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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

South Carolina Primary Coverage - 2000 Hour; Romney Mitt Remarks; Ron Paul Remarks; Ron Paul Interview; Rick Santorum Remarks

Aired January 21, 2012 - 19:58   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Let's listen in to Governor Mitt Romney.

(APPLAUSE)

FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You should hear when we win, I tell you, it's really something. Now this race - this race is getting to be even more interesting. I just want to say to you guys thank you so very much for all your help over the last days and months and weeks going across this great state. I appreciate all the calls you made, all the people that you brought into the polls for us. This was an exciting day for us. And I just want to say thanks to all the people that have helped.

Let's begin with your governor, Governor Nikki Haley has been fabulous and I owe her so very much for her help. And treasure Curtis Loftus, who has chaired my campaign, I appreciate his help. There have been a number of state legislators, Nate Valentine has been one of those who has been with me from the very beginning, David Rad and of course the people of South Carolina, who helped this campaign, I owe you so very much. Thank you for this great night tonight.

Tonight I want to congratulate, of course, Speaker Gingrich and my fellow Republicans at a hard-fought campaign here in South Carolina. We're now three contests into a long primary season. This is a hard fight because there's so much worth fighting for. We've - we've still got a long way to go and a lot of work to do and tomorrow we're going to move on to Florida. It's a state what has suffered terribly under the failed policies of President Obama.

Now three years ago we had nothing but promises and slogans by which to judge this president. Today we have a record of deficits, decline and debt. President Obama likes to remind us that elections have consequences.

Well, today the consequences are clear and the stakes have never been higher. I've said this before and I firmly believe that this election is a battle for the soul of America.

It's --

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: -- it's a choice -- it's a choice between two very different destinies for America. President Obama wants to fundamentally transform our country. We want to restore to America the founding principles that made this country great and the hope of the earth.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: He is -- he is making the federal government bigger and bloated. I want to make the federal government simpler, smaller and smarter and will do it. [

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: He has raised the national debt time and time again to astronomical levels. I will cut the budget. I will cap the budget and I will finally balance the United States budget.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: He has -- he has -- he has enacted job-killing regulations. I will eliminate them. He passed ObamaCare. I will repeal it.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: The president -- the president has adopted an appeasement strategy. He believes that America's role as leader of the world is a thing of the past. I believe in a strong America and I believe that America must lead this nation, must lead this world and be the leader of the free world and the free world must lead the entire world.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: In recent weeks, the choice within our party has also come into stark focus. President Obama has no experience running a business and no experience running a state. Our party can't be led to victory by someone who also has never run a business and never run a state.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: Our president has divided the nation, engaged in class warfare and attacked the free enterprise system that has made America the economic envy of the world. We cannot defeat that president with a candidate who has joined in that very assault on free enterprise.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: When my -- when my opponents attack success and free enterprise, they're not only attacking me, they're attacking every person who dreams of a better future, he's attacking you. I will support you. I will help you have a better future. I will make sure that America is a place of opportunity for all.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: I'm passionate -- I'm passionate about our economic liberty because I have witnessed our free enterprise system as it rewards the hard work of many and creates prosperity for all in this great country. And over the past few weeks we have seen a frontal assault on free enterprise. We expected this from President Obama. We didn't anticipate some Republicans would join him. That's a mistake for our party and for our nation. Ours is the party of free enterprise and free markets and consumer choice.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: The Republican Party doesn't demonize prosperity. We celebrate success in our party. That's a -- that's one of the big differences between our party and our president. He leads the party of big government. He believes in ever-expanding entitlement. He's wrong. We're right. And this is a battle we cannot lose.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: Those who pick up the weapons of the left today will find them turned against us tomorrow. That's the choice our party gives America, or else we don't offer any choice at all and Americans in my view will demand a real choice in this campaign between those who believe in success and prosperity and opportunity, and those who believe in government. And I think they will choose us.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: By the way, by the way, if President Obama think he can compare his record of job losses with my record of job creation, that a battle we're going to win. And --

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: -- and if he thinks he can compare his record of crony capitalism with my record of free market success, that's a battle we can win.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: And let me be clear. If Republican leaders want to join this president in demonizing success and disparaging conservative values, then they're not going to be fit to be our nominee. Now, our campaign has fought very hard here in South Carolina, and in the coming weeks and months I'll keep fighting for every single vote. I will compete in every single state.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: We're going to win this nomination and we're going to defeat President Obama in November.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: Our campaign will be about the businesses I help start, not the bills I've tried to pass. And above all, our campaign will champion the founding principles of liberty, opportunity and economic freedom. I don't shrink from competition. I embrace it. I believe competition makes us all better. I know it's making our campaign stronger.

