New day, new Romney vs. Santorum round
February 9th, 2012
08:53 AM ET
2 years ago

New day, new Romney vs. Santorum round

(CNN) – Team Mitt Romney continued to take on rival Rick Santorum over his fiscal record while serving in the Senate, following his trifecta of wins Tuesday.

The campaign is scheduled to hold a conference call Thursday and issued a barrage of campaign statements criticizing the former Pennsylvania senator for his past support of earmarks and "reckless spending."

Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

Romney Communications Director Gail Gitcho said Santorum "apparently never met an earmark he didn't like."

"The Washington politicians who got us into this mess can't possibly lead us out," Gitcho said in a statement.

The campaign offensive follows amped up rhetoric from the candidate Wednesday, one day after Santorum's wins in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri.

While speaking with reporters, the former Massachusetts governor said Santorum and GOP contender Newt Gingrich "acted like Democrats" during their tenures in Congress.

"Frankly Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich were a big part of the we that spent too much, borrowed too much and earmarked too much," Romney said in Atlanta. "Under Newt Gingrich earmarks doubled. Rick Santorum was a major earmarker and continues to defend earmarks. Under Rick Santorum, he voted to raise the debt ceiling, I believe five different times, to a tune of about an additional $3.5 trillion."

Former Republican presidential nominee and Sen. John McCain was the latest Romney surrogate to receive the memo Thursday. McCain, a long advocate against earmarks, questioned the validity of calling Santorum or Gingrich fiscal conservatives during an appearance on CNN's "Starting Point."

"For Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum to call themselves fiscal conservatives is simply defiance of the record," McCain told CNN's Soledad O'Brien. "They were earmarkers, pork barrelers, encouraged the K-Street project, which led to corruption."

Santorum has defended his use of earmarks as a vehicle to funnel funds back to his constituents, but has said he now believes the practice should end.

"When you go to Congress, you make sure that when taxes go from your state to Washington, D.C., you fight to make sure you get your fair share back," Santorum told CNN's "John King, USA" Tuesday. "I also said that when earmarks got abusive, that we should end them."

And at a campaign rally Wednesday night Santorum jabbed Romney's record as a former business executive.

"If this race is about how to better manage Washington, D.C. with someone who's a CEO and can manage the affairs and create a better platform for government, then we will not lose this election, but even if we win this election we will eventually lose this country," Santorum said in Plano, Texas.

Also see:

Santorum targets Obama, Romney at raucous Texas rally

Bachmann: Santorum win a 'shot across the bow'

Gingrich looks to Super Tuesday lift

McCain blames turnout (not Romney) for Tuesday results

Romney: Rivals are 'Republicans who acted like Democrats'


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Rick Santorum
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain

    Mittens is so disingenuous! Senators and Congress members are SUPPOSED to advocate for project funding for their constituents! And there's nothing wrong with it, if the projects are worthwhile, such as infrastructure and the like (except of course for bridges to nowhere, a la the late Sen. Stevens).

    Mittens and all the GOP would be lost if their followers actually started THINKING. How pathetic it is to rely on people's ignorance and fear for your power.

    February 9, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    @Hodgson

    Earmarks are not the problem. It is the acceptance of abuse of earmarks that is the problem. Pardon the expression, but what I am saying is akin to "guns don't kill, people do." It is the people habitually abusing the earmarks that are the problem, not the earmarks themselves. Abuse is the problem along with the lack of self-discipline.

    Your argument about earmarks having nothing to do with rail projects does not make any sense. Gov. Christie took money earmarked for high speed rail and applied to his tax cut instead. Only because the funds had an earmark attached to it, was the Obama administration able to force NJ to pay it back.

    Without federal earmarks, all federal funds would get spent on the whims of whomever is charge at the state and local level. Creating such an environment would be really stupid. But, it would be in line with most everything else Republicans have done over the past 3+ decades.

    February 9, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  3. NVa Native

    Miss the days of Pelosi being the speaker and Congress having an approval rating above 40%, which is still low considering the 40% was probably for the Dems.
    But it's good to hear the Repubs holding strong to their 6% approval rating (ranting) from the fox followers.

    February 9, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    That's nice, Four: what will you be celebrating? Every trend is pointing towards Obama handily defeating Romney, and the House is not looking good for the GOP, either. Maybe you can celebrate Mitch McConnell keeping his job as Senate Minority Leader. You are right that America deserves better, which is why the GOP will lose and maybe some sanity can return to the Party of Lincoln, though I have my doubts that will happen in my lifetime.

    February 9, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  5. Larry in Houston

    Trouble is : Romney is correct, when he says that he's the only one that hasn't been a D.C. insider. If we get "the Sanitarium" or "the newter" as the nominee, ( or our nxt Prez) This country will be the same as it always has been, those 2 are big spenders, not to mention that they are big earmark people. (Their "history" shows it) If they get IN, we will end up being in hock for around 20 Mill at the end of their term. At Least we already Know What Obama is doing to us. ( can't trust the other guys)

    February 9, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  6. Larry in Houston

    @ Rudy NYC – - You're Spot ON ! ( regarding the earmark issue )

    February 9, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  7. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    as much as I dislike Mitt Romney I actually LOATHE Rick Santorum and hope Mitt DESTROYS him. If Mitt or Newt doesn't do it then I am sure Obama WILL.

    February 9, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
1 2