Santorum compares Wisconsin protesters to drug addicts
February 23rd, 2011
08:50 AM ET
3 years ago

Santorum compares Wisconsin protesters to drug addicts

Washington (CNN) - All-but-declared presidential candidate Rick Santorum is stirring the pot when it comes to government entitlements, comparing the pro-union protesters in Wisconsin to drug addicts in withdrawal.

"They are acting like their drug is being taken away from them," Santorum told a small gathering of South Carolina Republicans Monday night, according to the Spartanburg Herald-Journal.

The comments came the same day thousands of protesters rallied outside the Wisconsin state capitol for the second week, upset with Gov. Scott Walker's plan to limit collective bargaining rights for public-sector employees. Walker says the plan is necessary to stem the state's budget crisis while pro-union groups say the governor is trying to curb long-held labor rights under a guise of fiscal responsibility.

Meanwhile, Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator who is widely expected to seek his party's presidential nomination, added he thinks those who support government entitlements – including the recent health care law – are "no better than a drug dealer."

"They give you a subtle narcotic to make you feel better as you do worse," said Santorum.

Santorum's visit to South Carolina marked the 10th time he has visited that crucial early primary state as he seeks to shore up support ahead of his likely presidential bid. He's also returning to the early-voting state of Iowa Thursday to meet with several activists groups and take part in some statewide media interviews. He's also visited New Hampshire several times.


Filed under: Rick Santorum • Wisconsin
soundoff (100 Responses)
  1. Jc Ohio

    So good health and health care are actually bad?
    Hmmmm ... and the medications we're given by a physician is the same as buying crack on the street?
    Yup ... he's on his way to the WH ... umm never!

    February 23, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  2. JWayne

    Unions were necessary when they were formed. They, like our Government, have become bastions of corruption. Unions are no longer fighting for the health and safety of the workers; they are demanding erection pills for crying out loud, ridiculously high retirement plans and could care less about the ability of our States to balance the budget. Their response is to take it away from somebody else, even when that somebody else has less. They do not negotiate, they demand. It has become too much for the States.

    February 23, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  3. Debbie

    Rick Santorum is woefully unaware and unconcerned about the future of this country.
    I think he has just insulted the majority of the middle class-at least the tiny part of our population that hasn't slipped into the poverty class yet.

    February 23, 2011 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  4. Philotrek

    Maybe Santorum's pensions ought to be cut. It would be amusing to watch him squirm with hypocrisy.

    February 23, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  5. boatnmaniac

    Healthcare and pension benefits are entitlements, just as are wages...they are all part of the compensation package paid for work performed that employees are entitled to receive. Every employer I've worked for has emphacized that I should be considering the entire package as my compensation, not just the wages.

    I'll bet Santorum is not willing to sacrifice his compensation package entitlements.

    And to compare employee healthcare and pension benefits to entitlements the government provides to the general populace (i.e., people who are not employees of the government) is ludicrous and the height of ignorance and stupidity.

    February 23, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  6. proud mother of soldier

    People in this country want everything they can get at any cost they can to others. Yet, they refuse to acknowledge where the money is coming from as long as THEY are taken care of. Yes, sort of like a drug addict....no cares as long as they have what they want. Life is about choices and honestly, why should those who work hard pay for those so unwilling to face the reality of our world. Like it or not, I do not want to work harder so you can work less and live the life you want. Unions need to go and I no longer blame a company that leaves our borders to avoid the union unreasonable demands. Obama folded to the unions when he exempted many union controlled companies from Obamacare.

    February 23, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  7. thebob.bob

    Santorum is a frothy mixture of deranged evangelical and anti-government extremist. Google Santorum.

    February 23, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  8. Carmen Beluga

    Bravo Rick! It seems you and Gadhafi are sharing the same speech writer because on the day you made your remarks about Wisconsin's "drug addicts",the Libyan Something or Other made a very similar remark about demonstrators in that country.

    February 23, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  9. derp

    Why didn't this DB just go away quietly when he got his butt handed to him in his last election. This nut job actually spent a night sleeping with a corpse. He is certifiably crazy.

    February 23, 2011 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  10. Patrick Lewis

    Good Lord what a terrible metaphor. So much for staying above the fray there Rick. That's just flat out name calling. Nice message if you are intending to marginalize the Union movement, which has made working life livable over the last hundred years, but not so much if you want to be taken seriously in the debate.

