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Hannity

Santorum exudes confidence ahead of Super Tuesday

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," February 29, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: It was a big night for Mitt Romney on Tuesday as he scored two victories over his rivals ahead of next week's critical Super Tuesday showdown.

First we being the winner take all state of Arizona where the former Massachusetts governor easily walked away with a win over Rick Santorum by a 20-point margin. But in most watched race of the night in Mitt Romney's home state of Michigan, only about 30,000 votes separated him from Senator Rick Santorum.

Now after being projected the winner in Arizona and Michigan, Governor Romney addressed his supporters in Detroit. And he had this message for President Barack Obama. Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This president, by the way, he likes to remind us that he inherited an economy that was in crisis. But he doesn't like to remind us that he also inherited a Democrat Congress. He had majorities in both the House and the Senate. He was free to pursue any policy he pleased.

Did he fix the economy?

CROWD: No!

ROMNEY: Did he tackle the housing crisis?

CROWD: No!

ROMNEY: Did he get America back to work?

CROWD: No!

ROMNEY: No. Instead he put us on a path toward debt, deficits and decline. It's time to get off that path and get back on the path of American prosperity.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Now while Governor Romney appears to be gearing up for general election match-up against the president, ny next guest says this primary contest is far from over.

And joining me now to explain all of this, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Senator, welcome back. It's good see you.

RICK SANTORUM, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, Sean. It's great to be on the program.

HANNITY: You know, one observation I have, and tell me if I'm wrong. It seems at this moment -- and I think this is actually a good thing -- that the battle that is going on in this primary is for the conservative vote, the conservative mantle. Fair?

SANTORUM: Well, yes. Look I think the battle is, you know, who has got the best opportunity to go out there and articulate a vision that can rally conservatives, pull people to our cause and defeat Barack Obama.

I feel very, very good that, what we've been able to accomplish with limited resources is really quite remarkable, that we've been able in the state of Michigan, for example, you know, come out of Michigan 15-15, dead even on delegates.

That is a remarkable accomplishment, being outspent 6-1 in Governor Romney's home state. I guarantee you, you give me a 6-1 advantage in Pennsylvania, he ain't going to come out with half the delegates in Pennsylvania. We're going to smoke him.

That's why I feel like we've got a better message. We connect with the voters better and particularly in these key industrial states and issues line up better for us. The biggest issues of the day like Obamacare versus Romneycare and the issues of government control of your life.

HANNITY: You know, it's been interesting to watch you in this entire process. I think a week before Iowa, you were in single digits. You now have won four states. You nearly knocked off Governor Romney in his home state. A week ago, you were up nine or 10 points in that race. You're showing yourself to be --

SANTORUM: I don't know about that.

HANNITY: Well, one poll -- I know one poll had you up by nine. Maybe it was 10 days ago to be fair. You've shown yourself to be an excellent debater, but sometimes that three percent means a lot. It could mean all the difference in the world. What is your strategy and tactic to get that extra three percent in a state where you are battling like Michigan?

SANTORUM: Well, look, I mean, we were battling in a state where his dad was governor. I mean, look, he won his home county by 32,000 votes, which was the margin of victory in the entire state. You know, we did very, very well there. We came out with half the delegates.

Now we're going to move. Here I'm in Tennessee. We're double-digits ahead here in Tennessee. We feel we're going to win Tennessee. We feel we're going to win Oklahoma. We're coming into Ohio feeling very good. It's going to be competitive. It's going to be tough state. It's going to be a lot of money that's going to be spent there, but again we feel very good that we have an excellent chance of winning in the state of Ohio.

You talk about the heartland here, Ohio, Tennessee, Oklahoma and we got a caucus in Washington State. I'll be there tomorrow. We have an excellent opportunity to win or finish very, very well in Washington. Same thing with North Dakota. Great opportunity for us on Super Tuesday to win North Dakota.

If you look where Governor Romney is, you know, he is winning Massachusetts, Vermont and maybe Idaho, aside from Virginia where he's the only one on the ballot.