And in the coming weeks, the ideals of free enterprise and economic freedom will need a very strong defense, and I intend to make it.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: The American people -- the American people --

(LAUGHTER)

ROMNEY: Why, thank you. Ann agrees with you.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMNEY: The American people will be looking for a real choice in this campaign, and I will provide it. The plan we're offering protects freedom and opportunity. And our blueprint? It's the Constitution of the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: If you want to make this election about restoring American greatness, then I hope you'll join us. If you believe the disappointments of the last few years are a detour, not a destiny, then I'm asking for your vote.

We still believe in the America that's a land of opportunity and a beacon of freedom. We believe in the America that challenges each of us to be better and bigger than ourselves. We still believe in that shining city on a hill.

This election I'm asking for your support. We need to you join in the fight. Thank you and God bless the United States of America. You guys are the best. Thank you so much.

(APPLAUSE)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Mitt Romney coming in second in South Carolina.

He's not the winner in South Carolina. Newt Gingrich, the winner -- you didn't hear him mention Newt Gingrich by name, but you heard several, several tough references blasting Newt Gingrich, trying to set the scene for Florida, Florida, January 31st, a critical primary in the state of Florida, now shaping up.

We're going to hear from Newt Gingrich fairly soon, and we're also going to hear from the other candidates as well, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul.

We do know we've projected that Newt Gingrich is the winner in South Carolina. Mitt Romney comes in second. We can now project that Rick Santorum will come in third and Ron Paul will come in fourth.

Let's show our viewers the official tally that we have right now with 18 percent of the precincts reporting, 41 percent for the former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, 35,000 votes or so; 27 percent for Mitt Romney, almost 23,000 votes; 17 percent for Rick Santorum, almost 15,000 votes; Ron Paul 13 percent; 10,700. Newt Gingrich, the winner in South Carolina.

Three contests so far, three different winners, setting the stage for a critical primary. In the Sunshine State, January 31st, and, Anderson, our analysts are ready to assess what's going on. But this is going to be lively. No one looks like they're dropping out, and this contest could go on and on and on.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, AC360: And we certainly heard from Rick Santorum, talking just a few moments ago, saying he is clearly staying in this thing. He's talking about Minnesota, even Nevada. We expect to hear from him very shortly.

It was interesting to hear Governor Romney in that speech, trying to focus a lot on President Obama, not mentioning, as Wolf said, Gingrich by name. Do you think that continues when he goes to Florida?

JOHN KING, HOST, JOHN KING U.S.A.: No.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No. It was a very gracious speech and he was, you know, he was smiling a lot. He seemed resilient. But compared to his speech last week after New Hampshire, it was very thin gruel. I mean, I just -- there wasn't anything new. It wasn't anything (inaudible) move (ph) people.

COOPER: Thin gruel?

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Without naming Gingrich -- without naming Gingrich, he took (inaudible) in that speech.

GERGEN: But Newt Gingrich is a street fighter who carries a switchblade. I'm not sure that Mitt Romney owns a switchblade.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, but this is the problem with the campaign. This is a problem with the campaign, because there are people in the campaign -- it's been divided over do you release taxes, don't you release taxes. You have surrogates Newt Gingrich or does the candidate attack Newt Gingrich?

Newt Gingrich doesn't have any surrogates. He attacks Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney tonight was starting. I was e-mailing with some people involved in a campaign, I said, lessons learned. And the answer to me was very brief. Offense, not defense. And that's -- and that's what we just heard the start of. Whether Mitt Romney can carry it off in Florida remains to be seen.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: James mentioned this earlier. If Mitt Romney collapses in Florida, there will be a crisis in the Romney campaign. And there will be a lot of jitters in the Republican Party, and guess what, Governor Romney just proved there, might not have been wholly what you expect, but he gets it. That and the play-it-safe strategy started to disappear right there in that speech. When you get thumped, you have two choices, take it or change your strategy. And so what I'm told -- I'm told by sources close to the Romney campaign, in the Romney campaign, look for these three things.

Number one, there are two debates next week, one of them here on CNN. They said look for a much more aggressive Mitt Romney, and look for Mitt Romney to start going directly after Gingrich on character issues.

I asked, "You mean personal character issues?" And they said not initially, they're going to go after his reign as Speaker, the ethics violation, press for disclosure of the Freddie Mac contract and do other issues that they say will raise questions of character and they hope lead to a broader conversation --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: -- argue about releasing --

KING: That's the second point.