    February 23, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  11. rusty155

    There go your chance for running for President. That remark you just say go too show how many Republican won't have JOBS In2012. you are voted too office too work for the AMERICAN PEOPLE NOT THE RICH AND BIG BUSINESS.

    February 23, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  12. Tuna

    How out of touch can a human being get???? Where is this guy coming from? This person thinks he had the ability to lead this country. I would hope that he gets a lot of attention from shrink community before her runs.

    February 23, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  13. Ryan NC

    @ Inmyopinion: the salary of public employee are already public... get more informed and stop listening to Fox News!

    February 23, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  14. Dan

    Rick, Please stay out of Pa, we do not want you back in any form. You were a lousy when you had a Federal office and we kicked you out, what makes you think that anyone with a working brain would want you as President. For someone who grew up in a Union State, County and City to make a statement like you made must have serious mental issues. How much did you and your family benefit from what the Unions negotiated?

    February 23, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  15. cptkkirk

    hence the definition of santorum.

    February 23, 2011 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  16. When Worlds Collide

    Rick Sanitarium is crazy, plain and simple. We Pennsylvanians said "No Thank You " to his mean spirited madess and no doubt the American people will too.

    February 23, 2011 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  17. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Private sector employees have had their benefits and wages cut for years. Get with the program or be fired !!!!!"

    And this is OK with you, Terry? Because we in America should strive for less, not more? Perhaps if wages hadn't been cut for years in the private sector, our State and Federal Budgets wouldn't be in such deep debt? Why fault the unions for continuing to fight for workers rights, while closing your eyes to the corporations who have indeed stripped workers with pay cuts, cuts in benefits, pensions, vacation, work hours, and the entitlements you seem to think aren't necessary any longer to America's workforce.

    February 23, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  18. Bob

    This guy was Sarah Palin-like long before anyone knew she existed. He was perhaps the worst senator in PA history. We couldn't wait to boot him out of office. He only had a sham home in western PA, while the entire family actually lived in Virginia. And to make matters worse, he was bilking the PA system for his kids' education while living in Virginia. Biggest tool on the planet. If you think Dan Quayle was a buffoon, just wait until Slick Rick cranks up his national campaign. He'll have to hire someone whose sole job responsibility is removing his foot from his mouth. He'd be an even easier candidate for Obama to beat than Palin.

    February 23, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  19. SunnyD

    I just want folks to actually go look at what the Governonr their is proposing in order to fix the budget. He talks about cutting back spending but he keeps cutting taxes simulatenously. Why is it that they think it's okay to cut education in order to balance the budget (or at least close the budget gap) but then they start lowering taxes hundreds of millions of dollars and then want to have those union workers their tryign to bust (teachers, fire fighters and police) pay more for some of their health care...then they want to close the gap the widend with tax cuts by busting up these types of unions and holding pay down?
    Tax cut repubs simply looking at the next election...It's just as much our responsibility to pay taxes in this situation as it is to cut key spending...

    February 23, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  20. Pennsylvanian

    I remember an article a few weeks ago about a poor mother being jailed for claiming to live at her fathers address so her child could go to a better school. This guy claimed a PA address while living in VA all while his 5 children got the benefits of the PA cyber charter schools in 2004, costing taxpayers about 70k. When the school district asked for the tuition the Santorums owed they lucked out with a technical error on the school districts part and were never ordered to repay. The PA Dept of Education picked up the tab of 55k owed to the school district. So a poor mom claiming a false address for 1 child results in possible jail time, and a wealthy politico with 5 children gets the tab picked up by the Dept of Ed...

    February 23, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    They are acting like their drug is being taken away from them,"
    -------------------------------------------------–
    ...And you are CLEARLY off of your meds for even uttering something like this while aspiring to run for President.

    Go back to the sanatorium and tell them to DOUBLE your dosage, what they've prescribed when they released you is obviously NOT working.

    February 23, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  22. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Join us this Saturday at your state's capitol to rally in support of the Wisconsin union workers.

    February 23, 2011 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Santorum can check his name off of the "I Wanna Be POTUS" list.
    Next!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 23, 2011 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  24. Dean

    Hey, Wisconsin teachers...if you want to keep your jobs, shut up and get back to work. If not, just shut up and let someone more qualified have your job. Thanks.

    February 23, 2011 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  25. Vic of New York

    The only "narcotic" I'm aware of is the one Republicans have been boosting with...

    February 23, 2011 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
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