May 11th, 2014
11:21 AM ET
7 months ago

Santorum talks 2016, minimum wage increase

(CNN) – As he considers another run for the White House, Rick Santorum is reaching out to working-class voters, bucking the GOP on the minimum wage and touting his new book in hopes of rebranding the Republican Party.

In an interview with CNN's Candy Crowley that aired Sunday on "State of the Union," the former senator from Pennsylvania and 2012 Republican presidential candidate was candid on the possibility of launching another White House bid in 2016.

2016: "I'm looking at it"

Santorum wouldn't throw his support behind a specific Republican on a list of possible 2016 White House contenders but admitted that he wrote his new book "Blue-Collar Conservatives" in part because he's considering launching another campaign.

"I'm looking for candidates who connect with average voters," he said. "Someone who has a heart and an understanding of those difficult times those voters are going through, and whether it's Rick Santorum or somebody else - it's someone who has that appeal and connection.

Related: Crossfire: Santorum doesn't think Rand Paul would win GOP nomination

"I put this book out there because I'm looking at it - whether other people join in; I hope they do. I've been talking to a lot of candidates across the country, saying, ‘you really need to look at this book and take the opportunity that's present right now to create a new image for this party. It doesn't have a very good one right now,’ " Santorum added.

Minimum wage

One issue that could create conflict between Republicans and average Americans is their opposition to increasing the minimum wage.

Dems seek to rally base over GOP's block of minimum wage bill

The Senate voted last month on raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, but the bill failed to garner the 60 votes needed to pass. Only one Republican voted for the measure.

Santorum joins 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty as Republicans who have come out in favor of some sort of increase.

But Santorum, who long voted for minimum wage increases in his time in Congress, was quick to draw a distinction between his views on the issue and those of his former GOP presidential rival.

CNN: Key races to watch in 2014

"I think Romney came out in favor of President Obama's increase. I'm not in favor of President Obama's increase. When I was in the Senate and when I was in the House, I did vote for minimum wage increases that were incremental," he said.

Asked by Crowley whether Republicans’ opposition to minimum wage increases will hurt the party's image among working-class voters, Santorum said it does and cautioned that lawmakers "need to be reasonable about it and offer an alternative."

The most recent polls on the issue indicate that a strong majority of Americans supports raising the minimum wage, with Republicans mostly divided on the issue.

Complete coverage of the 2014 midterm elections

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.


Filed under: 2016 • Minimum wage • Rick Santorum • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    So the guy who lost reelection in his state and who couldn't carry his own state in the primary still thinks he has a chance. RIGHT!

    May 11, 2014 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  2. Luberal R Lazlows

    "I'll have a Big Mac value meal with a Coke"

    "That will be $27.00."

    "For a Big Mac?! Value meal?!?!"

    "Got to pay for the high labor costs somehow."

    How about a real solution and fix the economy where the cost-of-living is lower for EVERYONE?

    May 11, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  3. Bessy

    This guy is such a loser. His ego is twice the size of his head.

    May 11, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  4. rs

    Well, its good to hear that now two whole Republicans are trying to court the working class. Perhaps ending their senseless hostility to labor unions might also help. It is no coincidence that Reagan's war on unions also coincides with the shrinking of the working class to date.

    May 11, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  5. Charles Hawkins

    Rick Santorum cares about the concerns of blue collar people. Quote "I'm not going to take money from white people and give it to black people." Well, maybe some people.

    May 11, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  6. rs

    Luberal R Lazlows
    "I'll have a Big Mac value meal with a Coke"

    "That will be $27.00."

    "For a Big Mac?! Value meal?!?!"

    "Got to pay for the high labor costs somehow."

    How about a real solution and fix the economy where the cost-of-living is lower for EVERYONE?
    _________________
    How about some facts? Raising the minimum wage to more than ten dollars will increase the price of a big mac exactly .09 cents.
    Here's another point to ponder: While Cosco is somehow able to pay their workers benefits and higher than minimum wages and make a profit, the Waltons point their workers to food drive, soup kitchens, "welfare" and food stamps. Why is that? Perhaps their business model (wherein they gave themselves $1.3 billion in raises last year) might somewhat out-of-wack?

    May 11, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. Phyllis G Williams

    "MASTERS, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in Heaven" –
    (Colossians 4: 1)"He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth to The LORD ...Who will pay him again" (Proverbs 19: 17)

    May 11, 2014 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  8. don in albuquerque

    rs
    If we were to have a GOTP president, house and senate, the Labor Unions would come roaring back with a vengeance.

    May 11, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  9. J Anthony

    @Lubricant R Lazslows: of course we need to do that. We also need to ameliorate debt and wage-slavery. The root of the problem is the institutionalized usury that is our monetary-system. Read up on it.

    May 11, 2014 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  10. don in albuquerque

    Luberal R Lazlows
    Good luck with bringing the cost of living down so everyone could afford it. That would be a communist idea. Hummmmmm.....are you a.........

    May 11, 2014 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  11. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP HOWDEE GOWDEE SHOW with special guest ISSA the CLOWN

    It's the ONLY GOOD thing he's EVER SAID, you don't have to be a dem or republican to RAISE the minimum wage and the should RAISE the SERVICE WORKERS wage from 2.13 and hr plus tips to 1010 an hr TIPS. Time to STOP these rest chains from GETTING A FREE RIDE. This is 2014 NOT 1914!!!!!!!!! The GOP will pay in November for sucking up to the rest LOBBY!!!!

    May 11, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  12. The Elephant in the Room

    Businesses are not entitled to a certain profit level. The genius that cited the $29 BIG MAC seems to think they are . . . . that`s his premise. To the extent a 2014 increase in minimum wage would reduce pre-tax income at McDonald`s, they can give back their increased profits that they booked over the past DECADE when the price of a BIG MAC went UP while their workers wages STAGNATED. Don`t go down that road that businesses / business owners are ENTITLED to lock-in $x of inflated ever expanding margins when the source of those fattened margins is artificially depressed wages. The sword will cut BOTH ways.

    May 11, 2014 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  13. MIke in Texas

    Agree rs, Starbucks too. Sad that a company like Wal Mart can make billions of dollars but their employees need government assistance. The bottom line is, it's all about profit nothing more. Many companies can still make a profit by paying more or moving jobs back to America but they don't because they want to maximize profits. There is a balance but without laws it will never happen because big business will not act in the best interest of the greater of the people but only in what's best for their share holders. There is no morality in big business.

    May 11, 2014 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  14. The Republican Party Is Dead To Me

    I'm glad I don't have his nerve, inside a tooth.

    May 11, 2014 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  15. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Does Frothy Rick actually believe he has a chance?

    May 11, 2014 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  16. Gurgyl

    I pity this second century ideology guy..

    May 12, 2014 07:00 am at 7:00 am |