Interviews

Rick Santorum responds to surging costs to raise children

How can GOP improve messaging?

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," August 15, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, before they grow up, you might as well get ready to shell out a lot. A new government report showing the cost to raise a kid is climbing. Parents will spend up to half a million bucks to raise a baby born in 2012 right through the age of 18.

Higher housing and health care costs are a very, very big factor in that.

My next guest says that Uncle Sam is not making things any easier.

To former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum.

Senator, always good to have you.

What do you make of that? I was stunned by just numbers they're talking about. And I know you have something like 28 kids yourself.

RICK SANTORUM, R-FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Twenty-seven.

CAVUTO: But -- I'm joking. I'm joking.

(CROSSTALK)

SANTORUM: Yes. Yes.

CAVUTO: But I know that's a big gang and you're no stranger to kids' costs and all that, but that's jarring. What do you make of that?

SANTORUM: Yes.

Well, no, when you live it, as I have -- I have kids age 22 to 5, so I'm -- you pick an age, I'm living it or have just been through it. And I recognize that. And that's when I was running for president. I went out and put out a bunch of policies that helped lower- and middle-income families, that helped folks who weren't -- didn't have a college education, who were struggling to make ends meet, because those are the folks having babies right now in America.

And we need to provide support for them. They're raising the next generation of Americans. And, as we see from some of the statistics, because they're being stretched so much, these kids -- a lot of these kids are falling through the cracks. And we can't have that and have a successful America going forward.

CAVUTO: Do you think that the Republican Party needs to focus more on that image? I had John Kasich here, the governor of Ohio, who is more or less -- clearly, whether you agree with him on Medicaid and expanding that, that the Republican Party has a message for being, you know, heartless.

And you and I know that's not fair, but the rap against it is that when it comes to average folks, it's not connecting, it has a responsibility of finding constructive ways to help the poor.

SANTORUM: Yes.

CAVUTO: What do you make of that argument, that that...

(CROSSTALK)

SANTORUM: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: ... where the Republicans are not doing it?

SANTORUM: Look, John Kasich and I worked together on a lot of things. And he is absolutely right.

If all we're out there talking about is how we have to shut this down or close this government agency and we don't talk about what we're going to do to actually help people, we just sort of assume that people know that if we want to shut something down or cut this or cut that, that everybody will be better, and I just don't believe that.

We have to give a narrative of how what we want to do in the economy, with our tax structure and with our regulatory structure and with our family policy, with our policy with respect to jobs for lower- and middle- income people, we need to lay that out, instead of just assuming that if we just talk macroeconomics, everyone will figure out that people are going to do better.

The bottom line is -- and I have said this many times -- when we say rising tide lifts all boats, that is not true if your boat has a hole in it. We have millions of Americans who have holes in their boat. They're single moms or they have educational deficiencies, or they have physical or mental problems.

We need to be addressing those issues, and we don't. We seem to talk about charts and numbers, instead of talking about people and how we can -- how our policies help them.

CAVUTO: People forget, Senator, that in the end you won the Iowa caucuses last time. You have been seen in Iowa again.

You collected the second most delegates of any of the Republican candidates, second to Mitt Romney last go-round. So you do have some I guess political street cred if you were to make another run at it. Are you?

SANTORUM: Well, I have not made any decision yet. I will say to you what I say four years ago. When people asked me if I was running, I say, no, I'm walking.

(LAUGHTER)

SANTORUM: And I'm really just every day just trying to discern how I can help and serve this country, serve God and serve my family. And we will sort of see how that works out.

Right now, I'm involved as a CEO of Echolight Studios, which is a movie production and distribution company that makes faith and family films. And I'm trying to move the needle on the culture, which I think is another big problem that families have to face and trying to raise children in a culture that is -- undermines the values that most American families have.

CAVUTO: A big backer of yours last go-round, Foster Friess, when we mentioned your name again...

(CROSSTALK)

SANTORUM: A regular, a regular on "Cavuto," yes, I know.

(CROSSTALK)

SANTORUM: I think it's wrong when your -- when the guy who helps you financially is on your show more than the guy who is actually running for -- ran for president.

CAVUTO: Well, we pick him for his financial mind, not his political mind.

SANTORUM: Oh, OK. All right.

CAVUTO: No, but in all seriousness, one of the things he said is that he was impressed with you, he continues to be impressed with you, and he seemed to be clear as a bell to me that should you run, you're his guy again.

But a lot more people are interested in that nomination next go-round. If anyone of a prominent name were to say he or she is running, would Rick Santorum stand down or no?

SANTORUM: I will do what I did last time.

Everyone said, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion and there were a lot of other brighter lights supposedly running than Rick Santorum. And I just try to look at the situation and see, is my running going to be good for the country? And am I the person, at least from what I can discern, that can bring more to the table? And that's what I will do this time. Certainly, my family, Karen and the kids will have a big say in this. I have already put them through this one time, and to tee it up again is a lot to ask. So we will just again be very prayerful about it and try to discern what the best thing for the country is. That's what I care about.

CAVUTO: The good thing about having a family as big as yours, Senator, is you don't need a campaign staff. You could save a lot of money on that.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

SANTORUM: We did the last time. I can tell you that. We used them a lot.

CAVUTO: I will tell you, they were very, very impressive, each and every one of them.

SANTORUM: Thank you.

CAVUTO: I'm curious now, though, Senator. If Republicans couldn't win in a dicey economic environment last time, as one put it to me, grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory, what could be the differentiator next time when everyone seems to say -- I don't necessarily agree that this is a foregone conclusion -- it's going to be Hillary Clinton?

What do you think?

SANTORUM: I don't think it's a foregone conclusion.

And frankly I think I like our chances against Hillary Clinton and her record and as secretary of state or her record in the Senate or whatever, than Barack Obama's, to be very honest with you. I don't see a lot of differences between the policies between those two.

And certainly, if you look at what is going on in Egypt, you look at what is going on in frankly Russia and around the world, her tenure as secretary of state can be summed up as one word, disastrous. And I'm looking forward to whoever the nominee is, pointing out how America was weakened dramatically under her time as secretary of state.

CAVUTO: All right, Senator, very good having you. Thank you very much.

Will you use the truck if you run again all through Iowa?

SANTORUM: Chuck Laudner and I were in the Chuck Truck all this weekend. And I look forward to pounding it. It's got 208,000 miles on it now. So it's just -- it's just finally gotten broken in.

CAVUTO: It looks it, though, I got to tell you.

Senator...

SANTORUM: Now, wait a minute. Now, wait a minute.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: Thank you very much. Good having you again.

SANTORUM: Thank you.

CAVUTO: Rick Santorum.

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