McCain takes aim at Santorum in South Carolina
January 5th, 2012
05:32 PM ET
2 years ago

McCain takes aim at Santorum in South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina (CNN) - Mitt Romney's presidential campaign took its anti-earmark crusade against Rick Santorum to South Carolina on Thursday, with Romney-backer John McCain leading the charge.

The newly ascendant Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, has come under fire from his GOP foes for his unapologetic defense of the earmarking process, which he says is simply a power granted to Congress under the Constitution.

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McCain, a fierce and longtime opponent of "pork-barrel spending," joined Romney for a rally in Charleston and set about attacking Santorum's record of securing earmarks.

Romney was silent on the matter, and let McCain do the talking.

"Earmark spending is the gateway to corruption, and that was practiced when Republicans were in the majority," McCain said, flanked by Romney and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Romney's leading backer in the Palmetto State.

"Sen. Santorum and I have a strong disagreement, a strong disagreement that he believed that earmarks and pork barrel projects were good for America," he said.

McCain called earmarks "wrong for America" and said that South Carolina's two senators, Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham, agree.

He praised Romney for reducing spending as governor of Massachusetts.

Romney and McCain have not always agreed on the matter of earmarks.

In 2002, McCain told CBS News that millions of dollars being allotted to the Salt Lake City Olympics "a rip-off of the taxpayers" and a "national disgrace."

McCain demanded a federal investigation into money that was being used to build freeways, a light rail system and procure public art.

Romney was the chairman of those Olympic Games and defended the use of federal money.

"What should the role of the federal government be with regards to the Olympics?" Romney told CBS. "Should it provide the security? Should it provide the highways and bridges necessary to get people to venues? In my view, the answer is, unequivocally, yes."

Also see:

DNC highlights old Romney-McCain tension

Gingrich hones message in New Hampshire

Santorum raises more than $1 million in one night

Huntsman to air first TV spot

Perry will 'reset the campaign' in South Carolina, adviser says


Filed under: 2012 • John McCain • Rick Santorum • South Carolina
soundoff (135 Responses)
  1. Wise1Speak

    THE ENEMY OF MINE ENEMY IS MY FRIEND
    John McCain and Mitt Romney are long time enemies. So what would bring these enemies together? No – – not to do battle with Rick Santorum. McCain joined forces with arch-enemy Romney to seek revenge against his ‘ultra-enemy’ President Obama.

    McCain has hated on Obama ever since he became an Illinois Senator. Senator Obama crushed Senator McCain in the historic 2008 Presidential Election and the grouchy, crabby, quick-tempered McCain has been left to pick up the pieces ever since. Hollywood could not write a better script.

    January 6, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  2. Discernment

    McCAIN DID WHAT?!?
    So the cranky and erratic John McCain is backing Mitt Romney; the same Romney whose name McCain cursed with a vile temper? The same McCain that brought us the "Sarah Palin Nightmare Freak" show who came close to being a world leader with her finger on the nukes.

    Wow! Revenge makes strange bedfellows. McCain wants revenge against President Obama for his disgraceful defeat in 2008. And Romney is that ticket for McCain to get even with President Obama.

    January 6, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  3. scott in atlantic beach

    Oh, John. It's time to brush your teeth and get into bed!

    January 6, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. mfx3

    From runner-up to W's GOP nomination to a lackluster-at-best nominee defeated by Obama, now a political hitman for Romney. John McCain's life is filled with not-quite-good-enough. Oh well, always a bridesmaid.

    January 6, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. Brandy

    Why in the world would Mccain support Romney and want to get veterans to support Romney when he wasnt in the military. He went to France with Mormon Church.

    January 6, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  6. Bjab.

    Ummm...what are all of you critics of a Christian afraid of anyway? This country was founded on religious principals so that we could live and pray freely. I would always vote for someone who has good moral values...not a forked tongue, not a greed monger.

    January 6, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  7. ty

    any man who picked ms palin as a running mate looses ALL credibility. period

    January 6, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  8. Bjab.

    Mitchell Mitchell Mitchell...Obama has a goodness for spending more money than we can recover from by the time my grandkids grow...He has a goodness for taking vacations...a goodness for messing up this country....a goodness for being a control freak and doubletalk. Check Webster's definition of goodness....I don't see self serving, foolish, controller or doubletalker listed there.

    January 6, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  9. uche

    This guy is too old to appear in public. And I get Alzheimer is now setting in since he forgot who he was campaigning for in South Carolina

    January 6, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  10. Raymond A. Foss

    Earmarks – What about the Big Dig in Massachusetts? Wasn't Governor Romney involved?

    January 6, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
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