Santorum: Gingrich has 'false compassion'
December 6th, 2011
05:37 PM ET
3 years ago

Santorum: Gingrich has 'false compassion'

(CNN) – Rick Santorum became the latest GOP presidential candidate to criticize opponent Newt Gingrich over immigration, saying the former House speaker's policies amounted to "false compassion."

"I understand Congressman Gingrich saying, 'Well, you know, people have been here and they've been good citizens and paying taxes.' Yeah, under somebody else's Social Security number because you stole it," Santorum said Tuesday to a group of supporters in Spencer, Iowa.

Gingrich took heat from the right last month over his position, which favors granting legal status to certain longtime illegal immigrants now well-assimilated into society.

But the former Pennsylvania senator said Gingrich was missing the point, arguing that anyone who comes to the United States without proper documentation was continuously breaking the law as long as they live in the country.

"The idea people who are here 20 or 25 years and came here illegally only committed one illegal act, well, you can't be here and commit one illegal act because almost everything you're doing while you're here is doing things against the law," Santorum said, claiming that illegal immigrants frequently use fake drivers licenses and Social Security numbers.

While Gingrich calls his approach "humane," saying it avoids breaking up families and communities, Santorum said families are broken up all the time when they break the law, using criminals who go to jail as an example.

Instead, he pointed to his grandfather who he said came to the country in 1925, spending five years away from his family in Italy while he earned his citizenship.

"So we say, we should let that happen. We shouldn't break up families. We should let them all come," Santorum said. "This is false compassion."

Gingrich has repeatedly stood by his position, denying any attacks thrown his way calling him a supporter of amnesty. He also said he would enforce "very, very stiff economic policies" for employers who hire workers without legal documentation.

Santorum's remarks Tuesday marked the second day in a row that he's taken aim at Gingrich, who's now topping the GOP field in major national polls.

On Monday, Santorum said to a group of reporters in Iowa that Gingrich took too much credit in his role leading that Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in 1994, when Gingrich became speaker.

"If you go back in 1994, the real issue was corruption in Washington and the real reason for that was because Rick Santorum and (Iowa Rep.) Jim Nussle and several others stood up and exposed the rampant corruption going on in Congress," Santorum said. "And that was more of the reason for the 1994 election win for Republicans than anything else."

– CNN's Chris Welch contributed to this report.

Also see:

Axelrod: Gingrich to blame for Washington gridlock

Romney's stand on payroll tax has Dems crying 'flip-flop'

Gingrich ready for 'early Christmas gift' from Pelosi

Cain says no endorsement soon


Filed under: Immigration • Iowa • Newt Gingrich • Rick Santorum
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Emma

    I wish this guy would get out of the race. He is an angry, negative man; I can't stand listening to him in the debates. He and Bachmann need to go. All they are doing at this point is providing material for Obama's attack ads in the general election. Go home Santorum!!!

    December 6, 2011 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  2. Larry L

    What would make anybody thing GFingrich has compassion of any sort? Do away with child labor laws because black children never get to see anybody work? What would this career weasel know about the poor?

    December 6, 2011 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  3. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    Sticky wicket!

    December 6, 2011 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    from the article:
    "I understand Congressman Gingrich saying, 'Well, you know, people have been here and they've been good citizens and paying taxes.' Yeah, under somebody else's Social Security number because you stole it," Santorum said Tuesday to a group of supporters in Spencer, Iowa.
    -----------
    He almost hit the mark. He's correct to question how can illegals pay taxes without a stolen SSN, but he's wrong to assume that they in fact do pay taxes. They simply can simply claim a high number of dependents, and get most all of their money from their paychecks, or work off the books entirely.

    December 6, 2011 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  5. GI Joe

    It's not false compassion - the man is such a Marxist that he has no feelings for anyone, unless they can help him or put money in HIS pocket. He's Marxist. And we don't need that. Dehumanizes everyone at every chance.

    December 6, 2011 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  6. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I think you are being a little hypocritical Ricky. You are a true conservative if you care little about Americans, and Rick meets and exceeds the true conservative test.

    December 6, 2011 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    Desperation attacks are seen for what they are.

    December 6, 2011 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  8. Dave

    For the first time, Santorum is right. Newt doesn't give a hoot about anyone but himself and he just wants power. He actually fits into the Republican mold very well!

    December 6, 2011 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  9. diridi

    GOP race is filled with bunch of Clowns....Obama2012.

    December 6, 2011 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  10. Zeph

    This guy has no clue about illegal status!! Why don't you shut your trap?!!! I have been in this country illegally for almost 10 years. I have a LEGAL SSN and a LEGAL DR, both in my name. I walked into the SS office and applied for my SSN with ALL LEGALLY obtained documentation (my passport, COB, etc). I pay taxes and i work under my SSN. And quess what? I did not come here illegally. I did not jump the wall/fence. i went to college and paid just like everyone else, except, my grades were better than most American kids. There are millions like me with all "legal documentation" but out of status...AKA illegal. The only thing is that we can't leave the country, otherwise we won't be able to get back here. Some of these right wingers do not even understand their own system and how it works...and what it means to be illegal in this country. Every time they hear illegal, they see someone jumping over a fence. Pathetic!!!!

    December 6, 2011 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  11. ThinkAgain

    When are these Republican yahoos going to start calling out all the American employers who have hired illegals, creating the job market that illegals come here for? Calling out all the American employers who have no qualms laying off Americans making living wages and obviously prefer breaking law by hiring illegals and paying them dirt wages so they can pad their profits?

    Here's an example: Wal-Mart. In March 2005, it was fined $11 million for having hundreds of illegal immigrants nationwide cleaning their stores. Wal-Mart, owned by the Walton family, one of the richest families in the world, right up their with the Koch brothers. Wal-Mart, a company with $285 billion in annual sales. Wal-Mart, staunch supporter and multi-million-dollar contributor to the Republican Party.

    Guess that last sentence explains why the Santorum, Gingrich and all the other Republican yahoos aren't calling them out for their illegal behavior.

    December 6, 2011 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  12. Slightly Left of Center

    'Well, you know, people have been here and they've been good citizens and paying taxes.' Yeah, under somebody else's Social Security number because you stole it," Santorum said...

    What? A college student asked Santorum a question, and Ricky tried to smack him down for not providing rock-solid supporting details and statistics. So where is his proof on stolen SS numbers?

    December 6, 2011 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  13. Pete/Ark

    If Santorum can tell me how to get an illegal to put extra money into my SS account he's got my primary vote.

    December 6, 2011 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  14. marc in california

    Santorum says Gingrich has 'false compassion'? Hello!! He has ZERO compassion!! He basically hates anybody that isn't a right-wing nut bag!

    December 6, 2011 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  15. SoSad

    Santatrouim, your so wrong, but your entitled to your opinion. Please drop out now, ok. Don't forget to tell BTO, to drop out also, your wasting our time.

    December 6, 2011 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  16. Gfoos

    Rick Santorum is an odd guy. He seems very angry to be such a self-proclaimed Christian. I hope he finds happiness.

    December 6, 2011 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |