Santorum defends raising minimum wage
Former Sen. Rick Santorum on Wednesday defended his position as one of the only GOP presidential candidates to support a minimum wage hike, bashing his party as favoring businesses over employees.
 
Pushing back against Sen. Lindsey Graham's (S.C.) criticism during Wednesday's undercard debate, he noted that less than 1 percent of American workers are earning the minimum wage.
 
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"What every Republican is up there saying is that we are against the minimum wage, because if you are not for increasing it and [few] are making the minimum wage right now, the answer is: Republicans don't believe in a floor wage in America," he said during the debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.
 
"Fine, you go and make that case to the American public. I’m not going to. Not from a party that supported bailouts ... not from a party that supports special interest tax provisions for a whole bunch of other businesses. But when it comes to hardworking Americans who are at the bottom of the income scale, we can't provide some level of income support." 
 
Santorum has proposed a small increase in the federal minimum wage, currently at $7.25, of 50 cents over three years. The only other GOP presidential candidate to show some support for a minimum wage hike is retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.
 
Santorum pointed to the optics of the GOP's 2012 convention, which bashed President Obama for saying that business owners didn't build their businesses without help from others or from the government. 
 
"We trotted out one small business person after another for almost an hour that night. ... You know what we didn't do? we didn't bring one worker on that stage," he said.
 
"Republicans are losing elections because we aren’t taking about [workers], all we want to talk about is what happened to business, there are people that work in those businesses."