Presidential candidate and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum tells Newsmax that he believes Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan for overhauling Medicare doesn’t go far enough in dealing with the deficit problem.
The Pennsylvania Republican also charges that President Barack Obama has turned his back on U.S. allies, warns that Obamacare will usher in the “welfare state,” and says Obama allowed himself to be “bullied” into unwise military involvement in Libya.
Santorum, who was elected to the Senate in 1994 and served 12 years, announced his presidential candidacy on June 6, asserting that he is “in it to win.”
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Santorum was asked about the spending reduction plan proposed by Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, which would eventually overhaul the Medicare program.
“I support in principle what Paul Ryan is suggesting,” Santorum says.
“The only concern I have is I don’t think Paul Ryan goes far enough. The problem is now. There’s a $1.4 trillion deficit now. We’re on a path where any day now, credit markets could say we can’t continue to keep the credit rating the United States has."
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“This house of cards could collapse unless we get serious about doing something now, and Paul delays a lot of what he wants to do on Medicare. I would not delay it. I would move it forward.
“I think what Paul Ryan is suggesting and what I’ve advocated is to give consumers, seniors, the power to be able to pick the kind of healthcare they want.”
Santorum asserts that it is imperative to defeat Obama’s healthcare reform plan, saying it is a “game changer” because “the government will now have an IV hooked up to you, and in order for you to get the care that you want you’re going to have to do what the government tells you to do.
“The entire system is going to be micromanaged — not just Medicare and Medicaid but the entire healthcare system — by Washington D.C. Once that happens, the game is over. The welfare state has been locked in, signed, sealed and delivered, and America as we know it, as a free country that believes in people and their self-reliance, is behind us.”
Turning to foreign policy, Santorum tells Newsmax: “The president has made it a policy of this country to distance ourselves from our allies. With Britain, the administration is seemingly backing away from their claims to the Falkland Islands, something British soldiers fought and died to maintain.”
Obama also has turned his back on “the Czechs and the Poles, who were hoping for a missile defense shield and found out in the paper that the administration is going to pull those missile defense systems out of those countries and leave them vulnerable to missile attacks from the Middle East and the East,” Santorum says.
“The same with our allies in the Middle East — Israel first and foremost — and what the president did in putting them behind the eight ball. All across the world, the president has turned his back on our allies and on the other side has appeased our enemies.
“As a result, we have situations in Iran where we had a tremendous opportunity to get rid of the existential threat to Israel. Iran is developing a nuclear weapon. The president is doing nothing to stop them, nothing to overturn that regime so they are no longer a threat to the Middle East.”
Santorum says he agrees with Rep. Michele Bachmann, who has said it was wrong for the United States to get involved militarily in Libya because America has no vital interests there.
“I believe we were wrong to involve ourselves in Libya if we didn’t know who the other side was,” he explains.
“This is a failure of intelligence, another part of the feckless foreign policy of this administration. We didn’t know who the insurgents were in Libya and yet we were bullied into it by the international community.
“The president of the United States should not be bullied by international interests. He should do what’s in the national interest.”
As to why voters should support his White House candidacy, Santorum says Americans want someone who “has the courage to lead,” a candidate who has already been “tested,” and points to his record of taking on entitlement reform, his leadership on national security, particularly regarding Israel, and his stance as a “cultural warrior” supporting pro-life issues.
He also says his would-be opponent in the general election, President Obama, “has clearly awakened a broad section of America that has been disaffected. The tea party is a great example of that. So many in the tea party tell me that we need to get our country back, we need to restore our freedom, we need to believe in people again instead of having government do things for us.”
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