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SANTORUM EXPRESS SUNDAY: Criticizes Newt Gingrich During Appearance on ABC’s ‘This Week’ UPDATE: Complete Video Added

Posted on | December 4, 2011 | 50 Comments

Current Republican presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich has put social issues in “the back of the bus,” his GOP rival Rick Santorum said Sunday in an appearance on ABC’s This Week.

Asked by host Christianne Amanapour about Gingrich’s stand on “social values,” Santorum said: “I think Newt has consistently put those in, let’s say, the back of the bus. He has never really been an advocate of pushing those issues. Newt is someone who likes to get issues that are 80 to 90 percent in the polls, and 80 percent in the polls are generally not necessarily conservative — strong conservative issues.”

Santorum touted his own record as he prepared to begin a three-day “Faith, Family and Freedom Tour” of Iowa, where social conservatives are a key constituency in the Republican caucuses, now less than a month away. (Full transcript below.)

“I think character is definitely an issue,” the former Pennsylvania senator said. “You know, I think they have to make a decision based upon the person’s entire record. And certainly character counts. And I think you look at — you know, I’ve been married 21 years, I have seven children, that’s a factor that people are going to look at and should look at when it comes to, you know, the person.”

While Santorum continues to lag in polls,  he has campaigned relentlessly in Iowa, visiting all 99 counties and building a solid grassroots operation in the Hawkeye State.

“I mean, if you look at every poll, we keep moving up, moving up slowly. But we’re within the margin of error of both Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann, both of whom have had enormous attention by the national media, and have had money and resources,” Santorum told Amanapour during the Sunday interview. “Rick Perry is running literally million of dollars of ads in Iowa, and he is right next to me in the polls. So I’m actually encouraged that the people of Iowa, as they go down to the end here, start looking at all the candidates. We think we’re going to do very, very well. We have a very strong, consistent conservative message that matches up better with Iowans than anybody else. And we think we’re going to surprise a lot of people.”

UPDATE: ABC has posted video of the Santorum segment:

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The complete ABC “This Week” interview transcript:

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, HOST: And a big question this morning, where will all those Herman Cain voters go? Our headliner today hopes they flock straight to him. He’s former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. He has spent more time in Iowa than any other candidate, visiting all 99 counties. And he joins me now. Senator, thank you for being here.
RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Talking about Iowa, you’re staking your campaign on that. You must have seen the latest, The Des Moines Register poll. It’s not encouraging, 6 percent. Tied for last.
SANTORUM: That’s — well, it’s better than it was before. I mean, if you look at every poll, we keep moving up, moving up slowly. But we’re within the margin of error of both Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann, both of whom have had enormous attention by the national media, and have had money and resources.
Rick Perry is running literally million of dollars of ads in Iowa, and he is right next to me in the polls. So I’m actually encouraged that the people of Iowa, as they go down to the end here, start looking at all the candidates.
We think we’re going to do very, very well. We have a very strong, consistent conservative message that matches up better with Iowans than anybody else. And we think we’re going to surprise a lot of people.
AMANPOUR: Well, you’re making the best out of a pretty tricky situation here. So let me ask you this, you talk about a strong, consistent conservative message. And a lot of people do say, yes, he does, however, we are very concerned. He lost his election in Pennsylvania by a landslide, 20 points. He is not electable.
Everybody has had a bit of a boomlet, but not you.
SANTORUM: Yes, well, to say I’m not electable because I lost, you know, I don’t know of too many Americans who haven’t lost. And…
AMANPOUR: Right. But in this situation, you have not had your sort of explosion to the top. You mentioned Bachmann and Perry…
SANTORUM: Yes.
AMANPOUR: … they were up and now they’re down. But you haven’t been up.
SANTORUM: Well, that’s a good thing. That’s a great thing not to have had it. We still have almost — we have a month to go before the election. And as you know, Christiane, that’s a lifetime in politics.
So if you look at all of these little boomlets, they last about four to six weeks. Newt is in about week three. So we feel pretty good that, you know, come the middle of December and toward the end of December, as candidates are looking for a candidate they can trust, someone that is authentic, someone who knows what they believe in and why they believe it, and has a record to back up the rhetoric as to what they want to do to change this country, because we do need big changes, well, who has been doing that?
Who has been out there? Who has been, you know, fighting city hall, if you will, and having success at doing it? We’ve got the good track record and I think that’s going to pay off in the end.
AMANPOUR: Where do you have to be after January 3rd? What is a good showing for you, a threshold?
SANTORUM: Well, given everybody is sitting here predicting me to finish last or next to last, obviously…
AMANPOUR: Yes, but to stay in the race?
SANTORUM: Well, I think we need a surprise. I mean, we need to finish ahead of several candidates. And, look, I think we have a very good chance of winning Iowa. I know people…
AMANPOUR: Really?
SANTORUM: Yes, I do. I really do. We…
AMANPOUR: Kind of, you would say that, wouldn’t you, though?
SANTORUM: No. I believe it. I really do. I know when we — we’re doing all sorts of phone calls in our office, and what we’re hearing is that, still, 60, 70 percent of the people in Iowa are still undecided.
You can read these polls, but that’s who they’re for in the moment, and…
AMANPOUR: The latest poll says 11 percent undecided.
SANTORUM: Yes, but if you talk to people and they say, you know, who — are you really committed? And they say, well, no, I mean, we’re still open to other candidates.
And, again, the calls we’re making, we’re still hearing a high percentage of undecideds, people still trying to find out more about the candidates. And remember, this is a caucus, not a primary.
You’re talking about activists who are going to go out. And we’ve spent the time in the state, we’ve talked to the activists. We’ve got people lined up to be our caucus captains at all of these little caucus locations.
About a third of the people that come to the caucuses come there undecided. That’s what the polls have said. And we’ll have people at those caucuses advocating for us because I’ve been in their county. They know my message. They know what I want to accomplish.
It has been strong message of pro-growth, family values, strong national security. And I think it’s going to do well.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you about your family.
SANTORUM: Yes.
AMANPOUR: You are very public about your seven children. You’ve been very public and have been very emotional, of course, talking about your young daughter, Bella, you, you’ve said, has basically a life that’s measured in days and weeks.
SANTORUM: Well, it certainly is according to the medical statistics. But we’ve been very blessed. I mean, she is three-and-a-half years of age, you know, I was with her last night, got a chance to spend some time with her.
