- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Rick Santorum chose to give his first interview as presidential hopeful to George Stephanopoulos. The ABC News anchor revealed the news himself in a tweet, noting, “Rick Santorum tells me he’s officially in WH race. I’m in Pittsburgh for 1st interview today.”

Mr. Santorum - known as a faith-driven, pro-life “blue collar conservative” - also chose his home town in Pennsylvania for his big moment on Wednesday afternoon. He is “excited to share his vision of helping hard-working American families achieve the American dream again,” spokesman Matt Beynon told The Washington Times.

“I’m ready to do this again,” the candidate told Mr. Stephanopoulos in the interview, which aired on ABC’s World News Tonight, and repeats Thursday on Good Morning America. “Obviously, we learned something from the last campaign. Number one, we’re gonna have more money.

He’s also ready for an opponent: Hillary Clinton.

“We’ve taking her on- on everything from moral to cultural issues,” Mr. Santorum continued.

“It’s an exciting opportunity,” he said. “To come back home, to really reconnect to what I grew up with and understood to be an America that worked, that worked for middle-income families, that created stable neighborhoods and strong families. When you see all these reports coming out, one after another, from the far left and the far right talking about how the middle of America is hollowing out and the jobs just aren’t there for the 74 percent of Americans who don’t have a college degree - families are breaking down.”

The newsman, meanwhile, has been scrutinized for weeks following revelations that he contributed a reported $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation. With Hillary Clinton the lead contender for the Democratic Party, critics say that the donation compromises Mr. Stephanopoulos‘ credibility as a journalist and suggest he refrain from covering the 2016 race.

A recent Rasmussen Reports survey found that 46 percent of likely voters felt Mr. Stephanopoulos should be “banned” from covering the race; that number included 66 percent of Republicans and 30 percent of Democrats.

The network has its own take on the situation, however.

Santorum might even have a difficult time qualifying for the GOP debates. Fox News and CNN are capping the number of candidates for their first debates at 10, based on national polling numbers,” wrote ABC News analyst Jonathan Easley.

Santorum is currently in 10th place nationally in the Republican field with 2.3 percent support, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls. He’s also buried in 10th place in Iowa, taking only 3 percent support.”


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