Santorum: Obama dividing country to win election
December 22nd, 2011
03:01 AM ET
3 years ago

Santorum: Obama dividing country to win election

Fairfield, Iowa (CNN) - Fresh off the heels of a coveted endorsement, Republican Rick Santorum displaying some newfound confidence Wednesday as he accused President Barack Obama of playing "Chicago politics" and dividing the country to win an upcoming election.

The President has been "painting a picture" over the last six months of an "us vs. them" narrative, Santorum said.

"Rich vs. poor," he went on. " It is classic class warfare. It's dividing.  It's a very divisive message."

The former Pennsylvania senator said the reason Congress hasn't gotten anything done is because the President is "trying to pit one group against another."

"It's pathetic.  It is beneath the dignity of the president."

Santorum's comments were in response to an audience member at a town hall meeting of about 60 caucus-goers in rural Fairfield, Iowa. The question was in regard to what the executive's role is when the legislative side isn't getting anything accomplished.

Also in his answer, Santorum said he believes what the country needs in times of gridlock is a leader who can rise above the blame game and who doesn't resort to calling people out by name.

He said he admired George W. Bush for his ability to take the high road in instances such as these.

Describing Obama's style, Santorum said "he is the most divisive, partisan, he'll pick anybody who says anything against him – you talk about thin skin, boom.  He's just right out there, and he'll just go right back at that person."

"That's not what a president does. You're above that. You're the leader of the country. You don't get involved in those things. You lead."

He continued with passion.

"But he's not interested in leading.  He's interested in winning.  He's interested in winning a political game.  Chicago politics.  And it's nasty.  And it's divisive.  And it is the reason we're not getting anything done. "

"All he's done is focus on damning Republicans by name, and running an election campaign instead of leading this country. "

Santorum said Obama has "proposed no ideas" except for "just tax the rich."

"It's not about taxing the rich to solve the problem.  It's about taxing the rich so you can pit the rich against the majority of Americans, so he can get their votes."

"This is who the president is folks.  It's not hope and change.  It's just radical change."

Wednesday was the candidate's last day of town hall meetings in Iowa until after the holiday break. He travels back to Pennsylvania Thursday afternoon for a couple of days of rest before the final sprint to the caucus finish line on January 3.


Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • President Obama • Rick Santorum
soundoff (106 Responses)
  1. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Aww.. Poor Ricky. Has to pay shakedown money to get an endorsement and is now projecting again... Stop running for president and go get some professional help.

    December 22, 2011 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  2. amanda

    Completely agree. 3 years and President Obama has failed to lead. Two of those years with a Democratic controlled Congress.

    Yes we can-No we didn't.

    December 22, 2011 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  3. gg

    if jesus with his beard and robe was to walk up to him and his friends, he would be in gitmo with in a hour

    December 22, 2011 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  4. Vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    study after study has shown the income gap growing wider and wider in our nation. The Middle Class is either stuck getting little to no raises in income and the poverty level rising. BUT of course Santorum and the GOP continue to want to ignore this. Anmd when the president brings it up they cry CLASS WARFARE. It is goos somebody is willing to tell the American people the truth. Only the FoxNews follwers who are misinformed on a regular basis want to continue to deny it.

    December 22, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  5. master_molder

    it IS "us vs them". GOP has had this impression that nobody in this country supports obama, nobody voted for this dictator, and they're here to save us from him. more than half of US voted for him, the GOP has been spitting this "us vs him" idea since the first day he took office! crazy talk Santorum!

    December 22, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  6. John

    You know what? President Obama spent the first 2 and a half years of his presidency trying to play nice. He attempted to compromise on many issues. All he has ever received from the republicans is NO. It does not matter which side he is on or what he gives in return. TO BLAME OBAMA FOR DIVIDING THE COUNTRY IS WRONG! This current issue we are having over the payroll tax exemption is a prime example. This is a republican issue turned upside down. This is something they would normally be all over and because the president supports it the republicans are against it.

    December 22, 2011 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  7. mctampa

    the only problem here Rick is that its true. The top 1% are being protected by the republicans who want all the cuts to come from programs that benefit the middle class and the poor. The rich are not paying their fair share of taxes and you and the other republicans continue to protect your benefactors at our expense, hence your low polll numbers.
    GET IT??

    December 22, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  8. Mr. Moderate

    Thin skin??? I cannot recall a president who has been the subject of such name calling and innuendo (did you see Fox's made up story about their "holiday" card?) and yet he brushes it off. And if you criticize him for the blame game, what about your side trying to affix blame for our ills on public unions (not that I am a fan) yet letting the Wall Street banker who truly created this mess off scott free since they are "job creators".

    December 22, 2011 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  9. Michael Q

    As if the Republican actions since the election of Obama hasn't divided the nation, eh?