She’s an absolute joy. She’s really the center of our life. And we feel so blessed to have her.
AMANPOUR: And as a mother, I just wonder how you can keep going and how you justify this with so much personal toll at home.
SANTORUM: Yes, well, as we all know, I mean…
AMANPOUR: Given the polls.
SANTORUM: Yes — no, I understand. Well, I don’t worry about the — again, I don’t worry about the polls. I worry about what I’m trying to do to be the best father and the best husband I can be. And obviously a big part of that is making sure that we have a country that respects her life, and a country that is free and safe and prosperous for all of my children.
And I just felt like given this, this is really, I believe, the most critical election in the history of the country, that I had to step up and make sacrifices, like everybody does, to make our country a better country.
AMANPOUR: You are obviously very committed to the conservative principles that you talk about. However, it looks like, if you look at who is at the top here, they’re not the most conservative. The most conservative are at the bottom in Iowa.
Is there something different about this election cycle? I mean, these conservative issues are not gaining the kind of traction that one might expect.
SANTORUM: I think a lot of…
AMANPOUR: The social issues.
SANTORUM: Yes, I think a lot of folks are — again, you’re talking about national polls, and even Iowa polls, I think people are swayed more by who is getting attention than necessarily specific issues. I think people want someone who can beat Barack Obama. And that’s the focus.
And what we have to do is, as people, again, make their decisions, we have to show them that we have the best chance. I’m the only candidate in this race that has won a swing state. I’ve won it twice, Pennsylvania, with a million more registered Democrats than Republicans, the only candidate in the race that has actually defeated a Democratic incumbent.
So when people talk about win-ability, really, you have to look at the other candidates. I mean, Newt Gingrich has always run in a heavily Republican congressional district in Georgia, and struggled at times to win that.
So if you’re looking for someone who can pull together people and still be a conservative, I’ve got the record to do that.
AMANPOUR: So let me ask you about Newt Gingrich, who is at the top, a breakaway, some 25 percent, according to The Des Moines Register poll, but in terms of social issues, he, you know, has been married three times, he has two divorces, he has admitted to infidelity, should voters hold that against him?
Is that relevant?
SANTORUM: I think character is definitely an issue. You know, I think they have to make a decision based upon the person’s entire record. And certainly character counts. And I think you look at — you know, I’ve been married 21 years, I have seven children, that’s a factor that people are going to look at and should look at when it comes to, you know, the person.
You’re going to have to lead the country. This is not someone who is just…
AMANPOUR: Is he a real conservative who has the social values that…
SANTORUM: I think Newt has consistently put those in, let’s say, the back of the bus. He has never really been an advocate of pushing those issues. Newt is someone who likes to get issues that are 80 to 90 percent in the polls, and 80 percent in the polls are generally not necessarily conservative — strong conservative issues.
But that’s how Newt is — has always tried to govern. And I respect that. That’s certainly a way to do so. I tend to take the position that it’s important to lead with what you believe is right for America and try to bring the American public along instead of trying to find where everybody is and then try to do that.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you about Herman Cain, who obviously has dropped out and you hope to be the beneficiary, I’m sure all the candidates do. Was it inevitable? Did he have to drop out after all of these women came out of the woodwork?
SANTORUM: Again, you know, as I’ve said before, my heart went out to — goes out to all of the candidates for what they have to go through. And Herman has gone through a very, very difficult time for himself and his family. And I think he made the right decision to go — to leave for his family and for the country.
It was clearly a distraction that was not going to go away. And, again, I feel bad for Herman, I really do, and for his family in particular. And I hope that they can get well.
AMANAPOUR: Mitt Romney, who is the putative frontrunner, and certainly in a poll that shows that in a national election he would have the most electability. And yet a lot of writers are saying that he has moved consistently conservative now, and on some issues more than previous candidates.
SANTORUM: No, no, there’s no question that Mitt has moved. The question is, you know, what’s the sincerity of the move and whether he can be trusted. And that’s one of the reasons I talk so much about, you know, looking at the candidate’s record in determining what the best — the best indication of what someone is going to do in the future is what they’ve done in the past.
AMANPOUR: Senator Santorum, thank you very much for being here.
SANTORUM: Thank you, Christiane.

