NMX: Santorum to Newsmax: Obama Is Not Getting ‘Traction’

Wednesday, 29 Aug 2012 11:37 PM

By Paul Scicchitano and Kathleen Walter

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Former presidential hopeful Rick Santorum told Newsmax.TV exclusively on Wednesday that he believes the election will be about Barack Obama and the president is not finding any “traction” on issues with American voters.

“I don't see any traction that Barack Obama's getting on any issues,” Santorum asserted in the Newsmax box at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday evening. “And if the election, . . . .is about Barack Obama and his stewardship, and Romney being a credible alternative, will win.”

Santorum finished second only to Romney in a bitter primary struggle that saw the former Pennsylvania senator winning 11 state contests before dropping out of the race in April faced with the declining health of his youngest daughter, then 3-year-old Bella, who has since celebrated her fourth birthday.

Urgent: Can Romney Defeat Obama? Vote in Exclusive Poll

Bella, who suffers from a rare, life-threatening genetic condition, is doing “amazingly well,” according to the father of seven.

“I spoke about her last night and she's in the less than one tenth of one percent of children who were diagnosed with this disorder who are alive at her age,” he said. “So we consider every single day a blessing from her and she is, as I said last night, full of life, she's joyful. She is very special and she is doing well thanks in large part to the prayers of so many people across this country. So, on behalf of the rest of the family, thank you for those prayers.”

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With the specter of the 2008 loss to Obama still a painful memory for the GOP, Santorum said that the party is different in 2012 with Mitt Romney as the standard bearer.

“You see it from his nomination of Paul Ryan. He's running as a conservative. He's running not like John McCain did, to back away and pull punches,” according to the former Pennsylvania senator. “When Barack Obama goes after him, Mitt Romney goes right back and then goes on the offensive and is not afraid to take the gloves off and call President Obama into account for what his destructive policies have been.”

He attributes president Obama’s negative campaign to his lack of progress in solving America’s mounting problems focused around a spiraling national debt and persistent high unemployment.

“If you don't have anything to run on, you tear down your opponent,” he said. “Mitt Romney has something to run on. He has Barack Obama's record, which he has to defend, and Mitt Romney's vision for the country.”

Santorum, who built himself as a conservative alternative to Romney, applauded the addition of Ryan to the GOP ticket.

“Paul's been a warrior out there on the frontline and offering concrete proposals,” said Santorum, pointing to economic, financial, moral, and cultural issues where Ryan has shined. ”That encouraged a lot of conservatives.”

He believes that Romney will appeal to undecided voters only if he is successful in “opening up a window as to who he is,” something that Santorum sees as critical to winning in November.

“Mitt Romney needs to bring people in and give them some insight as to the guy — kind of character — this man is, and hopefully he'll do that on Thursday night,” stressed Santorum, noting that the nominee’s greatest weakness may be his inability to connect with the American people on a personal level.

“From everybody that I talk to that knows Gov. Romney, they describe a man that is very different from the public Mitt Romney,” said Santorum. “That's one that they've got to overcome if they're going to win, and particularly if they're going to win big, which I hope they do.”

Known as a social conservative, Santorum said that conservative Christians appear to be coalescing around Romney.

“We're pretty united here. Barack Obama has been the great uniter of the Republican Party. He's the great divider of the country but, he's certainly united Republican,” he said. “There's no lack of enthusiasm for defeating President Obama and putting Mitt Romney in the White House.”

While Santorum’s home state elected a Republican governor two years ago by a 10-point margin, he said Romney faces an uphill climb in The Keystone State.

Urgent: Can Romney Defeat Obama? Vote in Exclusive Poll

“It will be very tough for Mitt Romney to win Pennsylvania, but Pennsylvania has seen an economic resurgence in large part because of the gas industry in Pennsylvania and Obama's hostility to energy production is not going to bode well for him in that state,” he said, noting that the Obama administration’s “extreme regulations" are taking a toll on the state’s economy. “I'm hopeful people will vote with their pocketbooks and vote for Mitt Romney.”

Santorum also said Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin “deserves an opportunity” to see whether he can overcome the controversy surrounding his recent comments on rape.

“He’s the nominee of the party. He overcame obstacles to win that nomination and he deserves an opportunity to see whether he can overcome this and be the strongest candidate for us to be able to win,” Santorum added. “My feeling is let's give him the opportunity to see — and he still has until the end of next month to really pull out of the race — and my feeling is let's see how it goes.”

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