COOPER: -- from Gingrich (inaudible).

KING: I'm also told by these sources that they will have a decisive announcement on the tax issue this week.

BORGER: Well --

KING: I pressed to say (inaudible) you release them? And I said -- they said stay tuned, a decisive announcement on taxes. One of the things that hurt them in South Carolina was how unsure he seemed at both debates about when he would release his taxes, why wouldn't he release his taxes, when he releases them, what will he release.

So I'm told we will, at a minimum, get definitive word of when and what. And there's a lot of pressure within the campaign to actually release the documents.

One more point: the spokesman for Governor Jeb Bush -- former Governor Jeb Bush of Florida tonight is denying this, but three other Republican sources tell me that the Romney campaign has locked up the Jeb Bush endorsement.

GERGEN: That's --

BORGER: Not a surprise, but great for Mitt Romney, because that's what he needed. Now, again, he had Nikki Haley's endorsement in South Carolina. I don't think she's as popular there as Jeb Bush was in Florida. I think that will be very, very important for him. It doesn't surprise me if they were on the phone begging for it right now.

COOPER: Yes, and Jeb Bush, a conservative, if you look at these exit polls tonight.

BORGER: (Inaudible). COOPER: Yes, that's our first piece of the South, first piece of the South, parts of Florida. Florida is a much more diverse state than South Carolina. But you have conservative voters. They reared up in Florida in 2010. Jeb Bush would have to help there. Gloria makes an important point. We'll have the first Latino participation in the Republican primaries when we get into Florida.

Some of it's Cuban, not all of it. Southern Florida's Cubans and other parts of the state that's more diverse, you will see the establishment rally around Mitt Romney this week because they fear Newt Gingrich. Of all the establishment that could help in Florida, again, endorsements, I think, can be overstated. Jeb Bush can help.

BORGER: Yes, I agree.

GERGEN: I totally agree with John about Jeb Bush, and I think he would help a lot but ultimately it does really going to come down to these debates. Once again, it's mano a mano. And it's just an interesting question, when Mitt Romney goes on offense, does he have it in his DNA to take on Newt Gingrich in a serious way? Because there's no question about Gingrich.

But there's been this question about Romney. Now I think he did warm up tonight, but he still didn't have the kind of powerful force that Gingrich has exhibited in these debates.

These debates are going to be absolutely critical.

KING: (Inaudible).

BORGER: You know, I was talking to a pollster, who's been through many presidential campaigns, and he said to me, at a -- at a really difficult time like this, what happens to the candidate is you dig down in your soul and pull up something that you never knew you had.

COOPER: You either have it or you don't.

BORGER: Or you don't.

KING: And Newt Gingrich has had it, and McCain had it last cycle, we're about to see if Romney has it.

COOPER: We're awaiting speeches from Santorum, Ron Paul as well as the winner tonight, Newt Gingrich. We'll bring them all to you live. Take a quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has just begun speaking. Let's listen in.

REP. RON PAUL, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: -- been chosen so far. Less than 2 percent, like 11/2 percent, this is the beginning of a long, hard slide.

(APPLAUSE) PAUL: And we will -- we will continue to do this. There is no doubt about it. The message of liberty is being received more people every single day, thanks to your efforts.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL: The wonderful thing about the message of liberty is if what we seek is peace and prosperity, that is how you get peace and prosperity, by understanding and defending and promoting the cause of liberty.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL: You know, there's no doubt our numbers have been growing, whether it's this primary, but I have been in this business of promoting this cause in the electoral process for a long time. At the beginning, I thought it was just going to be promotion of a cause. Then it dawned on me, if you win elections and win delegates, that's the way you promote a cause.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL: So we will certainly be promoting this in the most frugal way. We will be going to the caucus station -- states and we will be promoting the whole idea of getting more delegates, because that's the name of the game. And we will pursue it.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL: Twenty or 30 years ago I started and I didn't think it -- that it would be well received. And, obviously, getting elected 12 times meant the people who knew me best voted for the cause of liberty and this cause has continued to grow.

Even compared to four years ago, it looks like tonight we will get four to five times more votes than we did four years ago.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL: So there's every reason to be encouraged, there's every reason that we understand so clearly that the cause is so necessary. This is what I noticed about four years ago. After the last election, our efforts were getting -- it -- they were getting more and more attention.

