the Supreme Court’s decisions.

And I know something about this. One of the times that the Supreme Court spoke that I thought they were acting outside of their authority was in a partial birth abortion case.

You know, these Planned Parenthood tapes, what they’re showing are partial birth abortions. Abortions being done with the baby being delivered first to preserve those organs and then they crush the skull.

Well, the Supreme Court found a bill that I was the author of unconstitutional.

What did I do? I didn’t stop. I didn’t say, “Oh well, we lost. It’s the law of the land.”

We worked together – the House and Senate under my leadership – and we passed a bill and we said “Supreme Court, you’re wrong. We’re a co-equal branch of the government. We have every right to be able to stand up and say what is constitutional.”

We passed a bill. Bipartisan support. And the Supreme Court, they sided with us.

Sometimes it just takes someone to lead and stand up to the court.

[Question on the first executive order]

We’re going to suspend – I’ve said this for four years – we’re going to suspend and repeal every executive order, every regulation that cost American jobs and is impacting our freedom and is impacting our freedom.

And second, the First Amendment Defense Act, which is protecting religious liberty. If it’s not passed by then, which I suspect it won’t because the President would veto it, I will institute an executive order to make sure that people of faith are not being harassed and persecuted by the federal government for standing up for their religious beliefs.

[Question on inspiring the nation]

I came to Washington, D.C. in 1990. That sounds like a long time. It was. It was 25 years ago and I came by defeating the Democratic incumbent. I came as a reformer.

I started the Gang of Seven and it led to the overtaking of the 40-year Democratic rule of Congress because I stood up to the old boy network in Washington, D.C. because I believed that Washington was not the solution, that Washington was the problem – just like Ronald Reagan said.

I was a child of Ronald Reagan. And I went there and for 16 years, I fought the insiders and was able to get things done. That’s the difference.

We need to elect someone who will stand with the American people, who understands it greatness, who understands what an open economy and freedom is all about but at the same time has a record of like being able to get things done in Washington like we’ve never seen before.

Reforms – everything from moral and cultural issues to economic issues.

Those of you who have health savings accounts. Health savings account was something that we introduced. It’s a private sector solution that believes in freedom, not Obamacare that believes in government control.

Those are the things that we brought and we were able to get things done.

If you want someone who’s not going to divide Washington but gets things done, then you should make me your President.

[Two words to describe Hillary Clinton]:

Secretive and untrustworthy.

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