Santorum: Obama dividing country to win election
December 22nd, 2011
03:01 AM ET
2 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. roadwarrior

    this man is a descrace to this county hes gone out of his way to do as much damage to this great land of ours as humanly posseble he should be branded as a trator i just hope when it comes time for his re election justice will be done and he will be thrown out of the white on his behind mr president you are truely a discrace and shall surely go down as the worst president in history

    December 22, 2011 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  2. a in austin

    So out of touch with reality Rick....gues that is why you are still polling at the bottom.

    December 22, 2011 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  3. MarineVet

    Wow. Santorum got all the Fox News talking points in there that he could. Even managed to express his admiration for George W. Bush's ability to "take the high road" in instances like these.

    Next.

    December 22, 2011 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  4. Karl Jonas

    But Santorum's "man on dog" comment about gays wasn't divisive. Nah... he's a uniter not a divider!

    December 22, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  5. 2cents4free

    Who the heck is this bozo? I have heard this crap from famous people like Gingrich, Mittens,Bachman, Palin, Joe the plumber etc Sounds like any right wing-nut poster on here.

    December 22, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  6. Jonathan

    HAHAHAHA a Republican talking about Dividing the Country!!! Hahahaha, I seen it all!

    December 22, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  7. Todd Schaefer

    This stuff cracks me up. First, to imply that this is the first incumbent president to use such tactics is ludicrous. Second, you had a preceeding president, whose "Bush Doctrine" not only split the country apart, it pitted the US vs. any country that didn't fully support our military endeavors. His doctrine is the definition of a "if you're not with us, you're against us" mentality. Why do you think international favorability of the US was at an all-time low during his presidency.

    December 22, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  8. sonny chapman

    Mr. Sanatorium, you need to read the original book on Divide & Conquer politics. It was written by Richard Nixon in 1968. It was called his "Southern Strategy". It involved veiled, coded, racist messages appealing to White Southern Democrats. It was the the beginning of the fulfillment LBJ's prophecy that his signing of the Civil Rights Act & Voting Rights Act a few years earlier would result in the ultimate doom of the Democratic Party in the South. Lee Atwater used the strategy quite well, before he denounced it on his death bed, culminating w/the Willie Horton/George H.W. Bush "Victory". George W. was an understudy of Atwater & when W. & Karl Rove teamed up in Texas against Ann Richards & then in 2000 & 2004, we had an All Pro performance. So, Mr. Sanatorium, you're a little late in hollering about divisive politics. Besides, the Repubs. could always come over to the side of the 99% rather the 1%.

    December 22, 2011 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  9. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    He thinks he's relevant. Funny, that.

    December 22, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  10. 1crusader

    Nonsense.If the legislative branch(Congress) doesn't do their job, nor act in good faith by deliberately playing games, that's out of any president's control.Also, the president has taken nothing but being trashed and disrespected by the GOP his entire presidency; so at a certain point, enough was enough, and he punched back; to most of the public's approval.Furthermore, he is right to point out the GOP agenda ( the same rhetoric that George W. Bush offered that caused most of our economic problems) as not being the answer now; and their adamant opposition to raising any revenue on top earners, but wanting to bleed the Middle class and seniors as the wrong approach.

    December 22, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  11. sonny chapman

    Isn't it funny how it's always The Rich(I'm sorry, The Job Creators) who holler "Class Warfare" ! Hell, the war's over & the Rich won.

    December 22, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  12. s

    You are a sorry excuse for a man. Bible MORON, go back home you can't even get elected by your own state.maybe you should go back to church and play with the boys in the back room.

    December 22, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  13. Sorensen

    A GOP guy saying Obama is dividing the country! Has he completely lost his mind? Not that there was a lot to lose
    anyway. Besides, nobody in the world (even in Iowa) gives a damn, what he thinks about anything anyway.

    December 22, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  14. ANelson

    John Stewart is so dead on about CNN's dismissil of Ron Paul...unless it is a negative story. Ron Paul is amazing, and tells the truth about how things really are! No smoke and mirrors. I hope this country wakes up!

    December 22, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  15. maggie

    Bunch of malarkey, Santorum. Your own party has failed and Obama finally got smart at your game. Doesn’t matter what you think anyway. You haven’t got a prayer, literally, against your colleagues, let alone Obama.

    December 22, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  16. Sasha

    Classic propaganda: Accuse your enemies of things you're obviously guilty of doing.

    Next he'll blame homophobia on the President as well.

    December 22, 2011 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  17. Theodore

    Santorum gives me the creeps.

    December 22, 2011 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  18. marrissa in nc

    Wow... Didnt know santorum was also on the insan-o sauce too! The president hasnt propsed any ideas except "tax the rich"????? So what do u call the GOP`s most hated "obamacare"? That wasnt an idea? The jobs bill – no ideas there? How about his debt reduction ideas that speaker boehner agreed with till the teathugs demanded gridlock instead of tax reveNues from the rich? Are we all living n the twilight zone??? These nutjobs r the ones that r concerned more with elections than the American people!

    December 22, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  19. Robert

    This from a member of the party of "If gay matters, vote Obama..."

    December 22, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  20. jerry

    obama began dividing the country back long before he got into national politics...thats what his ilk does for power.

    December 22, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  21. roadwarrior

    this president and his administartion is truly a big discrace to this great county of ours

    December 22, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  22. Jeff Todd

    Can you really blame Ron Paul from getting tired of answering a question multiple times and having it asked in a slightly different form again and again? So many of the media seem to think that if they keep badgering a person they will break. I personally believe that Ron Paul answered her question and was truthful. If you don't have any other questions then thank him for his time and move on. BTW I am not a Ron Paul supporter. I believe in having respect for whomever you have asked the courtesy of an interview.

    December 22, 2011 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  23. Donkey Party

    If anyone knows waht pathetic means, it's Santorum. Class warfare was started by the right-wing decades ago, and we the people have had enough.

    December 22, 2011 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  24. Cameron

    Who would know better about divide and conquer? Rick Santorum. The last time he was in office we got The Defense of Marriage Act and Don't Ask, Don't Tell. They made certain that gay people were put in their rightful second-class place with avenues of dissent roadblocked by legislation for this unworthy subgroup of Americans who have no business in the world asking their government for redress of their grievances. This is the Santorum style. When the bashing was done he invented his own grievance that religion was under attack. Isn't that fresh. This attack on Christmas narrative is getting older by the Fox News second.

    December 22, 2011 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  25. frespech

    Besides the only proposals Republicans have is cut taxes for the wealthy and corporations and decrease spending for Social Security and Welfare recipients.
    I prefer to stand on the side of the majority on this one and in case Santorum hasn't noticed 70% of the country favors taxing the rich.
    Spin, Spin,Spin,Rick.

    December 22, 2011 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
1 2 3 4 5