And everybody asked me, the media fleet (ph) asked me, what is different? Well, the evidence had become clear that the efforts by government is failing, and we can't depend on the government to take care of us from cradle to grave, we can't depend on the government, on its efforts to promote and believe that we can police the world and go into nation building because we're all gone broke.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL: Of course, we've talked a lot about the economy and how we got into the mess and what we should do about it. Others have talked about it in glib terms and not be specific but I see our problems as a spending problem government is too big. We do more thing -- all the things we're not supposed to do and we forget about doing the things we're supposed to be doing.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL: So as a modest attempt to get back to reasonable budgets, we want to have a $1 trillion cut in spending in one year.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL: Of course, there's not -- there is one other little item that I've talked about, not for this campaign, not for the last campaign, but for the last 30 years. As a matter of fact, it motivated me in many ways to run for Congress. And then it has to do with how do we get away with paying for these bills and endless spending occurs and government keeps growing.

It cannot occur if you have a sound monetary system. That's why I have emphasized the importance of having a sound dollar and why we need to rein in the Federal Reserve system.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL: Right.

You know, one of the arguments that they, you know, pose against us for talking about the gold standard is they said it's too complex and it's risky business.

But what is -- what can be more ridiculous than saying, oh, money comes out of a printing press and it should be done in secret, creating trillions of dollars and passing them out to the special interests and we're supposed to accept that as a good monetary system.

You know, it isn't all that complex. As a matter of fact, if we obeyed the law we would have sound money. The Constitution still says that only gold and silver should be legal tender.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL: But if one understands this, you can understand why government grows because politicians don't have to be responsible. There's various reasons why they spend money, but if they, you know, to one degree they can tax us but there's a limit to how much, because there will be a tax rebellion.

And they can borrow and they can get away with that as long as the credit is good but eventually interest rates go up. That's why they invented in 1913 this financial system based on fiat money and printing money, because you can delay the pain and penalty.

And I used to say, so often, over the years, that, you know, we run up these debts and we pass them on to the next generation, we shouldn't do it. But you know what, what's different today, we are the next generation and we're suffering the consequences. (APPLAUSE)

PAUL: And this is -- and this is the reason that we cannot resolve the problem of the unfinanced entitlement system, Social Security and all, because if you just print money, the value of money goes down, and the people's standards go down. Already the people on fixed incomes, their standard of living is going down.

The middle class is shrinking. Unemployment, if you look at those honestly, is closer to 20 percent, and the people are very, very concerned about this. The answers come with a very uncomplicated solution. We got into this mess by too many people in Washington either didn't care or didn't understand the Constitution. We need to restore the Constitution, and we must restore liberty.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL: In order -- in order to do that, we should spend all our resources here at home. That's a good place to spend the money. This is also the reason I have emphasized so strongly about the waste and the amount of money we spend overseas and the foreign aid.

At the same time our people are suffering here at home. So if we want to spend the money, we should work hard to return the money from overseas spending to the people here in this country, and they should spend the money.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL: But in order to do this, we all know that it is not so simple. You don't wave a wand. You have to change the people's attitude and that is what's happening. The people's attitudes are changing and they're realizing that we can't afford this any longer.

Even the people who are on the receiving end know they're getting into trouble because the producers have been pushed out of our country. So this is becoming the opportunity for us to restore the values that had made America great.

And it's based on individual liberty, it's based on the concept that we are free people with free spirits, we should have control of our lives and we should have a control of our destiny, but we also should have control of our money as well.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL: But this will not be done -- government does reflect the prevailing attitudes of the people. Where we are gaining now is the prevailing attitude of the people is changing, and that is very good because it 's coming our way and saying government is the problem, it is not the solution.

We got into this mess by too much spending and too much debt and too much printing money and too much regulation. How do they think they're going to get out of this mess by spending more money, printing more money, borrowing more money and regulating more? It's impossible.

That's why we have to reverse the course. Foreign policy, we need a foreign policy, not so strange, but one that the Founders gave us, one the Constitution designed, one that is designed to operate in our self-interest and for our national security. That's what kind we have (inaudible) --

PAUL: I think -- I think a simple little thing to avoid going into these wars that never seem to end, that they never seem to stop and we never know why we're there and what the purpose is. Founders gave us the answer. Don't go to war unless the war is declared. Go to war, win it and go home.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL: So that's a good place to start. Bring the troops home and have them spend their money here, not overseas. Entitlement system, it doesn't work. It's all well intended, oh, yes, everybody is going to get a house, and everybody's going to get free health care, everybody's going to get a free education.

And look at what we have. All it does is when you pump more money into any area, you get higher prices. So the more the government pumps money into education or medicine, the costs go up, but you don't get higher quality or better distribution.

