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Nov 13, 2015 12:03 AM

Steinhauser: In 1-on-1 intv. with NH1 News, Santorum slams Trump, Cruz

NH1 Political Director - NH1.com

CONCORD – Rick Santorum is taking aim at Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, saying their “polices don’t match the rhetoric.”

The former senator from Pennsylvania and Republican presidential candidate made his comments at the State House Thursday in a one-on-one interview with NH News, minutes after filing for the first-in-the-nation primary ballot.

Santorum, touting his blue collar conservative credentials, went after Trump, the front runner for the GOP nomination.

“We’re not the campaign of the big guy and the establishment, we’re the campaign of the worker, the folks who are out there trying to make ends meet and not seeing things going very well for them under this administration. And unfortunately a lot of voters out there don’t see the Republican Party as being on their side. And when you hear Donald Trump saying ‘wages are too high in America’, most Americans are wage earners and they’re saying ‘wait a minute, our wages aren’t going anywhere’,” he said.

Trump said at Tuesday’s fourth Republican presidential debate that “wages are too high” in America and that the U.S. must keep wages down in order to compete with other countries.

Trump has stood by those comments in interviews the past two days.

Santorum told NH1 News that “I think his rhetoric in a lot of cases is inflammatory but on the substance side I think a lot of his rhetoric is right on. His policies don’t necessarily match that. You can say ‘I’m out there and we’re going to make America great again, and we’re going to make it strong and we’re going to help workers’, and then when you tell people ‘your wages are too high’, I don’t see how that on a policy level saying ‘we’re not going to be for any improvement in wages’, as a way that you’re going to help broaden the base of the Republican Party and more importantly than that, help Americans do better.”

Santorum also targeted Cruz, the first-term senator from Texas who’s seen his poll numbers in the race for the GOP nomination rise recently. Santorum criticized Cruz’s attacks on other Republican White House contenders over supporting “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

“Ted Cruz’s policy on immigration doesn’t match rhetoric that he would lead you to believe he supports,” Santorum declared.

Santorum says it's not too late

This is Santorum’s second presidential bid. He went from being a long shot to battling eventual nominee Mitt Romney deep into the 2012 Republican primary calendar.

Santorum’s a long shot once again, but he told reporters that “people think this is late in the race, but I know it’s not and I know a lot of folks are just starting to tune and we’re going to be out here delivering a very strong message.”

“I remind everybody that in the Iowa caucuses four years ago over 50% of the people who voted for me in the Iowa caucuses decided in the last three days. And I think you’re going to see that even more,” he added.

Santorum told NH1 News that “this race has been, let’s just say equally as hard as the last race. You know it’s not like you get paraded into the town square on people’s shoulders when you come into the town, and you gotta go out like we did four years ago and just work hard.”

Watch/Read: Santorum, Cruz, Graham say NH primary status in peril

Santorum also touted that he’s the only Republican running for president who supports raising the minimum wage.

“I always supported small increases in the minimum wage, to make sure they were not injurious to lower skilled and younger workers. If you make the minimum wage too high it will have an impact on those workers and I don’t want to create more dislocation. So it’s a fine line. You have to have a minimum wage that actually provides a floor for wages and doesn’t provide a reason not to hire people. And that’s why I’ve proposed a dollar-fifty increase in the minimum wage over a three year period of time,” he told NH1 News.

“Less than one percent of Americans now get minimum wage. So in a sense there is no minimum wage in America. And for Republicans to say we can’t raise the minimum wage because it’s going to hurt workers, nobody makes the minimum wage anymore. So why are you concerned. In a sense Republicans are arguing that we should have no minimum wage. I don’t think most Americans are there. I’m not there. And I think a reasonable increase in the minimum wage to provide some floor of benefits is no different than any other kind of type worker benefit that we have in the federal government,” he added.

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