• With: Rick Santorum, former presidential candidate

    This is a rush transcript from "Your World," October 18, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

    NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": Boy, can you believe this? Election Day is only 19 days away. Man, oh, man. And it can't come soon enough, my goodness.

    Anyway, don't tell that to folks in North Carolina, though. Today, the crucial Southern swing state opened its polls for early voting, and with Governor Mitt Romney surging in polls after two debates, Republicans are looking to capitalize on this early momentum.

    Helping lead the charge in the Tar Heel State, where he is very, very popular, Rick Santorum. Of course, you remember him, the former presidential candidate who surprised everyone, and of course former Pennsylvania senator.

    It is very good to have you on the phone with us, Senator.

    What do you make of what is happening in North Carolina? Now, of course these are rolling average polls we see nationally. Some reflect a little bit of the second debate, others not. But it is a trend favorable to the Republican nominee thus far. What do you make of it?

    RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Yes, no question about that. The momentum is clearly headed in Governor Romney's direction.

    It is one of those things. I'm out here and it seems like a different state every day over the last few weeks. And the momentum is clear; the enthusiasm is so much higher. I cannot remember a singular event in a campaign where the campaign and the candidate changed the direction of a race like Mitt Romney did two-and-a-half weeks ago.

    CAVUTO: But did it change, Senator, since, I mean, the debate a couple of days ago, that that momentum was stalled, or no?

    SANTORUM: No, I think Paul Ryan kept the train going. I think Biden's buffoonery was not going to help them. It may have energized the far left, but nobody else.

    And I think President Obama failed on the most important thing in the last debate. Mitt Romney systematically tore him apart with what his record was over the last four years. And Obama had nothing. He just -- he didn't respond.

    And I think that is the thing that is sticking in with people. And it is beginning to settle in that what we are looking for in the next four years is what Barack Obama did in the last four years. He has got nothing new; he's got no answers to the problems that have crept up under his administration.

    And Romney has been very competent, very solid and very consistent. That is exactly what I think they're looking -- Americans are looking for. I can tell you, in North Carolina, the mood was ebullient. It was -- people were charged up to go vote. And, remember, Obama won North Carolina by 14,000 votes, but he won the early voting by 300,000.

    And, already, you are seeing -- this is the first day of voting, so we do not know yet, but the absentee voting in North Carolina is inverted from what it was four years ago. Republicans are much stronger.

    (CROSSTALK)

    CAVUTO: And that is a reflection of where you -- I always think with early voting, Senator -- and you know this stuff better than I do -- is a snapshot of where you are in either the polls or the sentiment at the time.

    SANTORUM: Yes.

    CAVUTO: For example, the early voting that went on in Ohio, among those states that allow folks to vote really early, that was at a time when the early voting started when the president was well ahead and it looked like Romney could do nothing right.

    So early voting we're told there benefited the president, and now it is tighter in some of the more recent polls, and that it -- Romney has to even that out in these next few weeks. How big a phenomenon is this early voting and in swing states particularly, how will it sway?

    SANTORUM: Well, it is a problem. It was a problem in the primary.

    Look, I am not a big fan of early voting, particularly when you are voting three, four weeks out from -- from an election...

    CAVUTO: Right. Right.

    SANTORUM: ... because the dynamics of an election can change so dramatically in the last week, as we have seen in this race, and it doesn't really reflect the totality of a campaign.

    And you do not run a campaign for four weeks out. You run a campaign and you structure your message and your resources for Election Day. And now campaigns have to change. I think that is not really beneficial for our country.

    But that is the reality of the situation. And, right now, I think it is benefiting -- for these states that are starting early voting now -- and several of them are -- it is benefiting Governor Romney.

    CAVUTO: We shall see. Senator, always a pleasure. Thank you, sir.

    SANTORUM: Thank you, Neil.

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