So you know, if you look at where I'm winning races in the states that are swing states that help us win this election versus where Governor Romney is. I think we're headed in the right direction.

HANNITY: Look, in six days from now, we're going to know a lot more. One week from tonight when we're on the air, we're going to have a much bigger picture to look at the landscape here.

Let me ask you this, there seems to be from my perspective three events leading up to Michigan that hurt you. This was the first debate that you were a frontrunner and you were under more fire than ever before. You made a couple of comments, one about the JFK speech that you said, made you want to vomit. You since pulled back on that. And this idea that President Obama was a snob.

In one sense, do you maybe those three events, especially those two comments may have narrowed rather than broaden your appeal a little bit?

SANTORUM: Well, you know, Sean, we're out here on the stump and we're working hard and we're talking to audiences. You are going say things, you look and say, well, maybe I should have used a different term.

But, you know what I was talking about in those situations is what is really at stake in this country? That is freedom. We have a president who -- I was given a litany of things. He wants to control your life, your health care and financial services. Now he made the comment he wants everybody to go to college. I just said, you know, here is this attitude that we know best. I gave a long litany of things that where he knew best.

Same thing with the whole idea of Kennedy, which was, you know, here we have the Obama administration forcing its will on people of faith in America. The left loves to talk about separation of church and state unless it's the state forcing itself on the church. That is how I talked about how Kennedy was in some respects part of that.

We are out here talking about the issues that are important for this country. Yes, do I get fired up. Sometimes I say things that are a little strong. But you know what? People out here as you were just talking about, people out here are upset. They know this country is in trouble and they want someone who is going to go out there and fight against Obama and has the principle and record to take him on.

HANNITY: Let me ask you this. I think our Luntz focus group was very revealing tonight. I don't think you were able to see it because I don't think your satellite was up at that time.

But when asked what they want the nominee to fight against Obama about, the answer was the economy, jobs, you know, all of these things that we keep talking about.

It seems that the media and your opponents to some degree want to create a narrative about you that you are a social issues conservative only. I want to give you a chance to respond to that because, look, I've seen you out on the campaign trail. You answer economic issues. You talk about foreign policy. You talk about Israel, Iran, the Middle East, the Arab spring. I've heard you talk about all these things. But you got to admit that they are trying to advance that narrative. And what do you think of it and how do you combat it?

SANTORUM: You know, that is what has happened to me my entire political career. You know what I do is I trust the people of this country to go out and listen to the messages. We are out there talking about fundamental issues. We're talking about economic freedom and front and center of that is of course is Obamacare and repealing Obamacare.

In every speech that is the center part of it. I talk about what we're going to get energy prices down and you know, bring my piece of shale from North Dakota every speech. I talk about what we're going to do to get manufacturing jobs. One of the reasons we were able to win some of those districts in Detroit because we connected to blue collar Reagan Democrats.

You know, look, the media is going to what they do, but eventually as you saw at the debate the other night when they brought up the issue of contraception.

You know, they booed.

HANNITY: That was a key moment.

SANTORUM: That's not the issue. It was a very important moment.

HANNITY: That was a great moment because that was the audience saying to the media, stop it.

SANTORUM: Yes, stop it!

HANNITY: Now the media has this fear. But I don't want to interrupt you. Go ahead.

SANTORUM: No, and that is what is going to happen here. They are going to try to talk about issues of a speech I gave 20 years ago. What we're going to do is go out here on the stump. We're going to go out here on our commercials. We're going to talk about the issues that people care about in this country. We're going to talk about how to get jobs back here, how we're going to lower taxes, reduce the regulatory burden, and yes, we're going to talk about the importance of strong families and being able to have a strong economy.

Those are the heart and soul issues that we are going to talk about in this campaign. You know what? Eventually that message as I think you're seeing at some of these states is going to deliver some big victories for us.

HANNITY: All right, Senator, as always thanks for being with us. It's going to be a great six days ahead. We appreciate as always your time.

SANTORUM: Thank you, Sean.

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