Unfortunately, our country has been very lackadaisical -- and this is what we're reviving, and that is we're lackadaisical about our understanding and our trust in freedom. This is what we need. We need to restore the (inaudible) that if we want a free and prosperous society, we have to understand the necessity of assuming responsibility for ourselves.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL: Of course, the one other area that bothers me significantly is when we accept the big role -- the role of big government in economics or in overseas, inevitably it undermines our personal liberties and it is -- and that is being attacked now, always with well -- you know, good intention, but in the last 10 or 12 years, we have embarked in a -- on a road that is undermining our liberties.

When you think of the harm done and the threat to our privacy with the PATRIOT Act, that has literally cancelled out the Fourth Amendment. We need to reverse that and get rid of the PATRIOT Act, is what I think we should do.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL: One place where, when the people spoke out, we achieved a lot -- and there is a few people in this room I'm quite sure are computer savvy and Internet savvy.

And when they threaten with SOPA, online gambling, you know, an act which was to take over the Internet, guess what, you all spoke out and at least temporarily it has been removed from the docket in Washington in both the House and the Senate. So that is an achievement. When the people speak out, can you get their attention in Washington.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL: But we also need to continue to speak out against what that paragraph they put in the National Defense Authorization Act, that provision that now allows our president to use our military to arrest American citizens with no charges and no attorneys.

Now I got a little bit of criticism from the media and I really worry a lot about that.

(LAUGHTER)

PAUL: But I took a day this week and went back up to Washington. I wanted to make sure that I was on record to vote against increasing the national debt by $1.2 trillion.

But also while there, I dropped a piece of legislation in, I think, is very significant and I hope we gain the momentum because so many people in the campaign has been aware of this, although it's not noticed much in the mainstream media, and that is I introduced a bill to repeal that provision and remove that power from our president.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL: Our cause is the right cause, because it's the cause that made America great. Freedom is the answer to so many of our problems.

If you think about diversity in a country as our country is, freedom brings people together, because what we do is we release the creative energy of each individual, to pursue their live as they choose, their lifestyles, their religious values, their personal values will be determined by that individual as long as they don't interfere with others. This brings people together.

Economically it should be the same issue, social issues and economic issues. You should have not only a right to your life and your own -- your own practices but you should have a right to spend your money as you choose. This is what we have to do.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL: And we did have the best experiment ever. We were the richest country ever. We had the largest middle class ever, and now it is changing. And it's been systematically changing over quite a few decades.

So we have to reverse that because right now the middle class is shrinking, the country is poorer and the prosperity we have is basically based on debt. We owe so much money to overseas. We have now, I mean, ironically and unfortunately, the Chinese have become our banker. I mean, what is going on with us?

Why don't we produce the conditions and the environment to invite capital and investments back into this country? That's what we need.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL: The issues you all know very well, the country is coming our way, this campaign has a long way to go. The momentum is growing. The one thing we can say about our campaign, have you ever noticed other candidates going up and then down, up and then down?

So far I am very proud to say that our efforts is steady growth. It's steady growth like this.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL: And that's the way it's going to continue because that is what is necessary. It is -- there is a great need for it and the opportunity is there and let me tell you how proud I am of all the supporters and all the efforts made in this.

And just believe me, thank you very much. Keep up the good work. We have the message, we have the talent, we have the determination and we will win this battle for peace and prosperity. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, AC360: Congressman Ron Paul speaking to his supporters in South Carolina, moving on now to Florida.

And at the bottom of your screen all during his speech and all during all the speeches tonight, you will see our focus group of Florida Republican voters, undecided, who are watching these speeches in real time, they're doing dial testing and they are responding to -- with approval or disapproval as each of these candidates speaks.

We're going to take a quick break. We are still expecting to hear from Rick Santorum and, of course, from the winner tonight, Newt Gingrich. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, AC360: And welcome back. Our coverage continues of the primary in South Carolina. We are awaiting Rick Santorum. We anticipate his coming to the podium in just a matter of a minute or two.

As you heard Ron Paul speaking tonight, what -- I mean, he is in this thing clearly for the long haul.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, Anderson, I said this after Iowa, Iowa was his high water mark. It's going to be all downhill from here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he is being measured by a totally nonpresidential measurement. He can't win. He's in it really for his cause, but for all purposes Ron Paul's candidacy has been and is over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Florida is a closed primary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't get young independent kids flooding to vote for you. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're really not Republicans. And so, you know, he's getting his message out but that's about it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You heard Ron Paul tonight say that it's about delegates. He wants to not only impact the Republican platform, he wants to influence the entire process, the nominee, the party going forward. But, look, South Carolina is a winner-take-all state. And there's no question: Newt Gingrich tonight will come out leading in the race for delegates as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But South Carolina is proportional.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- everything before April 1 (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's gone to these caucus states. He's not about -- he's not about -- he wants to go to -- and the real danger here is he has enough delegates to throw it one way or another and you have to deal with him.

