Santorum says he & Nussle, not so much Newt, should get credit for ’94 victories

GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum spoke with reporters in Sioux City this morning and Santorum was asked how he’ll attract Herman Cain supporters to his candidacy.  Santorum’s answer unveiled a criticism of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich — that nothing much really happened after Republicans in the House took over in 1995 under Gingrich’s leadership.  Here’s the transcript of Santorum’s answer:

“What Herman did was he was someone who was willing to do down and shake up Washington, D.C. and, you know, if you look at my rhetoric — I mean I’m not as flashy by any stretch of the imagination as Herman is, I mean, Herman has a great gift — but my record’s pretty good at shaking up Washington, D.C.

“…Newt Gingrich takes a lot of credit for the Contract with America and winning the House in 1994, but if you go back in 1994, the real issue was corruption in Washington and the real reason for that was because Rick Santorum and (former Iowa Congressman) Jim Nussle and several others stood up and exposed the rampant corruption going on in congress and that was more of the reason for the 1994 election win for Republicans than anything else.

“So the Contract with America gets all the praise, but candidly, the Contract with America didn’t even exist until about eight weeks before the election. That movement for ’94 was well underway before that…Unfortunately, you know, Republicans got in and weren’t  able to make the kind of big changes, other than one I was involved with, which is welfare reform, I was the author of when I was in the House and managed the bill on the floor of the Senate, (but) other than that, we didn’t take the ball very far down the field and I think we need a president who’s willing to shake things up, change the dynamic down there.”

Nussle, if you recall, wore a paper bag on his head during a dramatic speech on the House floor in which he called for unmasking the members of congress who had bounced checks at the House bank.

Santorum also was asked for his reaction to his six percent, near the bottom-dweller position in the Iowa Poll.  “People have asked me what I have to do to get my spark…and I’ve believed it from the very beginning, that my spark will be the people of Iowa…(who) come out to these town hall meetings,” he said. “…Having been to every county and holding  about 250 town hall meetings…people are coming our way.”

Santorum told reporters in Sioux City it won’t be his debate performances that will move the number. “It’s going to be the hard work that we put in and talking to the people of Iowa and people of Iowa responding the way they have in the past and that is ignoring the national media, ignoring the pundits and putting forth the best conservative candidate that’s out there…I think our numbers will continue to steadily grow…and we’re going to surprise a lot of people on Caucus Day,” he said.

Thanks to Woody Gottburg of KSCJ Radio in Sioux City for supplying the audio to Radio Iowa.