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

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

    If a few of you on this blog would read just a little outside of the mainstream media...you would realize that Mitt is not flip-flopping or pandering. He is speaking the truth just as he always has. He has not always gotten it right, but he has worked really hard in some very difficult political places to support the cause of freedom and uphold conservative principles.

    February 8, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  2. Nick

    Mitt, First Catholic church has to clean up its mess (a.k.a the pedophile clergy) before it points fingers at others; Second, they need to stay away from woman's body; Many Catholics don't believe the teachings of the church in the matter of contraception the church teaches since it does not work except the older folks. People feel they have a responsibility to the children they beget and they may not able to afford to do that; Not every one is a multimillionaire like you and can afford to bring up 5 children.

    February 8, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  3. Ouch!

    What's more entertaining than a cheap, self-serving, hypocrite republican melting down? Its great to see Santorum and Gingrich rip Romney to shreds!!!

    February 8, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  4. Nick

    He needs to be hypnotized for us to find out what he really believes in. Otherwise, it is just words to get more votes.

    February 8, 2012 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  5. Bill, NY

    Hey Mitt, who's sounding desperate now?

    February 8, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  6. Terry

    For almost 20 years, I was a police detective and I worked many many rape cases some that even involved murder. I would like someone in the right wing Republicans corner to please tell me how after a woman has been brutalized and degraded by some sick rapist, how in the name of "Christianity" can you deny them immediate contraception or even abortion if that becomes necessary. They didn't ask for this. They deserve better. That is unbelievable to me. Maybe those advocating that have never seen the hurt and pain that goes along with a brutal rape but to force a woman into carrying that child for 9 months and then making the choice to raise the child and be reminded every single day of what happened or to give the child up for adoption and wonder every single if you did the right thing, how can anybody ANYBODY believe that is what our loving Lord and Savior would want to happen?????

    February 8, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  7. sqeptiq

    Mitt has lost touch with reality...oh, wait, he's a Republican...forgive the redundancy.

    February 8, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  8. Bemis29

    Romney is a wall street fat cat that blows which ever way the wind blows. He got filthy rich by sacking companies and killing jobs. The only thing he cares about is his delusion that he will become POTUS.
    Santorum portrays himself as a true conservative...which don't mean squat when you look at his pathetic record in PA where under his watch unemployment approached double digits, he expanded govt, increased taxes and completely neglected the infracture. He failed miserably and was booted out of office by a record defeat for damm good reason.
    Newt G is nothing more than your typical phony politician who like Romney will tell you what you want to hear but is too stupid to realize its too late. He hides behind a Catholic facade as if that somehow makes him a good moral person.
    Ron Paul thinks he is living in the 17th century. He lives in a deluded fantasy world rather than reality. He does not have the critical thinking ability nor the stamina to be POTUS. He has no understanding of economics or miltary science and will most likely croak in a couple of years.

    February 8, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  9. beevee

    It looks like Mr. Romeny's aggresive negative campaign is not paying the dividends he was hoping for. Too bad aggressiveness is not a good investment, only so very rarely if at all. May be he should reevauate his campaign strategy. Instead coming across as a rich brat who thinks he will buy the election with throwing money he should more focus on being compassionate. Otherwise he is in for long primary haul.

    February 8, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  10. mirrorlogic

    incredible...the only one of the candidates that actually was at one point due to his voting an actual Democrat...

    so he says..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."

    ANYBODY but flip-flopping R-money!

    February 8, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  11. beevee

    Is Mr. Romney trying to shift the blame on his opponents for his threee-state loss? Negative aggressive campaign does not always yield "profits" (the word he knows best). One can be nice and focussed and still be on the top. Also the thinking that money can buy everything is totally flawed.

    February 8, 2012 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  12. My name is Jose Jimenez

    Willard, you have nothing to offer. People are starting to catch on your entire campaign is about you not the country and its people. Enjoy your millions and leave the rest of us alone.

    February 8, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  13. Thomas

    Why is it so hard to say the word BIRTH CONTROL ?

    No wonder there are less and less Catholics and more and more Mormons.

    February 8, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  14. WhiteLiter1

    I think most Americans would like our political leaders to set aside their incredible partisanship and start doing good work for our country. Romney just used the word "democrat" as a base slur to insult his fellow Republicans. This man can't possibly achieve the bipartisanship and cooperation we need in Congress to move forward. He wants to be president and yet he continually makes statements that alienate large parts of our population. He's not smart enough to handle the presidency. A vote for Romney is a vote for the continued ineffectiveness of our federal legislature.

    February 8, 2012 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  15. Katherine

    To the candidates: Be as someone that is FOR the people's well being regardless of the party you're sworn to because you have lost all that is intelligent & and common sense (and it is quite visible) in order to remain party loyal and that will not benefit you and that will not benefit us all. We see you.

    February 8, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Santorum has to be the most evil twisted mind of the bunch. I want to see his birth certificate , I don't believe he is an American because I don't think he is a human being.

    February 8, 2012 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  17. jhubers

    This just makes Romney look small and insignificant, like a whining child. Hardly presidential material. The GOP is in trouble, folks. Deep, deep trouble.

    February 8, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  18. orcheon

    If you want to vote for someone other than Mitt Romney, just wait a few weeks, and it'll be Mitt Romney.

    February 8, 2012 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  19. doe

    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 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  20. Matthew Beal

    This is incredibly Ironic coming from Romney, the king of flipping sides to suit his needs.

    February 8, 2012 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  21. Max.

    It's time

    Romney is getting very negative vibes from the conservative party. The clear message is that he does not share conservative values nor reflect republicans ideals

    It's time for Romney to quit. I mean he's been running for the nomination over five years now and is still not attractive as a conservative presidential candidate? He is just not the one to represent the party...It's just time for Romney to QUIT! The sooner, the better for the rest of us

    February 8, 2012 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  22. abby

    I was considering voting for Romney. But after that quote – no way in hel/ would I ever support that jerk.

    February 8, 2012 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  23. chuck weidemann

    Day after day these candidates come up with more and more crazy things to say. Not even the best script writers in Hollywood could come up with this stuff. If they did no one would believe it!! So we tune in to watch but only the the looney tunes are going to the polls to vote for these clowns!!!

    February 8, 2012 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  24. Beverly - NYC

    Someone's being a sore loser. Don't be blue Mittens you still have enough cash to bury Newt and Rick in negative ads for the next super Tuesday.

    I'm so over this fake issue involving contraceptives & the Catholic Church. I'm Catholic and believe in a woman's right to choose when she wants to have a pregnancy. This is the same bunch of hypocrits who shuffled child molesting Priest from parish to parish. Now they are put put at the thought of offering responsible health care. Something tells me if Viagra was covered under this mandate not one man would be opening their big mouth, but to deny health care to women they're all in. The Catholic Church is not a poor organization, if they don't like the rules, don't take tax payer money, then discriminate all you want. He who has the gold makes the rules,it's that simple. Stand tough Mr. President.

    February 8, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  25. onefeather

    I am so tired of all this childish fighting among grown adults that are running for office..I want to Know some facts and that they are going to slove or help solve the JOB problem..people have NO jobs, no unemploynment [it does run out]. Good people who have worked their whole life and now have nothing to fall back on, who is going to help Put jobs back in this country..NO one?? where is the money going to come from to pay bills and house payments and buy food??? who is going to help those who have been working in this country, it sure isn't in those running for office, what a bunch of sel centered no good clowns..

    February 8, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
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