And in some respects he's to the Republicans in 2012 what Jesse was to us in 1998 and 1984, if you will.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But he --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) they're going to have -- that may be -- and that's their strategy. There was a story in "The New York Times" and that's clearly their strategy. And they got very smart delegate counters and delegate allocating --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The assumption is they'll assemble a bunch of delegates, and I don't see the evidence yet that he will. If he gets getting 5 to 10 percent, he's a minor impact at the convention. He'll get his due, he should give a speech but I don't see much more than that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're trying. I mean, they know they're not going to beat (inaudible) -- they're not running to beat -- they're not running to beat the opposition. They're running to effect it.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: And Rick Santorum -- Rick Santorum is now at the podium. I notice actually all his sons are wearing sweater vests, but he is not. He's wearing the tie and jacket. Let's listen in.

FORMER SEN. RICK SANTORUM, R-PA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you. Well, three states, three winners -- what a great country.

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: I had the pleasure -- and it was a pleasure to congratulate my friend, Newt Gingrich, just a few minutes ago on -- really an amazing victory for him. I mean, he's -- he's had -- he's been up and he's been down and he never stopped fighting. And, to Newt Gingrich, let's give him a big round of applause for staying in there and fighting. Good job, buddy, good job.

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: Well, I just want to also thank somebody else, and -- well, actually a group of folks who happen to be standing behind me. I just want to thank, first and foremost, my wife, Karen --

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: -- and we have six of seven children here. Our little one, Bella (ph), is here in South Carolina, but not up with us here on stage. I want to thank all them for the great hard work for us. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: And I always have to start out by thanking my family, because that's where it all starts for me.

You know, when I -- I've only -- Karen has written two books. I've only written one. By the way, her books sold more than my one book. But I wrote that book in response to a book written by Hillary Clinton. And she wrote a book called "It Takes a Village" and I wrote the rebuttal "It Takes a Family."

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: Well, this was a family decision. It was not an easy decision to step forward and step back into the firing line, and this has clearly been a firing line. But it was a family decision to step forward at a time when we, just like everybody else in America, the Tea Party people who rose up and delivered that great victory in 2010, who felt this sense that something was wrong in America.

There was something that was out of whack. There's something that they couldn't sit on the sidelines anymore and just watch America -- the America that they knew and love -- fundamentally change.

And that's why Karen and I and the kids, we sat around our kitchen table, just like, well, we all sit around our kitchen tables and we talked about our future and talk about our family and country and we decided to step forward and run for President of the United States.

And we went to this little town in the hills of the Appalachian mountains, Somerset, Pennsylvania. And I went there for two reasons, because I think what's fundamentally at stake in this country is freedom.

The government taking and robbing every man, woman and child, every institution that seeks to do good in our society, they continue to rob it of their freedom and try to control everything from the top down. So I went --

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: -- so our family went to this little town in Somerset, Pennsylvania. It's not where I was from. I didn't grow up in Somerset. Never lived in Somerset. I had a couple of friends in Somerset, but we went to Somerset because of two things that to me represented what was at the core of the threat that this administration was to those fundamental freedoms.

Number one was, as I mentioned before, that's about a few miles down the road from where my grandfather came to this country and worked in those coal mines. That's where my grandfather dug his way to freedom for me and my father and for this generation that now follows me.

And so I wanted to stand on the place where freedom was etched for the Santorum family, and just down the road from a place where an airliner crashed on a September day, five miles away from Somerset in Shanksville, where the first blow for freedom was struck in this war against radical jihadists.

I wanted to stand there on those sites to make a clarion call that this race and this campaign was not going to be about tearing everybody down, it was not going to be about negative ads, it was not going to be about anything other than painting a bold vision for our country, one that believed in the working class values that my grandfather taught to me. The --

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: -- workers, workers who believed as, well, Barack Obama actually got it right when he made that comment in San Francisco, unbeknownst that it was being recorded. Yes, my grandfather and I come from that area of Pennsylvania he was referring to that holds on tightly to their guns and their Bibles.

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: And those are the people in America who are being left behind. Those are the folks in America whose party -- neither party has a voice for. Oh, President Obama and the Left will tell you, oh, they care. They want to do everything for you from the top down. They don't believe in you. They believe in their ability to care for you. That is not America.