 

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Comments

  • Anonymous

    Santorum is good on most issues, and knowledgeable too, especially on foreign policy.  But demeanor matters, and Santorum’s is damn peculiar inasmuch as he’s a man in his 50′s who comes off as an over-caffinated teenager.  And his present attack-chiwawa routine isn’t helping, either.  He just doesn’t project “presidential” to voters.

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    Warren Harding projected “Presidential” to voters.  Didn’t work out so good.  JFK projected “Presidential”… Hello, Bay of Pigs, Good Morning, Vietnam. Barack Obama projected “Presidential”… how’d that work out?

    And I’m tired of the media and the mavens trying to pigeonhole Santorum as the social issues candidate.  There’s more to the man than that.

  • http://www.redstateeclectic.typepad.com AngelaTC

    Well, Santorum is running the “Faith, Family and Freedom” tour.  It isn’t the media – he is defining himself as the social issues candidate because that’s the segment of the party he appeals to. But this election is about the economy.  If he is going to stand a chance, he needs to rebrand himself PDQ.

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    Granted, but if you look at his voting record, he’s real solid on foreign affairs and economics issues.

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    He was pushing Iran when everyone said Iran was no problem.  He was a major player in welfare reform.  And he pushes corporate tax reform.

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  • CO

    Too many personal pronouns.

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    McEnroe doesn’t like it when people criticize McEnroe’s use of personal pronouns. *g*

  • Joe

    Well since you said look at This Week, I looked at This Week.   Barney Frank was interesting in saying Newt would be a democrats dream (he has a point).  Frank’s Wizard of Oz analogy was sort of spot on…Mitt as Wizard of Oz, Perry as Scarecrow, etc.  Frank is a lying partisan creep, but he is making a good analogy. 

    Will is channelling Riehl on tearing down Cain as a charlatan book hawker.  Ouch.

    So can Santorum take advantage of this and start running for the touchdown?  Glenn Beck called him George Washington (perhaps a tad OTT).  Major Garrett said that is true if you say Washington and Santorum both own property in Virginia. 

  • http://theothermccain.com smitty

    Do you find excessive personal pronouns an Obama-esque affectation?

  • Anonymous

    The 8-minute video of Santorum’s interview is up, so people can judge for themselves.  

    http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/

    My comment about Santorum’s demeanor was predictive, not normative, i.e., I’m saying people won’t vote for a guy like this; ain’t saying whether that’s right or wrong.  Obama is a fraud, but he could fake seriousness enough to win an election.  Santorum is serious, but comes off like a kid.

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    McEnroe tries to avoid it, personally.  But it would make for very short Stacy posts.  *g*

  • Mortimer Snerd

    6 percent?  Tied for last?  Ah, the road to Vanuatu seems to be full of potholes.
     

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  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    The only people who can beat Obama are Newt Gingrich, and Michelle Bachmann, who by the way happens to be the only small government conservative in the race.

  • http://www.redstateeclectic.typepad.com AngelaTC

    Bachmann gets a definite excited maybe from me, but I’m not convinced the TEA Party people will turn out for Newt.  

  • Anonymous

    Some people are bandwagon jumpers — natural-born followers, who look to polls and pundits to decide who to support.

    I’m not like that. Give me a hopeless underdog I can cheer for, and tell me he can’t win, and I’ll tell you what my father used to say, “Boy, can’t never could.”

  • Anonymous

    Some readers might say that:

    A. There isn’t a single authorial self-reference in this post.

    B. Joe Friday is an excellent role model.

    C. Newt? Guilty as hell. Just the facts, ma’am.

    D. Headline later this month: “Santorum surges, unexpectedly.”

    E. Joe Friday always knows what to expect.

    F. Hit the freaking tip jar.

  • Joe

    Well since Bachmann and Santorum are the only conservatives left in the race, what are you going to do?  I thought it interesting that people are starting to realize Mitt Romney is proundly flawed.  Of course, not here, everyone here has recognized Mitt is flawed since before 2008.  The talking head pundits.  It is beyond merely pivoting to support their true favorite.  No one believes Mitt Romney. 

    And he will still likely end up to be the nominee.  Ugh.  Both because of that and that we really have no alternative running. 

  • Joe

    Rick Santorum is a big government guy. 

  • TR

     He projects whinny frat boy image and 18 pt. loser in his home state when
    he was NOT re-elected.  He supported all the establishment candidates
    in 2010 including being against Nikki Haley (And why not? She has that affair
    with Will Folks right, it was on the internet!) Stacy, you can join Will and
    his team any time… Internet buds, what a thrill.

    RSM: from Cainiac to the Legion of the Santorum Protectorate.  Fan-boi
    may be a good way to get to Vanuata but you seem to be just turing into
    a a right wing Olberman with this kind of reportage.

  • Joe

    Stacy-so who is this senior cain staffer feeding dope to Politico?  Is J.D. Gordon the leak?  http://www.politico.com/playbook/1211/playbook1623.html

    He is claiming Cain is goingn for Newt. 

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    Newt can get the Tea Party better than Romney could ever hope to, especially the way he has been dissing them. Plus, despite what the pundits are saying, I think Newt can do well among independents. Michelle can too, and of course she would have the Tea Party massively in her corner. Santorum can get the Tea Party as well, but I’m afraid he’ll lose a lot of independents and moderates with not just his focus, but the way he puts himself across.

    The irony is, Bachmann’s social conservative credentials are every bit as solid as Santorum’s, but she hasn’t made the mistake of making it the centerpiece of her campaign. Plus, she has the right personality. On Huck’s show last night, she was damn well Kennedyesque. If you watch the rerun tonight at 8:00 on Fox you’ll see what I mean.

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    Yep he’s a big government conservative. Him and Perry might talk about reducing government, but when you put that under a microscope they’re probably talking about reducing the rate of growth. That’s not enough this time out. Admittedly, you can’t just hack everything overnight, but you set long term goals. You just need to elect enough people to get it done, not just for President but Congress as well, and then hold them to it.

  • Elize Nayden

    Santorum? Really? How is his endorsement of Arlen Specter any less damaging than Newts endorsement of that Scozzathingy (which was indeed as damaging as it was dumb)? And the Specter did not only endorse a Democrat after dropping out, but became one himself. I would assume that losing the state of Pennsylvania is more important than losing some backwater district in upstate New York.

  • The Wondering Jew

    There’s nothing wrong with being for the underdog.  I was for Ron Paul in 2008 when he was only slightly more popular with large portions of the base than syphilis.  But I thought that, despite his shortcomings, he was raising important issues, and lo and behold much of the stuff he talked about in 2008 is now standard boilerplate for Republicans in 2012.  That’s a good reason to support an underdog– feeling that the underdog has a clear path to victory is another clear reason to support an underdog.

    Cain and Santorum failed on both fronts.  Cain was un-informed and unvetted.  There were skeletons in his closet that came out and started dancing. And while ee don’t need policy wonks  I would like my President to know half as much about policy as say, Stacy McCain.

    Santorum has no path to victory.  He was destroyed in his home (swing) state election as an incumbent.  He has failed to get much traction in the polls despite living in Iowa these days. And his policy record on issues relevant to small-government conservatives and champions of federalism is mediocre at best.

    If these are the best of the choices from your perspective, then I’d just sit this one out until the general.

  • ThomasD

    Going after Newt on social issues is easy, and particularly easy for being spot on accurate, but also rather misses the point of this election.

    The engines are failing and the plane is plummeting towards the ground.  So please forgive me if I’m not altogether concerned about the segregated seating arrangements.

    We can fix that later. Either that or the impact will render all else moot.

  • Joe

    Sitting out till the general is a mistake too.  Go with the best candidate you can fine.  If not Santorum, then Bachmann, if not Bachmann, Paul.  Competition for Newt and Romney is a good thing.  And if Newt or Romney become the nominee, well then deal with that in the general against Obama.  Frankly, I will vote for whoever the GOP candidate is to defeat Obama.  Not sure if that will be enough, but I will do it. 

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MJGP4QXZ5PRW2MFA5E25CV2WNU rosalie

     Santorum seems just as presidential as any of the others to me.  O tried to look and act presidential when he was running but, of course, that was all an act.  He’s the one who acts like a teenager now. 

  • Anonymous

    Santorum shows us his major problem with this interview. Amanpour did an exceptional job of sounding “fair” and non-combative with her questions.  But you’ll notice the questions were to tie him up with talk about his family, and his “chances” and other candidates.  He fell for it.  Again. She kept the conversation miles from Obama and his disastrous policies.

    Santorum is wrongfully pegged as a gay-hating moralist. But his problem is that he can’t ever seem to muster the will to force the conversation on to more important issues.  He lets them stay in a hole they dug for him, talking about gay marriage, abortion, and other “values” items (which I’m fine with), and he never digs out to expose the corruption of the left.

    Obama’s name only came up with reference to “the people want someone who can beat” him.  Nothing about how Obama is destroying this country.  Nothing about how the EPA is killing small business.  Nothing about Obama hollowing out the military.  Nothing about lowering taxes. Almost no “platform” issues at all.

    As bad as Perry and sometimes Bachmann are at the podium, they at least work hard to make interviewers listen to conservative positions in the issues.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    When it comes to the Cain Campaign people, just remember they’re entered the job-hunting / long knives phase of their lives.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    I don’t ever remember a time when “everyone said Iran was no problem,” going back to when I took a class from Rahoullah K. Ramazani on it in the early ’70s when the Shah was still firmly in control.

    Certainly I haven’t heard that from any Republican in the last 30+ years. 

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    Hey, show a little respect on people’s names!  It’s “Scuzzyfuzzy” FYI.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    This applies to every single candidate and every single interview.  Learn from Bill Clinton – Obama did:  answer the question you WANT to answer, not the one asked.

    When MSM leftist hacks ask about divisive or horse-race issues, immediately speak about the incompetence and corruption of the Obama Regime.  Every single question.  Hammer it home.

    We should be doing this right now and from now on, starting with explaining the ONLY reason the unemployment rate went down is that so many people have exhausted their benefits and given up even looking for work due to Obama’s disastrous and anti-business and anti-growth policies.

  • Anonymous

    Exactly right.  Even Rush says, go ahead and give then a simple “yes” or “no” and then tell them what a SCOAMF Obama is.

    Just don’t sound like Alvin, “DeMint is the problem,” Greene.

  • Mortimer Snerd

    An admirable stance, sir.  And, I must say that if you are determined to back a hopeless underdog, the Republican presidential primary field affords you a multitude of candidates to choose from :>)

  • Anonymous

    Perry’s the only one who’s actually said how to stop Obamacare dead before Congress has to do anything: grant 100% waivers to the entire country. This will work, and the precedent is there.

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  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    Perry would probably be a good president, maybe even a great one, but he’s not going anywhere, in part because he keeps saying and doing things to sabotage himself, and in part because in a clinch he can’t string together a coherent thought. He’s had his moment in the sun and its not coming back. It’s kind of a shame but that’s just the reality of modern politics.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sourceoflightmonastery Kelly Wentworth

    I like Newt Gingrich! Newt is intelligent, well thought out,
    a good academic, a good debater, and he has experience. Is he perfect? No, but
    I don’t know anyone who is. Newt Gingrich had only one alleged “ethics
    violation”, and a subsequent IRS ruling essentially cleared him on that
    one. Newt knows Washington,
    and won’t need “on the job training”. Newt is a “real” candidate and
    is not “manufactured” meaning that he hasn’t had his whole history hidden, and
    then remanufactured through his books as the current president. Before you
    judge Newt, visit his website and watch some of his speeches; he’s a wonderful
    orator! Newt Gingrich has my vote of confidence!

    See Newt Gingrich at his best here:

  • http://www.redstateeclectic.typepad.com AngelaTC

    I am afraid though that if the GOP nominates Romney or Newt they’re going to find themselves in the same position they found themselves in last time around.  As long as the party faithful thumbs its nose at its failures and continues to  pick  the squishy conservatives who embody everything conservatives detest , the base won’t show up in the general.  

  • http://www.redstateeclectic.typepad.com AngelaTC

    I think Perry will be back in 4 or 8 years, with a much more polished game. 

  • http://www.redstateeclectic.typepad.com AngelaTC

    Newt is a big government conservative. I will not vote for him  in the general. 

    There are several candidates are are more perfect than Newt Gingrich. 

    He is a political sociopath:  maybe that’s him at his best, but this is who he really is: http://vimeo.com/6445068 

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    There is no such thing as “more perfect” you’re either perfect or you are not, and nobody is.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Actually, Mr. Harding wasn’t such a bad President.  He got us out of a bad recession.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Well since Bachmann and Santorum are the only conservatives left in the race, what are you going to do?

    Draft Sarah!

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