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Kelly File

Rick Santorum reacts to new developments for 2016 GOP field

This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," January 23, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, HOST: New developments tonight for the 2016 presidential race. A senior adviser to Marco Rubio saying today Senator Rubio has told us to proceed as if he is running for president. Former Senator Rick Santorum who may run for president has attacked Senator Rubio and others in the GOP field for their lack of experience.

Rick Santorum is here. He's the former Pennsylvania senator, 2012 Iowa primary winner and possible 2016 candidate. Senator, good to see you tonight. So, you attacked Senator Rubio --

RICK SANTORUM, FORMER PENNSYLVANIA SENATOR: Thank you, Megyn.

KELLY: -- for his lack of experience, also said the same about Ted Cruz and Rand Paul which also led to Mike Huckabee who also may run coming out and saying that you had pulled the pin on the -- on grenades tossed in the GOP tent. Your response.

SANTORUM: Well, no. I was just remarking that, you know, at a time when we have very, very serious national security issues that it's important to have someone with experience in those areas. I was, you know, just pointing out the facts that there's -- there's not too many people out there and who are contemplating running for president who have that kind of experience.

And I think we've seen from this president that having experience in national security, having a track record that people can look to and having some grounding in those issues is really important for an office that -- that's probably the number one priority of the president, certainly the area that he has the most purview when it comes to running our government.

KELLY: What do you say to those who say, OK, we need somebody with that sort of experience but it needs to be a governor, not a senator.

SANTORUM: Well, I don't know too many governors with national security experience who, you know, been -- I -- I was eight years on the Armed Services Committee, passed major pieces of legislation, both dealing with Syria and Iran when I was in the United States Senate. So, I think having that kind of track record, having -- having dealt with these issues for a long-term, knowing and understanding how the military operates, knowing and - and working on foreign -- foreign issues for a long time particularly since 9/11 is -- is I think a very important credential that people need to look at.

KELLY: Now, I mentioned Governor Huckabee, if you run this time, you and he may duke it out for more evangelical voters and -- and maybe even Sarah Palin will join that field because she came out today and said, yes, she's considering it.

SANTORUM: Yeah. Oh, look, I've -- having been out here in Iowa, I'm in Iowa today and traveled the country. I encourage everybody to run for president. I think it's one of the coolest things in the world to do. It -- it -- it reenergized me. It -- it made me believe even more in the greatness of our country. I think getting out here and meeting voters and -- and seeing how much people care about this country and want to make changes to improve the quality of lives of people.

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: I know, I know.

(CROSSTALK)

SANTORUM: -- to make American strong, again, was good.

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: But -- but with respect to kind (ph) of talking points.

(CROSSTALK)

SANTORUM: That's good stuff.

KELLY: -- but how are you going to -- how you are going to know.

SANTORUM: It is no, it's great.

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: -- it's good for you instead of Governor Huckabee?

SANTORUM: Well, I think I just made one point earlier in the interview and I think, you know, there are others.  I mean, the fact is that we've had a very, very strong record of going out there and working for folks who have been left behind. I -- I made that argument in 2012 talking about how we had to - had to have blue collar voters on our team from all across ethnic and -- and racial lines, that we have to be the party not just a pro-growth but a pro-worker, and we need to be a pro-worker party because those are the folks who are hurting and suffering in America today, and we need to help them and -- and target our policies to make sure that they have a chance at the American Dream.

KELLY: Our viewers probably remember that you won the Iowa caucuses last time around. First, they said Mitt Romney had won, that sort of stunted your momentum.

SANTORUM: Yeah.

KELLY: -- but you won. If you win again this time, who knows what will happen. Senator Santorum, good to see your sir.

SANTORUM: Thank you, Megyn.

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