Santorum: McCain's the insider
January 6th, 2012
04:46 PM ET
2 years ago

Santorum: McCain's the insider

(CNN) – Rick Santorum threw John McCain's "insider" charge back at the Arizona senator Friday, saying McCain was more of a Washington animal than he had ever been.

"I think it's sort of funny that John McCain has served in the Senate longer than I did and he's calling me an insider," Santorum said in an interview with CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger. "John McCain was in the Senate a lot longer than I was and you look at my record, you know, I was a big reformer in the House and the Senate. Gang of Seven and what we did in the Senate with just reforming the Senate itself and putting term limits in place. I mean, term limits is a big reform."

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Santorum's website heralds the former Pennsylvania senator's involvement in instituting "term limits for Senate leaders when it was a member of his own Party who stopped the passage of the Balanced Budget Amendment."

On Thursday McCain took aim at Santorum for his record of securing earmarks for Pennsylvania during his tenure in the Senate. McCain was campaigning for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who he endorsed Wednesday.

"Earmark spending is the gateway to corruption, and that was practiced when Republicans were in the majority," McCain said at an event in South Carolina.

"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 added.

As for the claims he cashed in after leaving Congress by taking high-paying consulting jobs, Santorum said he was simply trying to make a living.

"I went to work after I left the Senate to provide for my family," Santorum said. He clarified he served as a board member at health care firm, not as a consultant.

Also see:

Huntsman hits Romney ahead of N.H. primary

Boston Globe backs Huntsman

FIRST ON CNN: Santorum to make large ad buy in South Carolina

Santorum tangles with Gingrich, same-sex marriage supporters

McCain courting former South Carolina backers for Romney


Filed under: 2012 • John McCain • Rick Santorum
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. madmaninthemiddle

    Having McCain attack Santorum only helps Santorum confirm his bona fides as a conservative. Many TP conservatives believe Republicans lost in 08 because McCain was too moderate. McCain endorsing Romney just helps to re-inforce for them that they need a "true conservative" and not Romney whom they also view as too moderate.

    I believe that the opposite is true. in 08 McCain had the nomination wrapped up months before Obama and Clinton finished slugging it out. Had he used that time to position himself as a moderate he would have won more independents. Instead, he had to stay hard to the right all the way through the general election, because the right wing base of the party didn't trust him.

    Romney has the best shot at beating Obama, but he also has the disadvantage of having to fight off attacks from the right, and may not be able to pivot to the center soon enough. That's one big reason why he's hoping to wrap the nomination up early (another one being money ...)

    January 6, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  2. Indy

    John McCain has been unsuccessfully running against earmarks for what seems like 100 years, same old crap from Bomb Bomb Iran McCain and if he thinks that is going to help Mitt Romney win the election he really is stuck in the past. Think of something new or "That One" will have an easy re election.

    January 6, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  3. Lula in CA

    Wierd how much racism flavors the right-wing comments on this post. Calling our duly elected (by a big majorty) president "that one" is just rude, and reflects the lack of courtesy, imagination, and brains that now infect the so called conservatives of this country.

    January 6, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  4. ThinkAgain

    They're ALL insiders, in that they are all so far up Karl Rove's and the Koch brothers' fannies that they wouldn't find daylight if they searched for YEARS.

    January 6, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  5. Larry in Houston

    He's called Santorum an Insider because of all the "earmarks" and his ties to Arlen Specter, which changed his politics.
    Santorum also wears his religious views on his sleeve, which won't make it, when he goes up against the other states, in their primaries. He won't make it past S.C. Romney is the most moderate of them all. They are all worthless. I wish Ron Paul can get past Florida, and actually make it, because I would Vote for him. Otherwise, I guess I will have to reluctantly Vote for Obama, IF Romney or Paul doesn't get the Nod.

    January 6, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  6. Kwesoe

    Let's remember that John McCain gave us Sarah Palin and the curse is still on us. Now, he's trying to give us another curse...Mittens. Be care what you wish for!

    January 6, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  7. LacrosseMom(real one)

    Santorum is most passionate about his ultra-conservative Catholic beliefs. He would take away the freedom of women to choose, to use birth control.

    You can not stand for FREEDOM and want to take freedoms away from others!

    You can not stand for FREEDOM and want to deny Gay Americans the freedom to marry!

    I am a Catholic, a registered Independent that believes that Santorum is not only wrong for America, he is out of touch and he is dangerous!

    January 6, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  8. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    Gee, ya think, Rick?!? McSenile is THE favorite guest on the Sunday morning manure fests. As a rule, he'll (and his cronies) get the majority of the time and the GOBP is generally given free rein to spout propaganda.

    January 6, 2012 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  9. LacrosseMom(real one)

    @Madmaninthemiddle: Sorry, but none of the GOP candidates can beat Pres. Obama. Least of all Romney! There is an obvious enthusiasm problem for the GOP! The dismal turn out for the Iowa primary speaks volumes. The turn out of GOP, was a mere 5.4%!

