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. tstorm

    Aw, Mittens, I don't see any Democrats calling each other names, mixing religion and state, or "booing" our troops. I think that's all your side. Sucks to be in the losing GOP, doesn't it? And, no, you're not a witch. That's the other crazy Republican, Christine O'Donnell...lol...

    February 8, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  2. Marc V

    Wow, that rape statement! And the pride with which he said it! Very disappointing...

    February 8, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  3. CoJo

    this is where the conservatives step over the line by trying to dictate other people's lives. They have the right to their own beliefs but they do not have the right to dictate another's or a business deal. The issue that comes to light is a business deal between Ellen DeGeneres and JCPennies. Unless conservatives group own the majority stock in compnaies, they do not have the right to dictate deals. This is a perfect example of what conservatives dictators (like Santorum) try to do.

    February 8, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  4. ThinkAgain

    Hey, Mittens, I'm PROUD to be a Democrat! You know, we're the folks whose policies pulled our country out of the Great Depression, were at the helm when we fought and won World War II, presided over the longest economic expansion in our nation's history (40 years), presided over the last budget surplus and took out Osama bin Laden.

    You can try all you want to make it a dirty word, but the FACT remains that Republicans have nothing to offer us except anger, fear, hatred and division, not to mention economic, military and foreign policies that are PROVEN FAILURES.

    So you can take your rants against Democrats and stick them where the sun don't shine!

    February 8, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain

    To all you investigative reporters out there (hey, CNN, here's your chance to shine): Please find out whether the current health insurance policies covering employees of these religiously-affiliated hospitals, etc., cover birth control and/or abortion.

    Inquiring minds want to know ... I'm guessing they do, and this has only been made into an issue because the GOP is desperately trying to get people to somehow vote for their total loser candidates.

    February 8, 2012 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  6. Linda

    To the guy who defends Romney's sons for not being in the military- those young people who do join do so to find money for college, to gain an education , to get out of slums – they are forced to risk their lives to get ahead in America
    And they care about this nation and want to help = His sons are all about making more money – they don't even want to pay their fair share of taxes while other people's kids fight for their freedom. That what has become of America – the poor fight the rich's battles and then the rich try to take away the benefits they promised – it is obscene.

    February 8, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  7. Noodle Nose Johnson

    Wonder if Romney care covers rides in a "Waaahmbulance"?

    February 8, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  8. ThinkAgain

    "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."

    What about covering STD treatments for children who'd been raped by a Catholic priest?

    Sorry if I offend anyone with this comment, but I find the way the Catholic Church moved child molesting priests around instead of removing them from their posts and prosecuting them for the disgusting criminals they are repulsive.

    February 8, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  9. Mr. Man

    Hey, what's all the fuss about? The GOP will have it's primaries, and THAT person will be the only one who survives the cut. Who will those of you who back the losers of the primary race vote for at the general election? Why, the some GOP runner who wins the primary, that's who! Don't help destroy your precious party. because if you do, we Dems will be all over you. So, if you don't get it, just read this message, and you will.

    February 8, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  10. ThinkAgain

    Where's the "freedom" in all these religious organizations getting a pass on paying taxes? So many of them spout lies and hatred, promoting religious dogma that I am adamantly against, and yet I'm forced to support them through my tax dollars (they don't pay, so all us taxpayers have to make up the shortfall).

    February 8, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  11. John

    This man has the gaul to think he is Presidential material? what a miserable joke he is. and he is part of the problem not the solution.

    February 8, 2012 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  12. jaimeh

    I'd really like to see a debate between Obama and Ron Paul. If there is common sense among the Republicans, they shold nominate Ron Paul.

    February 8, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  13. Dale

    Romney is such a fraud. Even GOP voters are starting to realize this Mormon is dishonest. He will sell-out fellow Americans skilled and white-collar) for profit, say anything to get elected, and deliver nothing. He's the worst candidate left, yet he was getting the majority of the votes!? Good to see him FINALLY being called out by voters yesterday.

    February 8, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  14. The Elephant In The Room

    If Santorum & Gingrich [or even Romney for that matter] really acted like Democrats, perhaps we have areturn to the budget surpluses we experienced under President Clinto in `98, `99 & 00 when we ran surpluses of $88 B? $122 B & $230B.

    Instead Republicans gave us unfunded tax giveaways to the rich, unfunded wars under false pretenses, and "no-bid contracs" to crony-corporations like Blackwater & Haliburton.

    Yeah, we really want to go back to that.

    February 8, 2012 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  15. Rainbow

    Mitt Romney would make a great president! His father was one of the finest men in the country–the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree!!!

    February 8, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  16. once upon a horse

    sorry Mitt but that sounds like wishful thinking to me. If Republicans DID act more like Democrats this country would be in BETTER shape than Bush left it in. Right now we have a Democrat trying to fix that even though your ilk won't give him any credit for trying to do so not to say any help.

    February 8, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  17. jdoe

    What a joker. How did the other candidates "lose their way"? It's the voters that vote for them. Maybe Romney should go after the voters.

    February 8, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  18. Peter

    Romney points out two prominent Republicans who have spent like drunken sailors for years, and then says that they act more like Democrats than Republicans. But Mitt, they ARE Republicans and have been for YEARS! And there are lots of other wild spending Republicans, too.

    February 8, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  19. Ian

    That's some mighty fine projection there, Willard!

    February 8, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  20. Badababa Ba

    I'm lovin it. Let the dukearoo begin in ernest. These lackeys and their punk PACs will be running on empty when the try to take on Big O.

    February 8, 2012 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  21. John N Florida

    The cannibalism has started They're eating their own.

    February 8, 2012 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  22. Cindy

    Romney needs someone to tell him its time to go in out of the rain. He does not have any experience that would qualitfy him for president. A failed governor and a Vulture Capitalist that sat in an office deciding to shrink jobs. The CEO of Bank of America has more qualifications than he does.

    February 8, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  23. Debby

    Tffl, good point, but alot of candidates that have governed a state are very qualified to work in Washington. Washington insiders, like Santorum, Gingrich, Paul are sometimes to radical and make wrong decisions.

    February 8, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  24. DavidE7

    Romney has made a habit of accusing others of the sins of which he is most guilty.

    February 8, 2012 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  25. Louden Swain

    Dems love whinnying about righteousness. Romney 2012!

    February 8, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
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