Santorum says he, not Gingrich, is responsible for 1994 GOP House takeover

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In the early 1990s, Santorum served as a representative from Pennsylvania while Gingrich (R-Ga.) was the House minority whip.

“Newt Gingrich takes a lot of credit for the ‘Contract with America’ and winning the House in 1994,” Santorum said. “But if you go back in 1994, the real issue was corruption in Washington and the real reason for that was because Rick Santorum and [former Iowa Rep.] Jim Nussle and several others stood up and exposed the rampant corruption going on in Congress.”

“That was more of the reason for the 1994 election win for Republicans than anything else,” Santorum added. “So the ‘Contract with America’ gets all the praise, but candidly, the ‘Contract with America’ didn’t even exist until about eight weeks before the election. That movement for ’94 was well underway before that.”

Gingrich’s “Contract with America” was a list of changes the Republican Party would implement if it gained a majority in the House in the November 1994 elections. Republicans picked up 54 seats and took control of the House for the first time in 40 years.

Another accomplishment Gingrich has touted while on the campaign trail is welfare reform, which was signed into law by then-President Clinton shortly after Gingrich became Speaker of the House.

Here too, Santorum said Gingrich was not as influential as he’s led on.

“Unfortunately, you know, Republicans got in and weren’t able to make the kind of big changes, other than one I was involved with, which is welfare reform,” Santorum said. “I was the author of when I was in the House and managed the bill on the floor of the Senate, [but] other than that, we didn’t take the ball very far down the field and I think we need a president who’s willing to shake things up, change the dynamic down there.”

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