    PS. the Evangelicals and other religious conservatives won't vote for a Mormon.

    January 6, 2012 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  10. Ricardo

    If Rick Santorum needs McCain to shut up, he got to say sorry to McCain for endorsing Mitt Romney in 2008. I think that's the main problem McCain has with him. Anyway both r idiot.

    January 6, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    Here's what ya do Captain Frothy....reach up to that little string next to the bed and pull it to call the nurse so you can tell her you think your meds are having a funny interaction.

    January 6, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  12. Alger Dave

    Santorum has a real shot at the general election. Why? Because while he's a social conservative, he's pretty moderate on a lot of other issues. He's not crazy, like Ron Paul, and he's not elite, like Romney. Does Romney know any poor or working class people? I doubt it. Obama will paint Romney with a 'Wall Street' brush in the general election and kill him with it. People hate Wall Street and Romney smells of the place a mile off – he's a billionaire for goodness sakes! Obama can't do that with Santorum, as he's not connected to Wall Street. Santorum has a demonstrated record of care for the poor, and of reasonable economic policies. He's conservative but has reached across party lines to get the job done too. Romney probably has Santorum on 'management credentials' but it's likely that by the fall, the economy will be on the upswing anyway and people will be less concerned about economic issues than they are today. In many ways, Santorum is a better match against Obama because Santorum is a more likeable candidate than Romney (personally) and will take more voters in the middle due to this fact. Romney will probably off-put a lot of folks due to his big business ties and stiffness. Voters rarely vote for someone they don't personally like and Romney is hard to warm up to. Many voters are simply looking for an alternative to Obama at this point, so the bar will be 'low' if the Republicans can field someone people genuinely think cares about them. That feeling is hard to get from billionaire Romney. Most of Obama's 'core' support is gone as he's now got a 'record' (which he didn't have in 2008, having abstained from almost every Senate vote in his first few years – doing his job as usual), and that record isn't to the exact liking of many liberals, which has drained his support. You don't see folks saying 'yes we can' anymore because he hasn't given them exactly what they wanted and if liberals don't get exactly what they want, they lose their drive quickly. Republicans don't need to field a genius, just someone voters like. Santorum beats Romney on that score.

    January 6, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  13. Me in MN

    Lula in CA

    Lula - Wierd how much racism flavors the right-wing comments on this post. Calling our duly elected (by a big majorty) president "that one" is just rude, and reflects the lack of courtesy, imagination, and brains that now infect the so called conservatives of this country.--

    We still reference this moment in the debates in our house. It was just such a sour, ridiculous thing to say so now it's our way of mocking our spouse. Which spouse? You know– that one.

    January 6, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  14. Lula in CA

    Funny how "Cahtolic" Santorum waxes hysterical about women and their right to have some privacy in their decisions, but I haven't heard him say a word about child-molesting male priests who have ruined the lives of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of those who practice the same brand of "Christianity." Bunch of women haters, these clowns. I wish the media would do something meaningful, like point out the craziness of this kind of thinking.

    January 6, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  15. Stephen in VA

    Keep slammin' each other, (R)s. It's all being recorded by the DNC, ready to use against whichever clown comes out on top.

    January 6, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  16. Dixie AZ

    McCain is against earmarks for our state, but he and his boyfriend Graham spend plenty of federal dollars touring the world. They visited Lybia during the last of the uprising. What were they doing there?

    January 6, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  17. Angy

    mcsame is a loser just like you. look who he picked as his vp choice in 2008.

    January 6, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  18. Dixie AZ

    Santorum loves earmarks. The money that went to PA was to buy a very lucrative job for himself. Santorum knows most of the Washington lobbyists by their first names.

    January 6, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  19. Larry L

    I think it's funny that Santorum and McCain are trading insults. Romney's attack dog may be a little too senile for the job. Maybe they could get Palin to chime in... that's been real effective in the past...

    January 6, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  20. T'sah From Virginia

    @LacrosseMom(real one) – you got it right – you can't take FREEDOM away and install FREEDOM at the same time. That's taking you back to when there was NO FREEDOM!!!

    Obama 2012!!

    January 6, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  21. RWB1956

    Nope. No more Reublicans until they regain their sanity. This tea party crap has been going on too long. Whatever the tea party was when it started, it ain't that now. Like a republican friend told me, these movements usually get corrupted. Sad to see Republicans fighting among themselves about who is more conservative and all that. Hate, fear, bigotry, intolerance day after day. And these people don't even know they are only puppets. And Rick, keep your "faith" to yourself. For once i would like hear one of these guys have a real plan(ain't gonna happen). All I ever hear are tax plans that benefit the very wealthy and hurt the poor and middle class.

    January 6, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  22. GI Joe

    Santorum wants to dictate HIS religious beliefs on us. I say NO.

    January 6, 2012 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |