• This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 13, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

     

    GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, he's about to make announcement right here "On the Record." Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum is creating a lot of buzz about his political future. So will he or won't he run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination? Well, let's ask him. Joining us is former senator Rick Santorum.

    Good evening, sir. All right, so you're moving forward.

    RICK SANTORUM, R-PENN., FORMER SENATOR: Yes, I've been -- as you know, I've been out traveling the country, been to 25 states over the past year, spending a lot of extra time in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina and Nevada now. And I've gotten a lot of great feedback from people, a lot of encouragement. And I feel like, you know, we've got a good, strong presence on ground.

    And now really, the test for me is whether we can raise the money that's necessary. So I'm going to set up a committee. It's a testing-the-waters committee. It's called the Rick Santorum Exploratory Committee, which you can go to at Ricksantorum.com. And we're going to determine over the next few weeks as to whether the resources are going to be there to do it. So if you want to encourage me to do this and take the final step to be a candidate, then we'll see if we can raise the money to do that.

    VAN SUSTEREN: So if I got this right, it's full steam ahead, unless you can't get the money.

    SANTORUM: Yes, I mean...

    VAN SUSTEREN: It boils down to that.

    SANTORUM: Yes...

    VAN SUSTEREN: So there's no other -- I mean, you're not, like, talking to your family or doing any...

    SANTORUM: Well...

    VAN SUSTEREN: All that's been resolved.

    SANTORUM: Well, we're -- you know, resources is a huge part of it. I mean, if you're out there to find out whether it's real or not, you've got to have the resources to be able make that happen. And in the past, I've been very -- I've been very blessed. The people of Pennsylvania, and frankly, people in this country -- my last race, we raised $31 million, about 40 percent of which was outside of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you got hit -- you got hit pretty hard. You lost by about 18 points.

    SANTORUM: Yes, well...

    VAN SUSTEREN: So how are you going to win Pennsylvania in 2012?

    SANTORUM: Well, you saw a poll that just came out this past week that had us in a dead heat with the president in Pennsylvania. And you know, 2006 is not like 2010 or 2012. It's a very different election cycle and one that -- I think people have learned from the 2006 and particularly the 2008 election. In 2008, I think the American people, you know, wanted a president who they could believe in. And I think after two years of that, what they've realized is that America needs a president that believes in them.

    And I really think that's the fundamental issue here. Do we have a president who believes that, you know, things should be run out of Washington, that all of the answers reside right back there with him and with the people in Congress, or do we want a president who really believes in the fundamental principles of American freedom, that free people, given the opportunity to provide for themselves and provide for their families and for their communities -- that's what made America great. And we need to reinstill that -- that sense of freedom and responsibility in America.

    VAN SUSTEREN: All right, now, you've had some -- you know, you had some wind behind your back. You won a couple straw polls -- South Carolina, Greenville County, the home schoolers conference in Washington, D.C., Pacific home schoolers super-conference, presidential straw poll in California. So you got a little wind behind your back.

    Then you got something that, frankly, I thought was a little weird -- you said on a radio station in New Hampshire that the abortion culture is to blame for the Social Security program's financial problems. Do you want a do-over on that one, or do you stand by that?

    SANTORUM: Well, first off, what happened was there was a caller that called in to a radio station up in Lavonia -- no, excuse me, New Hampshire. And they called in and said -- and made the point that because of the number of abortions in America that there are fewer people out there working. And of course, Social Security is based on, you know, having people working to support those who are in retirement. And one of the problems with Social Security is a demographic problem, which is people are living longer and collecting benefits on Social Security, and those -- and we are -- our birth rate is lower. ... We are not at replacement rate. And so that combination is causing a problem with Social Security. I simply made that point. My -- my...

    VAN SUSTEREN: That's a little weird because, I mean, if you think about it, if -- if those -- I mean, this is really getting twisted, but if those people -- if those people were here, we're going to have that same problem when they become adults because now we got all these extra people to pay Social Security to.

    SANTORUM: Well, no, the big problem right now is we have a Baby Boom generation that's retiring. We have this big bubble. See, the problem is if -- if -- if demographics were like this, Social Security would work a lot better. It wouldn't be perfect, but it would work a lot better. But what we have is we have a baby boom and then a baby bust, which means we have a lot more retirees than we have workers. And so that -- that's the problem. But here's the -- here's the...

    VAN SUSTEREN: It is weird, though, isn't it? I mean, come on. You got to admit this is weird.

    SANTORUM: The point is that someone called me and made that point. I simply agreed that we had a demographic problem and that abortion added to that demographic problem. And I also said this, which is I don't make that argument. I agreed with this caller, but I don't make the argument that abortion should be outlawed in this country because of economics or demographics. It should be outlawed because it's morally wrong. And so I don't make the economic argument because I don't think that's the appropriate argument to make.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Well, we're going to all be watching very carefully every single thing you say and everybody else in this race because that's what we do.

    SANTORUM: It's a beautiful thing about American politics. Everything...

    (CROSSTALK)

    VAN SUSTEREN: It's all recorded!

    SANTORUM: And by the way, everything that you don't say. I mean, even things that other people say that you simply agreed to...

    (CROSSTALK)

    SANTORUM: ... foot in your mouth.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Those are good, too. And this time, we got YouTube. Let's not forget YouTube.

    SANTORUM: I'm looking forward it to.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Well, we're looking forward to watching this. And good luck.

    SANTORUM: Thank you, Greta.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Nice to see you.