NBC Presses Santorum on Abortion, Contraception, and Electability
As GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum appeared as a guest on Thursday's Today show on NBC, substitute co-host Savannah Guthrie focused the interview on the former Pennsylvania Senator's views on abortion and contraception, and whether he would be acceptable to "middle of the road voters." (Video below)
After her first question dealt with whether Santorum would just be the latest candidate to surge and then fade, the remaining three questions she asked focused on whether his social conservatism would appeal to mainstream voters.
Below is video of the relevant portion of the interview along with a transcript of all of Guthrie's questions from the Thursday, December 29, Today show on NBC:
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Well, we've seen this surge in the latest poll. You are now in third place. There is really just one person who predicted this all along - you. I guess the question now, though, is there have been so many frontrunners.
RICK SANTORUM: My wife, hold on, hold on, my wife, too. My wife predicted this, too. Not just me.
GUTHRIE: Fair enough. Outside of the Santorums, how can you be sure you're not just the latest frontrunner du jour. I mean, there have been five or six of them. [SANTORUM]
At the same time, you have campaigned in Iowa tirelessly really tailoring your message to social conservatives in Iowa, but does that message, does your campaign have viability outside of Iowa, in New Hampshire, with mainstream voters? [SANTORUM]
Yeah, but, Senator, you yourself have said you will not make these social issues backburner issues. You want them to be front and center. Your views on abortion are well known. You make no exception for abortion in the case of rape or incest. Other Republican candidates have now adopted that view. But somewhat lesser known are your views on contraception. You have said it is not okay, that it's dangerous, and you've said you're the only presidential candidate willing to talk about your views against contraception. For voters not familiar with you, what are they? [SANTORUM]
You know as well as anybody else, having run in Pennsylvania - won a couple of times, but also lost - that the general election will come down to those middle of the road voters - moderate, persuadable, independent voters. Many of them are women. Should Republicans sizing up your candidate today be concerned about this issue of electability should you be the nominee against Barack Obama? [SANTORUM]