    December 22, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  10. str8Vision

    He's right, I saw that on Faux news too. The Dem's are at fault cause they keep bringing things up for vote that if passed would help Americans and make them look good. Of course the Republican's are going to obstruct passage even if they agree with the bill. The payroll tax extention is a prime example. The republican's initially created that exemption so why would they want to see their ideology continue? LoL

    December 22, 2011 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  11. J

    Isn't Santorum doing exactly what he claims Obama is doing? Calling people out by name?

    December 22, 2011 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  12. William Gordon

    This Guys needs to quit
    The level of disrespect that has been laid on this president is historical.
    GOP has opposed anything the president is for. Then they turn around and say work with me.
    That is beyond human behavior.

    December 22, 2011 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  13. Sam.DCS

    Has former Senator forgotten that the GOP stated after Obama was sworn in that their whole goal is to deny him the opportunity to be re-elected. Meaning, blocking any and ALL efforts from this President to help the Country's economy situation. It is funny that, House Republicans are calling on the President to show leadership by asking the Senate to come back. Come back!! Come back for what? The Senate did theirs, but the House couldn't, thanks to the Tea Party branch of the Republicans.
    If Santorum is really a patriotic American, he should have been able to see whom is dividing whom here and stop pointing finger at the President.

    December 22, 2011 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  14. Anonymous

    look who's talking....

    December 22, 2011 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  15. gt

    dont care much for rick ... but he is right on .. obama pits american against american... great leader...not...

    December 22, 2011 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Has anyone noticed that liberals speak about the undeniable *economic* divisions in this country, but conservatives turn the dial a little bit and argue as if the discussion is about *social* divisions?

    December 22, 2011 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  17. Just Saying

    For Santorum, or any of the radical right-wing lunatics, to criticize President Obama for being devisive is the height of hypocracy. It is always "us" (meaning good, God-fearing, truth-ignoring Christian Americans) vs. "them" (meaning gays, people of different faiths or, even worse, atheists, people with education, people capable of rational thought, etc.) with the radical right. Fortunately, Santorum has been recognized for the bigoted, intolerant fool that he is and he won't win the nomination, much less the election. Just Saying...

    December 22, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  18. RWB1956

    And the Republican candidates never blame President Obama for anything?

    December 22, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  19. ART

    Does this man have his head up his you know what or what, its time to just bow out gracefully

    December 22, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  20. Citizen

    Republicans have vowed to make Obama a one term President and are assiduously working towards that end. I have no problem with that, but hold we the people, as ransom for promoting Republican ideology is totally unacceptable. GOP is solely responsible for the Congressional gridlock. When the President says the truth you are yelping class warfare. Sir, it is you who is stoking the flames of class warfare.
    You have shown a pattern of beating on Democratic Presidents based on flimsy allegations. Do you recall when you were thumping the lectern along with Congressman Gingrich and Congressman Barr during the motion to impeach President Clinton? And do you recall that both Congressmen Gingrich and Barr were having extramarital affairs when beating upon President Clinton. I have news for you, we have not forgotten.
    Sir, you embody the shameless hypocrisy, an essential pre-requisite to be a Republican leader. Even my Republican friends from Pennsylvania (fortunately they are educated) cringe at the mention of your name.

    December 22, 2011 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  21. GOP = Greed Over People

    "The President has been "painting a picture" over the last six months of an "us vs. them" narrative, Santorum said."

    How about the last 3 years in which the GOP has said they are "taking back OUR White House"?

    That is not exactly an example of unity for our country.

    Hypocrisy, thy name is indeed GOP.

    December 22, 2011 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  22. RINO Bil

    Yeah Rick, and the idea of dividing the country never entered into your head or any of the other Republican Tea Party candidates, except for Huntsman, ... I wasn't born yesterday and resent the fact that you believe that I am that stupid. My observation is that Obama has gone far more out of his way (albeit ineffectively) to work with others than almost all of the Republican Tea Party House or Senate members.

    December 22, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  23. DJ in Texas

    Please Mr. Santorum – Let's see the GOP take on things – If your poor, it's your own fault, send ALL illegal immagrants back, no matter what. No rights for gay Americans, bashing Muslims............shall I go on? The GOP always says they want gov't out of our lives, gov't can't create jobs, but they are all trying to get the top GOVERNMENT job...lol. They want a constitutional amendment defining marriage (gov't intrusion). They want Roe v. Wade overturned (gov't intrusion). Niether one of those issues have anything to do with mine our anyone's elses lives. Now he wants to blame Obama for Congress' failure. The GOP fought so hard for the Bush tax cuts, which disproportionately helps the wealthy, but you can't agree on a tax cut that helps the middle class. But you call Obama dividing................Trya again.

    December 22, 2011 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  24. Texas Doc

    Sorry Rick, that's what you guys do. How's that working out for you? Face it America hates what you are selling.

    December 22, 2011 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  25. Josylad

    Please can someone tell this Santorum guy to check his fact and dont just say anything to win the appeal of the dumb and clueless. I mean is the truth subjective?

    December 22, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
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