Santorum: Mission to kill bin Laden 'defined' by Bush, not Obama

GOP hopeful Rick Santorum continued to hit at President Obama's foreign policy Tuesday, defending his claims that the administration has "sided with our enemies" and saying that the killing of Osama bin Laden was put in place by President George W. Bush's administration.

Speaking on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Tuesday, Santorum was asked by George Stephanopoulos to explain his comment at a rally in Iowa on Monday that in international conflicts, Obama has "sided with our enemies on almost every single one."

Santorum doubled down on his comments, saying Obama has "appeased and pandered" on the international stage and that the killing of bin Laden in Pakistan, presented as a foreign-policy success by the White House, was set in motion by the Bush administration.

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Santorum said that operations to kill bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders were "missions that were defined" by the Bush administration." Obama "simply went on and executed those decisions," he said.

"That was a mission that was already decided, it was U.S. policy to kill bin Laden and kill al Qaeda and treat them as enemy combatants," Santorum explained.

The former Pennsylvania senator said that on almost every other issue where the president had acted on his own judgment, he had alienated American allies and sided with opposing interests.

"Iran, Egypt, Syria, Honduras, you can go down the list. Poland, the U.K., the Czechs — ask all of them.

"This is a president who has gotten it wrong every time," he said.

Santorum, who has risen in the polls and is within striking distance of winning today's Iowa caucuses, sounded an optimistic note. "We're going to do very well tonight. Ten days ago we were in last place in the polls and people were asking me why didn't I get out," he said.

He also defended his ability to continue his campaign beyond Iowa, dismissing concerns about his fundraising ability and organization in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Santorum said the campaign had "great teams in both places."

"We're going to campaign hard there," he said of the first-in-the-nation primary in the Granite State. Santorum said he had "spent more time in New Hampshire than anybody but Jon Huntsman."

"Our money is coming in better than it’s ever come in," he said, adding that the campaign was well-positioned to "compete all the way through."

Santorum also pushed back against criticisms from GOP rivals, in particular Texas Gov. Rick Perry, that he is not a fiscal conservative. Perry released an ad on Monday hitting Santorum for defending earmarks as a senator, calling him a "porker's best friend."

Santorum reiterated his past defense of earmarks for Pennsylvania, saying that as a lawmaker "your reason is to fight for your state." He noted, though, that once he saw what he perceived to be abuses in the system, he moved with fellow Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) to ban the practice.

Santorum said that his opponents had made many of the same mistakes and were still contributing to the problem. "Rick Perry hired people to get money for the state of Texas," he said.