And that is not what the working people of western Pennsylvania, the working people of South Carolina, the working people of across this country want. They don't want someone or some government that's going to care for them. They want someone who believes in them.

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: And we went out and -- all across this country in these three states now. But let me assure you we will go to Florida, and then we are going to Arizona and Colorado, (inaudible).

(APPLAUSE) SANTORUM: And we are going -- and we're going to deliver a little different message than the other folks in this race. And I respect them greatly. It is great to be up there and shoulder to shoulder with them, taking on every night and day as we travel across this country, taking on the policies of this president.

But I plan to be a little different. I'm going to go out and talk about how we are going to have a Republican Party, a conservative movement that makes sure that everyone in America has the opportunity to rise, not just those who have maybe advantage, maybe have had a little bit more opportunity than somebody else, but every person in America will have the opportunity to rise in America again.

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: And it's a pretty simple formula. It's a pretty simple formula. It is a formula that I talked about the other day at the debate. But it is a simple formula that we all understand. It is a formula that values work. It respects the dignity of all work in America, that says to anybody for any job that we respect that, but we also want to give you an opportunity to rise in society. And that's what's missing.

As much as we like to talk about as conservatives that if you just cut taxes and reduce spending everybody will do fine. Well, that is simply not the case. That's simply not the case. We have to create an atmosphere in this country where people can get the education they need.

We have to create an atmosphere in this country where people can get the training they need. We have to have an -- an attitude that says we want to compete for those blue-collar jobs that create the opportunities that in two generations one of their kids can run for President of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: We also want to say -- we also want to say that we stand up, we stand up and want to promote the values that made this country great, the values of faith, family, and freedom, those values that we understand and we all know that that is what works and in America.

I've talked often in my speeches about the liberal think tank that says that if you do three things that you can almost guarantee to stay out of poverty. Work that I just talked about, get that education, graduate from high school, and, of course, get married before you have children. Marriage, family --

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: If we are not the party that stands up for the truth about the importance of marriage, the importance of families, the importance of fatherhood and motherhood, the importance of those values of instilling virtues in the next generation of children with faith, then we are a party that no longer has a heart. And we are not a party that's going to be a majority party in this country. We have to be the party that speaks to everyone, those who know and understand that at the heart of America, that beating sound is that beating pulse of the healthy family.

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: I want to thank everybody here in the state of South Carolina. Thank you so much. Here at The Citadel, I want to thank The Citadel for the tremendous hospitality and the wonderful job the cadets have done for us. And I want to particularly thank them for that beautiful muzzle -- muzzle (inaudible) that I got, muzzle loader that I got yesterday.

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: And I want to say to all those folks across America who are looking for that candidate, that candidate that can be that good, stark contrast, someone who can contrast on all of the issues that are important for America today, the ones that are going to decide this election, the ones of experience on national security, the consistency on the conservative principles that made this country great. I ask you, it is a wide open race. Join the fight. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Rick Santorum, the Republican presidential candidate, the former senator from Pennsylvania coming in third tonight.

We've already heard from Mitt Romney. He comes in second. We heard from Ron Paul; he comes in fourth. We're still awaiting Newt Gingrich, the winner of the South Carolina primary. Let me share with you the votes as we have them right now.

We've projected that Newt Gingrich is the winner, but 70 percent of the vote in South Carolina, 70 percent of the precincts have now reported. Look at this, Newt Gingrich with 40 percent, 40 percent, 128,801 votes. He's 43,000 votes ahead of Mitt Romney with 27 percent, Mitt Romney ahead of Rick Santorum with 18 percent, Ron Paul 13 percent, 70 percent of the precincts have now reported.

We're waiting Newt Gingrich. A lot of us want to know what is he going to say tonight? This is his first win this in these Republican contests. Three races, so far, three different winners. We'll hear from Newt Gingrich. That's coming up as our coverage will continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back. We're awaiting Newt Gingrich, the winner of the South Carolina primary. The former Speaker of the House, he's getting ready to speak to his supporters, a big, huge win for Newt Gingrich in South Carolina tonight. Everyone getting ready for the next battle already, January 31st in Florida.

Joining us now, though, is Ron Paul, one of the other four remaining Republican presidential candidates. Congressman Paul, thanks very much for joining us. Explain to our viewers what's next for you, because I'm still a little confused. Are you going to be campaigning aggressively in Florida? Or are you already looking beyond Florida?

REP. RON PAUL, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, we're really looking beyond Florida. Florida is a disadvantage to us. It's a big state, you need a lot of money. They've cut half of their votes in half and winner takes all.

