February 8th, 2012
04:13 PM ET
6 years ago

Romney: Rivals are 'Republicans who acted like Democrats'

Atlanta (CNN) - The day after an embarrassing defeat in a trio of early voting states, Mitt Romney painted his GOP rivals as standard bearers of a Republican party that "lost its way" in recent years in Washington.

The GOP candidate, faced with a pair of doggedly persistent opponents in former Sen. Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, pointed to both men's experience in the nation's capital as a disqualifying factor.

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"I think a lot of us feel that the Republican party lost its way in the past," Romney said, making reference to the tea party movement, which he said was fueled by a frustration with over-spending in Washington. "Republicans spent too much money, borrowed too much money, earmarked too much, and Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have to be held accountable."

Romney said he was the only Republican candidate who could satisfy voters' desire for change in the nation's capital, charging his rivals had "acted like Democrats" by spending too many federal dollars.

"In this race, I'm the only guy that hasn't spent time in Washington," he told reporters on an airport tarmac in Atlanta. "And Senator Santorum and Speaker Gingrich, they are the very Republicans who acted like Democrats. And when Republicans act like Democrats, they lose."

The proof, he said, was evident in both men's records. Santorum lost his seat in a double-digit defeat in Pennsylvania, while Romney said Gingrich "had to resign" his post as House speaker.

Romney was speaking to the press corps covering his campaign for the first time in week after his stunning losses to Santorum in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado Tuesday night.

He insisted throughout the "long process" of the GOP primary campaign, he would accumulate enough delegates to clinch the nomination. Asked whether the Tuesday losses meant Romney had not won over the conservative bloc so crucial to his success, Romney said his wins in Florida, Nevada and New Hampshire proved he had conservative support.

The former Massachusetts governor also fought back against charges from both his Democratic and Republican opponents on his stance on mandating emergency contraception in Massachusetts.

Romney said he had "fought to remove" a law that required all hospitals, including Catholic ones, to provide emergency contraception to women who were raped.

"I have steadfastly tried to honor and respect religious conscience," he said.

Also see:

Romney will take tougher approach to Santorum, adviser says

Gingrich touts nationwide campaign

Paul, on quests for delegates, looks past Tuesday contests

Obama's fashion fundraiser

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (159 Responses)
  1. callmecrazy

    Wow. A republican actually admitting their party was at fault!

    I think Hell just froze over.

    February 8, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  2. yogi

    Wouldn't it be great if the GOP had an "off" switch, so we didn't have to listen to this endless stream of complete nonsense? None of the Republican candidates have any qualification to be president, they have nothing substantial to add to the discussion in how to go forward. If any of them had any substance there was no need to only criticize the other person.
    Obama 2012.

    February 8, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  3. Terry

    Romney is nothing more than a stand-up-comic who tends to mix his punchlines. If Romney has no Washington Experience, does he possess any International Experience? Sorry, you are correct, he understands offshore banking.

    February 8, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  4. Randy, San Francisco

    The GOP/Tea Party nomination circus bash is getting better by the day with the mud slinging, personal attacks, finger pointing, and whining. Keep it up all the way to the convention!

    February 8, 2012 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  5. Willie Floyd

    Most people probably remember when asked at a townhall meeting if his sons were in Iraq?? His answer was "they are working on my campaign, that is their service to the country". As though that were equal to fighting in a war. This was in the last election.


    February 8, 2012 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    IMitt's throwing out the patty-cake of insults "game changer"? Rather silly of him to go so gaga when he really needs to define who HE is first. Considering the campaign advisers feeding him this nonsense were all GW advisers, one wonders how America ever survived the GW administration at all.

    February 8, 2012 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  7. walleye46

    I enjoy watching the GOP candidates rip each other up. Shows you the kind of morals they have. Screwing each other now, and if they get elected screwing the American public.

    Our previous president makes all of these GOP candidates look like Einstein – and we all know how smart he (Bush) was.
    Cain is GONE, and he didn’t know anything about Libya even though it was in the news for the last 8 months. Newt is still around even though he committed adultery more than once. Why would a sane person even think of voting for him? So much for the GOP Conservative Family Values – HA. Paul has some radical ideas like pulling the plug on the sick if they have no health insurance. Thank God, Perry is GONE. He was from another planet, and could not remember what he had for Lunch let alone what he will do if elected. Then he calls our Turkish allies terrorists. Bachman is GONE and she was a total idiot in denial. Romney would fire everyone except those in their corporate ivory towers. No wonder he doesn’t want anyone to know how much he paid in taxes.
    All of them are mean spirited, uncaring and vindictive. In 2012 I think I will stick with who we have now. At least he has a logical and clear thinking brain and CARES about the common man.

