January 4th, 2012
07:54 PM ET

Santorum explains recent controversial remarks and tells John King he was watching CNN's Election Coverage

In an interview today on CNN’s John King, USA, GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum spoke with CNN anchor and chief national correspondent John King about his recent controversial remarks on earmarks, homosexuality and race.  A highlight from the interview is after the jump and the full transcript will be posted on CNN.com.

Please credit all usage of the interview to CNN’s John King, USAHighlight from Full Interview
THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED

JOHN KING, HOST: Let's close with a couple of questions about the moment.  You were nowhere in the polls just a few weeks ago.  Now you've come to New Hampshire having essentially tied Mitt Romney.  You've got a big challenge in New Hampshire this week.

But when we talked in Iowa several months back, when I think you were at 4 percent in the polls at the time, after the on camera interview, we were talking, you said, you know, your wife was getting a little bit frustrated from time to time because you're out there day after day after day after day and away from your wife...

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes.

KING:  - and away from the family and she's saying, hey, Rick, 4 percent in the polls. We got to see her on stage with you last night.  We're showing a big hug right now to our viewers.

Assess this moment and, you know, the country is looking at you and looking at your family, in some ways, for the first time, because you're at the top of the race right now.

How important is she in terms of your political career, advice and the like?

SANTORUM:  Well, I said, if you - if you had played back my introduction, which I won't repeat, because I get sort of emotional when I think about how much my wife has sacrificed during this time, but, frankly, through the 16 years of being in the House and the Senate and - and the enormous amount of time and effort I put into - into that work in - in trying to serve the people of Pennsylvania.

She's made a tremendous sacrifice and she's done so because she shares the same vision I have.  And, you know, this was something that we prayed a lot about before we decided to make this decision.

And - and, frankly, the easier course would have been to - to stay home and to - to continue to work and do the things to provide my - for my family and - and to spend more time with her.

but she both - we both felt that this was something that our country needed someone to step forward who had a little different perspective on what this country needs than the other Republican candidates that that were going to be in the race.  And it was a - a gratifying moment that the people of Iowa recognized that.  And it was an affirmation to her that the - that the sacrifice that she has been making, and not just her, but to all of my children that have been making that, you know, it was worthwhile and we've been able to make a statement and go out there and talk about issues, you know, about people getting jobs and particularly everybody - blue collar workers, folks from where Karen and I grew up, in Southwestern Pennsylvania, who are being left behind by this economy.  We feel very good that we're talking about them and we're talking about life and we're talking about family, we're talking about being stronger overseas, with an American that can be respected.

Those are things that are important to her and they are to me, too.

KING:  When you got back to the hotel last night, did you say, "Honey, I told you so?"

(LAUGHTER)

SANTORUM:  No, actually, we - I'll admit, we watched CNN until you guys - I - I was - I was listening to the - to the - the little, what you've got, your package you had before, Jeanne Moos' package.  And I was reliving it, because I was...

(LAUGHTER)

SANTORUM:  - I was watching that late at night and enjoying the coverage.  So, yes, we were just sitting there watching it and she eventually just fell asleep watching it.  And that was - that was sort of the end of our evening.

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Topics: John King, USA
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