So I'm a very frugal person, especially with my donors' money. And I think the money is better spent to go to the caucus states, the smaller states, because the name of the game is winning delegates. And so far there haven't been that many delegates allocated. Even after tonight there's only about 37 delegates allocated. So I see it as the beginning of a season to accumulate key delegates, and that will be our efforts.

BLITZER: But you will participate in both of the Republican presidential debates in Florida next week, right?

PAUL: Yes, I will be, both, I think it's Monday and Thursday. That's -- yes, I'll be there.

BLITZER: All right, good. Our debate, our CNN debate is next Thursday. We're looking forward, of course, to having you there. So walk us through February. Where will you be spending your time and your money?

PAUL: Well, it is the caucus states. I know I can't name them all, but I know Maine is on that list. I think Minnesota's on the list. I think Nevada's on the list. And there will be some others. But we will be -- we have organizations in these states, and we will -- we will do well there. And you know, the organization is strong and the enthusiasm is strong so we're looking forward to the campaign.

BLITZER: You have a very strong organization. I was in South Carolina. I saw evidence of that. In Iowa, you have a very -- you had a very strong organization as well. And your supporters, they're a lot younger than many of the other candidates', if you will. But walk us through right now if you think you can win the Republican presidential nomination.

PAUL: Of course we can. You know, I don't make these bold predictions like some have in the past, "I will be the candidate," no, I don't say that. But obviously, you know, if you can gain delegates and momentum changes, just look at what's happened here in the last six, eight months.

I mean, how many candidates have there been? About eight. We're down to four. So things change. And so many of the others have been -- they rise sharply and then they decline sharply. And even now with the leader declining, it's just about everybody.

But I don't think anybody has said that about our supporters. They come, they're steady, they understand what it's all about, they work hard and we have steady growth because, even tonight with our coming in in the top tier, the one or two -- second place, I mean, our numbers are so much better than anywhere a month ago, they're so much better than they were four years ago.

So that is what we look to, and we want to prove that the message is strong by gaining the votes that are necessary to get as many delegates as possible.

BLITZER: Congressman Paul, David Gergen, our senior political analyst, he has a question for you.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Congressman, thank you for joining us. How many delegates do you think you need to go to Tampa and have a significant impact upon the platform, upon the speeches from the -- from the podium and even perhaps upon the selection of the nominee?

PAUL: You know, the truth is that I haven't thought much about that. There are staff people who do the numbers and they worry about things like that. I worry about my next event. I worry about being up to date on current events.

GERGEN: Well, what's your goal?

PAUL: So I don't --

GERGEN: How should -- how should the media judge your success?

PAUL: Well, by how many delegates I get. And, I mean, if we get 10 delegates and that's it, that's not very good. But I think we're going to do a lot better than that. But I just take one state at a time, and one day at a time, and one debate at a time. And my responsibility is to, you know, deliver the message and encourage people to join our efforts.

BLITZER: Who is the - who is the front-runner right now would you say? We've had three contests so far, three different winners.

PAUL: Well, you know, it hard to say. Mitt has been acknowledged as a front-runner all along. Tonight he has a setback but I think in one week, you know, that could all be reversed. So I don't think you do have one - one only front-runner at all. Obviously tonight reveals that South Carolina says that Mitt and Gingrich are the - are the leaders.

BLITZER: If you look - if you look at the other three, who do you like the most?

PAUL: Well, I'm not in the business of choosing because what I choose is between the message that we're delivering and what we stand for and how strict we want to follow the constitution, change the foreign policy and the monetary policy and we see everybody else as part of the status quo.

Nobody else has talked about cutting spending. Nobody else has challenged a foreign policy which is deeply flawed. Nobody else has talked about real cuts. Nobody else has talked about monetary policy and those are the big events for me and the country is coming around to those viewpoints.

You know, four, five years ago nobody cared about looking at how the Federal Reserve contributes to our crisis and how they bail out people. So that's where we're making the great inroads. And I see all the other candidates, Republicans and Democrats, of some format they support the status quo which has been driving this country down for the last 70 or 80 years.

Our economy goes down. Our debt goes up. Government gets larger. Our civil liberties are undermined and we continue to fight these endless wars. So I think it's a little different than saying that, you know, I could pick one over the other. Right now they all support positions that I don't hold.

BLITZER: Congressman Paul, thanks very much for joining us. We'll see you Thursday night at the CNN Republican Presidential Debate in Jacksonville, Florida. Thanks very much.

PAUL: Thank you. Thank you.