CBS’s Schieffer to Rick Santorum: Are We Going Backwards on Guns?

Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) appeared on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, April 27 and was bombarded with a variety of liberal questions from host Bob Schieffer. Santorum was on CBS to promote his newest book “Blue Collar Conservatives” and was immediately met with a barrage of questions about gun control, specifically the new gun rights law in Georgia.

Schieffer fretted over the new law and asked the Republican “I want to ask you about this gun law that they just passed down in Georgia, which, as I understand it, allows people to take guns into airports. Do you think that`s a good idea, Senator?” [See video below.]

The CBS host continued to worry about the Georgia law and wondered “But isn`t there also a possibility that a lot of people could have been killed in a cross-fire if a gunfight had broken out?...But you can walk up to security with a gun. Does that mean you could take like an AK-47 into the airport?”

Schieffer went to hit Santorum from the left on guns even more and pressed “Does it bother you or does it worry you that we may be going backwards, that we`re going back to the day of the OK Corral and the Old West where everybody carried a gun? Is that where we`re headed here?

As the segment moved on from guns, Santorum was asked about comments he made in his book about the cost of college and Schieffer condescendingly asked “You said 'I would much rather my children know how to fix an 18-wheeler and enlist in the Navy than spend $150,000 to marinate four years in toxic academia. Are you against people going to college?" 

Schieffer continued to badger Santorum on his past statements and obnoxiously asked “I know you`ve home-schooled your children. Are you afraid of what they would learn in college? And what are you afraid they`ll find out that you don`t want them to know about?" 

See relevant transcript below.


CBS

Face the Nation

April 27, 2014

11:02 a.m. Eastern

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, we`re going to answer the question now, what has Republican -- former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum been doing lately? Well, he has just published a new book. It is called "Blue Collar Conservatives." And he joins us from Austin, Texas. But in the immediate past, you were at the NRA convention, the gun owners` convention, and I wanted to start there, because I want to ask you about this gun law that they just passed down in Georgia, which, as I understand it, allows people to take guns into airports. Do you think that`s a good idea, Senator?

RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, I think a -- I said this at the NRA. I think a well-armed family is a safe family, a well-armed America is a safer America. I think if you look at anything from all of these attacks that had taken place, is if people actually had been -- had weapons there, those attacks would have been thwarted and people’s lives would have been saved. In fact there are millions of lives that are saved in America every year -- or millions of instances where gun owners have prevented crimes and stopped things from happening because of having guns at the scene.

SCHIEFFER: But isn`t there also a possibility that a lot of people could have been killed in a cross-fire if a gunfight had broken out? I mean, as I understand it, you can`t go through the security for a...

SANTORUM: Sure, of course not.

SCHIEFFER: But you can walk up to security with a gun. Does that mean you could take like an AK-47 into the airport?

SANTORUM: Well, I don`t know who wants to take an AK-47 into an airport unless you`re going there to cause some harm. And, of course, they don`t really care if they break the law or not. I mean, that`s really the point. This is where the law-abiding people are going to have the right to defend themselves. And, you know, my wife and I both have concealed carry permits. And we do so, why, because we believe that we have an obligation to protect ourselves just like everybody else does. And, so, no, I don`t think this is going to do anything to encourage some bad guy to cause harm in an airport. But it`s going to create an opportunity that if something maybe bad does happen in an airport that maybe someone will be there to be able to stop it.

SCHIEFFER: Does it bother you or does it worry you that we may be going backwards, that we`re going back to the day of the OK Corral and the Old West where everybody carried a gun? Is that where we`re headed here?

SANTORUM: You know, everybody romanticizes the OK Corral and all of the horrible things that happened. But gun crimes were not very prevalent back then. Why? Because people carried guns. And the folks who use guns in the commission of crimes are cowards. They do so -- and if you look at the -- going to theaters, they went to a theater in Aurora, Colorado, that they knew, you know, you could go there and no one else was going to be there with a gun. If we are a country where the criminal doesn`t know whether someone has a gun or not, they`re going to think twice about whether opening fire or not because they won`t be able to accomplish what they want. It`s a wrong-headed approach that somehow or another that we if we take guns away from people -- law-abiding people who want to protect themselves that the world is going to be safer. In fact, just the opposite is the case.

