Presidential contender Rick Santorum says he realizes he will be demonized for many of his personal social positions, but in the end future primary voters will realize he is for the right of states to make their own decisions on subjects like contraception and gay marriage. The surprise second-place winner in the Iowa caucuses also told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly Wednesday that he believes undecided voters could swing his way in next week’s New Hampshire primary.
“There are a lot of undecided voters up here and a lot of the folks [who] are supporting Governor [Mitt] Romney are supporting him because, well, they think he’s going to win — and you’re going to be with the winner,” Santorum said from Bedford, N.H. “And I think a lot of folks are looking not just for the winner here in New Hampshire, but who is going to be the winner long term. And I think you’re going to see our numbers start to pop up in some of these other early primary states.
“So we feel very good — we’ve been able to raise almost a $1 million today — so we’re going to have resources,” he said. “We’re going to . . . be a much bigger player than I think everybody anticipates right now.”
O’Reilly asked Santorum whether he was ready to be “demonized” and portrayed as an “extremist” over many of his social positions, which might have held up well in Iowa, but not hold as much sway in New Hampshire, where the primary is open to all voters — not just Republicans.
The Fox host asked the former Pennsylvania senator whether his personal opposition to contraception could become a factor, especially since he says states should have the right to ban contraceptive methods. O’Reilly also questioned Santorum about state rights and gay marriage.
“Well, the states have a right to do a lot of things — that doesn’t mean they should do it,” Santorum said. “So when I was asked the question on contraception I said I didn’t support it.
“I don’t think being for marriage between a man and woman is extreme, Bill,” he said. “The federal government would have to pass a constitutional amendment and if the Constitution says that marriage is between a man and woman, then things that are inconsistent with that would not” be up to the states.
Santorum, however, noted that his conservative social stances have not been at the forefront of his campaign.
“As you know, Bill, if you’ve been following me out on the trail, I haven’t been talking a lot about this — although I strongly believe in it,” he said. “What I’ve been talking about — as I did last night on my acceptance speech where I didn’t talk about this issue — I talked about the importance of getting this economy going and talked about my grandfather and coming here for freedom.
“And this is the fundamental issue in this campaign is whether government is going to be big and obtrusive — and telling people how to manage their lives — or are they going to support the basic values of faith and family that allow government to be limited and allow our economy to be strong,” Santorum continued. “Those are the things I talked about and did across Iowa. I'll be talking about those things here in New Hampshire.”
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