    February 8, 2012 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  8. FedUp

    Another "disqualifying factor", in my opinion ? Acting like a spoiled brat who can't get his own way and someone is playing in his sandbox. Poor baby Mitt.

    February 8, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  9. Jo Jo

    Romney's best defense as to why he should become president is that "he's not the guy who spent time in Washington"? Well, we all know it's not because he hasn't been trying and trying. It has more to do with not getting the votes. I guess the Bain businessman did not go over so well so he's trying to paint himself as the new kid on the block. Romney has transformed himself into so many different personas I don't think he knows who the real Romney is anymore. He's jack of all trades but master of none.

    February 8, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  10. detada

    If Romney is correct in his description of republicans, acting like democrats, then he must include past presidents such as G.W. Bush, G.H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. So, which republican does Romney model his candidacy after, Donald Trump?

    February 8, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  11. Al-NY,NY

    yadda yadda yadda says the plastic man who can't make up his mind on anything except the fact that he is rich and will do anything to keep it that way while keeping the poor in need

    February 8, 2012 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  12. clarke

    Really Mitt, really. Maybe a sore loser, have heart, the contest isn't over yet.

    February 8, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  13. Z

    ' "And when Republicans act like Democrats, they lose." The proof, he said, was evident in both men's records. Santorum lost his seat in a double-digit defeat in Pennsylvania, while Romney said Gingrich "had to resign" his post as House speaker.'

    And Romney lost a 1994 bid to become a Senator. What a hypocrite. Also, acting like he wouldn't send spending through the roof - the guy is a total liar.

    February 8, 2012 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  14. chris Omu

    This man can say or do anything to win an election. And Voters are very gullible to even vote to vote for him. Unfortunately money can only do so much!

    February 8, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  15. Ugly Pauper

    I don't blame Romney. Those naughty Republicans voted for the just-ordinary rich guys instead of for super rich him. I hope Mitt tells his butler to go outside and wag his finger at those bad guys!

    February 8, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    "Obama who has flip flopped on super pacs"

    Ummm, no he hasn't. While criticized the SCOTUS decision and the creation of SuperPAC, he never agreed to unilaterally disarm. It is stupid for you to suggest otherwise.

    February 8, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  17. works4me

    Yes Mitt... the Democrats that have been cleaning up the Republican messes since 1933?
    Oh... what's that behind you? A burning bridge?

    February 8, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  18. MikeB

    Romney is correct. Santorum is more of a personality figure that his clique feels obligated to support.
    We need to put these personality issues aside and vote for someone that has taken the heat for doing the right thing to right size and optimize businesses and has made decision that are correct, tough, and unpopular. Otherwise austerity measures will be forced upon us.

    February 8, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  19. vikingslost

    Mitt Romoney is running scared. He's now having a tough time with the other candidates actually growing some bhalls and speaking up for themselves and telling Mitt Romoney how they feel.

    When Mitt Romoney throws mud and the other candidates start flinging mud of their own, Mitt becomes frustrated, since he's not the only one on the playground.

    February 8, 2012 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  20. tim

    The key to beating other Republicans is not attacking them but to harp on the liberal media and President Obama. Nothing specific, of course. And heaven forbid coming up with an idea or a plan...

    February 8, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |

    This man is totally out of touch with the real world!!!!!!! improving economy... jobless rate down... hirings are up!! These Teapublicans are scared to death of an improving economy. They tried long enough to sabatoge any recovery. It is improving in spite of them.Kick their tail Mr. President!!!!!! Obama in a landslide.

    February 8, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  22. ShawnDH

    Truth and Nothing But the Truth whined, "we americans have been duped by this Marxist president for too long! he needs to be reminded where his place is!"

    You don't speak for Americans who voted Obama into the White House in a landslide. That's where he belongs and that's where he'll be for 5 more years. When will you realize that your goofy Marxist blah, blah, blah nonsesense doesn't work? You just sound crazy. Obama will win.

    February 8, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  23. The GOP opens mouth and inserts foot

    Don't flatter yourself! There's not a single GOP as intelligent as any Democrat. Democrats have the high I.Q. people who love this country and its citizens. The GOP could never aspire to be as American or American-loving as the Democrats.

    February 8, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  24. Luke

    Women in America are not going to wear burkas, so Mitt you need to git !

    February 8, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  25. hickenlooper

    When you cross Ro money with TRRRRRUMP....YOU GET....... TERMINATED

    February 8, 2012 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
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