SCHIEFFER: Well, you know, I would just say one thing. Some of these most horrible crimes we`ve recently had were committed by people who had severe mental problems. Do you think it would bother them to know that people might have guns? I`m not sure they would know about that.

SANTORUM: You know, just because someone has a mental problem doesn`t mean that they don`t look at the situation and make an assessment. I don`t think they completely lack capacity.

So, no, I think people do analyze the situation and if they want to accomplish something, they want to kill a lot of people, they`re not going to go into place that has someone who`s going to shoot back.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Let`s talk a little bit about your book. It`s called, what, "Blue Color Conservatives."

SANTORUM: That`s right.

SCHIEFFER: And you`re saying that one of the things the Republicans are doing wrong, as I understand the point of your book, if this is the point, is that you think you`re focusing too much on job creators and not enough on the working people who have these jobs. Explain.

SANTORUM: Well, that`s absolutely true. I mean, if you listen to Republican rhetoric, it`s always focused on job creation and macroeconomics and it sort of doesn`t include all of these folks who hold jobs who are not job creators. I use the example of the Tuesday night at the Republican National Convention in 2012. I spoke that night, and we had a series of folks come out there as the people in the stands held the sign "we built that." One after another, small business person would go out and talk about how they built that and how they were really offended when President Obama said you didn`t build that. We didn`t have one time that two people walked out, a job-holder who said, you know, I have this job because of the tremendous effort and investment and risk-taking and work that this person here provided so I can have an opportunity to raise my family, and then had the job creator put their arm around the person and say, you know, my business is successful because of the teamwork that we have of these great folks who work in our operation. That`s the problem with Republicans. We don`t -- we aren`t unifying. I think the Democrats divide labor-management. They`re always dividing. We need to have a unifying message that talks more about average working folks who are being left behind by both parties, in my opinion. The Democrats just want to throw money at them. And Republicans aren`t talking about them and how we`re going to create opportunities for folks who are falling back as a result of President Obama`s policies.

SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you about one statement in your book that really stood out to me. You said: "I would much rather my children know how to fix an 18-wheeler and enlist in the Navy than spend $150,000 to marinate four years in toxic academia." Are you against people going to college?

SANTORUM: No, I`m not against people going to college. But what I`m for is making sure that everybody in America has opportunity. And we need to hold up all workers in America, not just those who get high degrees in academia. I think we -- and that`s not to say those aren`t good things. Those are good things and we should affirm those -- we need to affirm all work, I mean, that`s just...

(CROSSTALK)

SCHIEFFER: Let me just ask you this -- and I honor people who work. I used to belong to the carpenter`s union when I was in high school. I know about working outdoors. And I know that`s what made me want to go to college and get an indoor job. But beyond that, are you afraid of what children -- I mean, I know you`ve home-schooled your children. Are you afraid of what they would learn in college? And what are you afraid they`ll find out that you don`t want them to know about?

SANTORUM: Well, I have three kids in college this year, so, no, I`m not afraid of that. I went to college. I have a graduate degree and a law degree. So, no, I`m not afraid of that. But 70 percent of Americans, Bob, aren`t going to get a college degree. That`s just the reality. And that`s not going to change dramatically. And those folks are not doing well in this economy. And we don`t have anybody out there fighting for them. This president is not fighting for them. In fact, his policies are destroying the very jobs -- you see three-quarters of the people who lost their jobs during this great recession have taken jobs that are less money since it -- you know, gotten jobs, but they are less money than what they had before. They`re falling back. They`re hurting. And nobody is out there saying, what are we going to do to create opportunities -- not in the high technology area, that`s great. We need to do that. But in manufacturing and energy and construction and areas where people work with their hands and do things that create a multiplier effect like manufacturing does that creates jobs for hard-working Americans.

SCHIEFFER: Final question. Do I take it from what you`re saying this morning that you are running for the Republican presidential nomination next year?

SANTORUM: Well, I`m not making any announcements this morning. But, look, I`m writing a book because I believe America is in trouble, and, you know, I learned a lot from the 2012 race, and we`re going to stay engaged in this process. And we`ll make a decision next year as to whether we run or not. But I`m going to stay very, very engaged and hopefully Republican candidates across the country will get this book, look at it, and begin to talk to folks who should be voting for us, and should be helping to us change America but are not.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, thank you so much, Senator.

SANTORUM: Thank you, Bob.

SCHIEFFER: Glad to have you.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.