February 6th, 2012
07:03 PM ET
3 years ago

Santorum defends earmarks amid attacks from Romney

(CNN) - Rick Santorum, under attack from Mitt Romney's campaign for his history of securing earmarks during his time in the Senate, said Monday his record was similar to many other conservative politicians.

"Jim DeMint, a favorite of the tea party, supported earmarks at the same time I did," Santorum said on CNN's "John King USA."

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"I've now opposed earmarks because they were abused. But during the time I was supporting them, so was Jim DeMint and just about every other member of Congress. It was abused and should be banned. I'm taking the position of banning them."

Romney's campaign launched an operation Monday painting Santorum as a flagrant abuser of earmarks. The Romney campaign sent opposition research to reporters and held a conference call with former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Romney supporter who dropped his own bid for president this summer.

Santorum said on CNN that Romney also supported earmarks before Republicans collectively shunned the practice.

"At the time I was supporting them, so was Gov. Romney and just about everybody else," Santorum said. "And you know, that was something that I think we all saw the error of our ways and have changed our position."

Santorum said Romney was proving to be a weak candidate that conservatives couldn't support.

"I think people are beginning to realize that the contrast between Obama and Romney is not going to work for us, and that we need somebody who can make Barack Obama the issue in the campaign, not the irresponsible policies of our nominee," Santorum said.

Looking to Tuesday's voting contests in Missouri, Colorado and Minnesota, Santorum said he didn't need to win in order to have a strong showing.

"You know, winning would be great. But doing well and showing that we're strong, we still have a strong base of support out there, is going to be good enough for us," Santorum said.

Also see:

Nevada runners up, Paul and Santorum vow to continue campaigns

Obama: Israel undecided on attack against Iran

Gingrich outlines a Southern revival strategy

Ohio newspaper endorses Romney


Filed under: 2012 • Rick Santorum • TV-John King U.S.A.
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Hahahahahaha

    Since when has a republican ever been a conservative? NEVER!!!!!!!!!! Hahahahahahahahahaha

    February 6, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  2. Thomas

    Birth Control comes with education not earmarks.

    February 6, 2012 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  3. ptny

    Pot calling the kettel black aren't you, Rick!

    February 6, 2012 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  4. Nimesh Perera

    More Santorum propping.

    February 6, 2012 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  5. once upon a horse

    Santorum does NOT beat Obama in a head to head matchup and the GOP knows this.....in fact I would welcome that matchup anytime. Ricky is running out of time...Iowa was a fluke win for him but since then his message is not connecting well with the public as a whole less known a majority of the GOP. He never really had me but he totally lost me when he made that ludicious comment about Obama and college education making youth snobs....and the "blah" people remark didn't sway me either.

    February 6, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  6. FRANK - LAS VEGAS

    So in other words, when Santorum did earmarks it was perfectly alright, now that he got booted out of the Senate by the voters he now claims earmarks are evil. Does the word HYPOCRITE come to mind or maybe LIAR? This is typical GOP doubletalk. Add this to the rest of Santorum far right wing ideas which was another reason the people voted him out of office and anyone can easily see why this man belongs nowhere close to the White House.

    February 6, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  7. say it ain't so

    In his effort to keep his seat, he bribed the taxpayers by bragging about the money he snuck into the state by getting earmarks buried in important bills. He is proud of how he tricked the american public into paying for pet projects in PA. Well it didn't win him re-election, so now he is against them. I suppose since Nixon bugged rooms to get information, it is ok for Santorum to do it now... well you know... just do it until you are caught and then say you were just following what other republican leaders did.

    February 6, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  8. steve

    "I've now opposed earmarks because they were abused. But during the time I was supporting them, so was Jim DeMint and just about every other member of Congress. It was abused and should be banned. I'm taking the position of banning them."
    -–
    Are these people insane? No, they are "fiscal conservatives" only during democratic administrations and act like pigs at the trough during republican ones . But we are definetly insane for electing these hypocrites to public office and not holding them accountable. My apology to pigs, the more noble animal of the two.

    February 6, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  9. Matt

    So Rick is a flip flopped now. This blows a huge hole in Rick's argument that Mitt won't repeal Obamacare. In fact why would Rick support right to work at the fed level, why would he support no earmarks, he clearly has supported the wrong side of this in the past...lol. Rick doesn't like his own talking points being used against him I guess.

    February 6, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  10. CoJo

    If I recall correctly, only John McCain denounced earmark spending during the last presidential election. Where was Santorum?????

    February 6, 2012 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  11. Larry in Houston

    WoW !! here we go again – The one who's got all his "pointers" & "tips" from the senile senator, that was in the wheel chair, during obama's inaugural. I guess "the sanitarium" knows, since he's from the state above the "King of the ear marks" senator who finally died. ( manchin would have to live 20 life times, and he would never Ever come close)

    February 6, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  12. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I don't think that either Santorum or Romney can really stand up to Obama because they haven't really been forth coming with ideas that would really do much.

    February 6, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  13. Steven Colo

    I did it because everyone else was doing it. Real presidential there, Rick. What a leader.

    February 6, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  14. steve

    "just about everybody supported earmarks back then"... not ron paul. never ever voted for and earmark. ron paul is the most incorruptible politician there is. you cant deny it.

    February 6, 2012 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  15. J.V.Hodgson

    CNN if you wanna highlight Santorums past on Earmarks you have to take up the same question with all candidates.
    Choosing one to hit with a baseball bat serves no valid political purpose, or should I say is that reporting really "BALANCED"!!?
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    February 7, 2012 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  16. s

    so if I stole $1000.00 and said is was ok, because everyone else was doing it, maybe you can follow them to the bridge also.

    February 7, 2012 03:54 am at 3:54 am |
  17. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Ricky is running out of money and steam. He's so desperate that he brought up Snooki Palin's death panels lie. Goldwater Gingrich has less money than Ricky. Obama/Biden 2012!

    February 7, 2012 06:06 am at 6:06 am |
  18. Marry

    So, Santorum is flip-flopping too. Ah, these “conservatives”! What did they do, what do they mean, what do they want, what will they do? They hide it behind a screen of propaganda and deception and have no intention to tell you until after the GE! You only know one thing for sure; if you do not belong to the 1% you will not like it!

    February 7, 2012 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  19. scorpdude

    And what did you get out of it Rick? Nothing??? Hahahahaha.....sleaze-ball. you're still part of the DC mess and you're a loser. Lord I'll bet the GOP was wishing that Pawlenty or Daniels was bearing their standard instead of the likes of what's left in the field right now.

    February 7, 2012 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  20. Please Grow Up

    "Everybody else did it, so I did it, too."

    This argument/justification is a fallacy.

    February 7, 2012 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  21. Willie Floyd

    If you're comparing yourself to "Jim Demented", that's not a good thing!!

    February 7, 2012 07:41 am at 7:41 am |