• With: Rick Santorum

    This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," November 8, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

    GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: What is the future of the Republican Party? Does the GOP need to do some soul searching? Some are pushing to make the party more inclusive, but does that mean, for some, becoming more moderate? Former presidential candidate Senator Rick Santorum joins us. And you have a new book out, "American Patriots." We'll have to talk about it sometime soon. But let's talk about the GOP.

    RICK SANTORUM, FORMER GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes.

    VAN SUSTEREN: What are they going to do?

    SANTORUM: Look, this was a very close election. It was an election that, in my opinion, should have been about really big things. But we had a president who wanted to make it about really little things because I don't think he could win on the big things.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Big things. Most people thought the economy was the big thing.

    SANTORUM: It was. But that was just a slice of it. I mean, what Mitt Romney did, he ran the campaign he wanted to run. He wanted to make it a referendum on the economy. And that's a big thing. But it is not sort of the basic foundations of our country.

    And I think what Barack Obama is trying to do -- and he said it himself, he's trying to transform America. He said it is about two different visions of who America is. That's the debate we should have had. Is this a country that is a country that is best in the model of government running things from the top down, which is not the American model, a powerful federal government doing things for us and dictating to us? Or do we believe in our founding vision and one that our policies that are consistent with that, not just economic policies, but also social and cultural policies?

    VAN SUSTEREN: You talked about the social issues. A lot of people thought bringing up the social issues like abortion and the issues you are very much associated with, in many ways empowered the Democratic Party to talk about the war on women. I mean, there were discussions about abortion Roe versus Wade as 30-some years old, who will pay for contraception and the discussions on the war on women. And the president did profoundly better with the women than Governor Romney.

    SANTORUM: He did profoundly better with single women. He got creamed among married women. But he lost single women because we were not out there talking about what the real war on women is, which is the fact that we are seeing more and more single women, single moms raising their children because fathers are not taking responsibility for their children in a society that is looser and looser with sexual morals. That's not a good thing. And so what should be our policies to build stronger families, which means, by the way, less poverty and stronger -- and stronger economy?

    VAN SUSTEREN: But I am not sure that would resonate -- a lot of these single women are happy to be single women. And they see that as trying to interfere with their lives.

    SANTORUM: No one's trying to interfere with their lives. But the fact that we are seeing poverty rates go up, family breakdown, neighborhoods breaking down where there are no dads -- talk to single women in neighborhoods where there are no dads and most of them would say, it would be nice to have stable families and men in the community to be role models and to help raise these children. That's what we know works. That is, by the way, the norm, in -- in neighborhoods that are strong and prosperous.

    VAN SUSTEREN: But the neighborhoods overarching all of that, the fact there is no jobs. The inner city is worse. The thing that disappointed me most about this whole campaign, Republicans and Democrats, is there was just no discussion about the fact that our inner cities -- I have more years as a community activist than President Obama -- those places are getting worse. Detroit is getting worse. There is no discussion. We discussed five or six battleground states and never talked about the inner city and what has happened this.

    SANTORUM: As you know, Greta, I was the author of the welfare reform act. I was someone, if go and look at me resume, I was involved in almost every anti-poverty measure for the 12 years in the Senate that I was there. I am a Catholic, I believe we have a responsibility to those who are less fortunate. The government has a role to play. So I was very act identify that front.

    Certainly a big part of our campaign was talking about those folks, lower and middle-income people, and giving them an opportunity to rise in society. I focused on the manufacturing jobs, which is a way to get the skills necessary to upgrade your -- to train them to get the upgrade of skills to get better jobs. That should be part of our message, not just talking about the business owners. You can talk about the business owners and conduct their taxes and that's an important thing and I am all for that. But have you to connect the dots as to how that helps the guy on the shop floor or wants to be on the shop floor, in the delivery truck, how are you going to improve their lives. And that's the message --

    VAN SUSTEREN: I think the entitlements will grow more and more until people the cities can get a little bit better.

    SANTORUM: Entitlements will grow more as families are destructive. That's one of the big reasons for the increase of the government.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Immigration reform -- is the party going to have to tack a new look at immigration reform? You lost a lot of the Hispanic vote.

    SANTORUM: Yes, we did lose a lot of Hispanic rote. Again, I think one of the reasons we didn't talk about all the issues that that community, which, as all immigrant communities are, they are disproportionate middle and lower income and trying to struggle to rise. We didn't have a strong message for those folks. I think eye am not just talking Hispanics, we didn't have a strong message. I think that's important and family's person to that community, too. Again, that's a message --

    VAN SUSTEREN: Immigration reform?

    SANTORUM: Immigration reform is something we have to deal with. This president got away with it. I mean, he got away with four years of doing nothing.

    VAN SUSTEREN: He said he was going to do it and he did nothing. And the Republican Party didn't -- didn't jump on that.

    SANTORUM: I know. I mean, look, what Governor Romney did was run the campaign he wanted to run, which was to take every issue and turn it back to the economy and say, I'm the businessman, I can fix this. That's who he is. We ran a campaign consistent with the candidate we had. He came close. You can't say it was a horrible campaign.

    VAN SUSTEREN: I didn't say it was horrible. I'm saying the immigration reform is something that -- a lot of talk -- a lot of chatter and promises --

    SANTORUM: The reason that it did not get done, in my opinion, by this president because he wanted this as an issue. I don't believe the Democrats are at all sincere about doing anything and compromising with Republicans on immigration. They would rather have the issue and continue to drive, you know, drive this wedge between races and creeds and classes and or whatever else they want to divide the America. That's unfortunate. Let's see if Barack Obama's second term is serious about solving problems or wants to perpetuate politics.

    VAN SUSTEREN: You can start with a press conference and answer question, instead of just making a statement. I think that's the biggest dodge and lack of transparency. I am taking the last word.

    SANTORUM: You always have.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Tonight, I had too much coffee. Nice to see you, senator.

    SANTORUM: Thank you, Greta.