Santorum rebuts Romney attacks
February 9th, 2012
03:21 PM ET
2 years ago

Santorum rebuts Romney attacks

Oklahoma City (CNN) - Following an energetic rally here on Thursday, Rick Santorum pushed back against a recent spate of criticisms from GOP rival Mitt Romney.

"Governor Romney's campaign has been about serially tearing down but not offering any kind of vision about what he wants to do for this country," Santorum told reporters.

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"He's not going out and talking about his record as governor of Massachusetts. He hides from that record."

On specific criticisms that he asked for earmarks as a senator from Pennsylvania, Santorum defended his record, pointing to specific earmarks he requested that have helped the military. Admitting he'd probably made some mistakes in the process, overall Santorum defended earmarks as a productive way of allocating federal funds.

"I understand people don't like earmarks because of the abuse of it, but there are legitimate reasons when the President of the United States isn't doing the things that are right, then the Congress can have oversight and said you're wrong," Santorum said. "When it was abused, I said stop it, and I'm for stopping it."

Santorum turned the criticism back on Romney, saying that his continued attacks show and unwillingness to talk about the problems facing the country.

"This is the gotcha politics of Mitt Romney," Santorum said. "It's not interesting to talk about the issues. He's not interested in talking about the issues. He's interested in trying to pander and make political sauce, when there's real substantive issues about how we're trying to change this government, and he's on the wrong side."

In recent days Santorum has criticized Romney for running on his business experience, saying that the country doesn't need a "manager" it needs a leader. In return Romney has criticized Santorum's lack of management experience. On Thursday, Santorum said that more important than management experience is "leadership experience," and he pointed to Romney's political appointees as governor of Massachusetts as evidence of poor leadership.

"The folks that I've surrounded with myself while in office and the people that are surrounding ourselves now are strong principled conservatives," Santorum said. "They are the ones that are going to be on those departments, managing those departments. We are going to get the best possible conservative. Look at Gov Romney. Look at his appointments. They were not conservative."

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 • Oklahoma • Rick Santorum
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "Governor Romney's campaign has been about serially tearing down but not offering any kind of vision about what he wants to do for this country," Santorum told reporters
    ------------------------
    I concur with Pope Santorum.

    February 9, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  2. Mikey

    I am not Santorum fan but he hit the nail on the head with this comment, "Governor Romney's campaign has been about serially tearing down but not offering any kind of vision about what he wants to do for this country,"

    I hope everyone remembers that in the general. It is absolutely true and exactly why Mitt Romney should not be elected President.

    February 9, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  3. hollaye

    Santorum has no experience, if you vote for Santorum you will be voting for Obama, he is over his head, just like Obama, we will have the same problems, we need someone with conservative experience. Romney has the most experience, he has lead a State, lead a business, and saved the Olympics. What has Santorum lead? Please be wise when voting, we need to save this Country.

    February 9, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  4. dontmesswithme

    If santorom becomes President is going to be President of only the evangelicals or President for all. He says it but i do not think he understands what it means.

    February 9, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  5. Larry in Houston

    I don't know if Santorum reads these or not, but – IF I was Him – I would spend my time down here in Texas, and like that Photo that Just went Viral, where all those pastors were "laying hands" on Santorum – he will take Tx easily. All he has to do is go to churches all over the state – and get ahold of all the pastors in a general vicinity – bring them into one of the churches – have 40 or 50 pastors surrounding Santorum, right in the middle of the church – and everybody laying their "hands on " him – That will get you Votes , Santorum, believe me.

    February 9, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  6. Paula

    Santorum has always come off as a joke but Romney is totally loathsome. It's true, getting to know him only increases his obnoxiousness.

    February 9, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  7. supercharger

    Not a fan of Mr. Santorum, but he does have a valid point here. When was the last time Mr. Romney discussed his plans on a national forum as opposed to tearing down his opponents, from Mr. Santorum to Mr. Gingrich to President Obama. Mr. Santorum will also effectively turn the whole "Washington Insider" attack around on Mr. Romney...just look at the "Round Table" discussion Romney's hosting tonight...presumably where he'll actually elaborate his actual plans. For only $13,500 (with a photo and admission to the reception afterward), we can all know where he stands CURRENTLY.

    February 9, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    "He's not going out and talking about his record as governor of Massachusetts. He hides from that record."
    ----------------
    I concur. Romney is not backing up his claim that he created 100,000 jobs *while* at Bain. Because it is a lie.

    February 9, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  9. Monica

    Besides the question of what Santorum has lead, is the fact that he was pummeled in his reelection bid for Senator. Mitt is every bit the Conservative Santorum is, and many times the leader. We need a proven leader and turn around guy who has not been a career politician to save our great country! Mitt for President!

    February 9, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  10. supercharger

    If you're a conservative like hollaye, you need to ask yourself a serious question. What would you rather have, Obama for four more years, followed by a real conservative president, or Romney for eight years and who knows what? If you can tell me where Romney will end up standing on conservative social issues like health care, same-sex marriage and abortion...then I think you know more than Romney does.

    February 9, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  11. Debby

    I have to laugh at Santorums comments he lost the Senate by double digits and could not get re-elected. If Santorum doesn't know Romney's plans for this country after 20 debates the GOP is in big trouble if this guy is their nominee.

    February 9, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  12. Woman In California

    "He's not going out and talking about his record as governor of Massachusetts. He hides from that record."

    He also "hides" from his evil beliefs in his racist church. I'm STILL waiting for him to explain why ANY decent American citizen would vote for him when he reads from a (b)ible depicting blacks as "filthy animals". My suggestion is he better KEEP on hiding if he wants to make it to the GE. Once he gets to this point (if he ever does) Willard is going to get an eye opener of a REALITY about his so-called "leadership, job creation and beliefs" and he won't be able to depend/lean on the audience for support as MOST of them will be cheering for our president.

    February 9, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  13. CoJo

    he says "for legitimate reasons" , question who defines "legitimate"???

    February 9, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  14. Voter

    Lets not get too arrogant Santorum...... Lets face it any of the republican GOP feild would make a 10x's better president then Obama......If Romney is the Nominee I will support him!!!! So quit bashing each other and focus on the worst president in history!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OBAMA!!!!!!

    February 9, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  15. Bill

    Guess I've missed it-why isn't Santorum a senator any more?

    February 9, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  16. vic , nashville ,tn

    “Mitt Romney's message from GOP: Step it up” from Politico

    Mr.Rick Santorum GOPers working against you

    February 9, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  17. CoJo

    again, if he was "legitimate" why did he get fired from his job in Pennsylvania?

    February 9, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  18. CoJo

    Does ANYONE recall him publically fighting against earmarks? I know we all heard John McCain, but I just don't recall Santorum... Maybe we should get McCain's comment on this one.

    February 9, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  19. Mike from Calgary

    Let Romney talk. Gove him lots of rope and he just seems to hang himself.
    After he quits this race like he QUIT ON MASSACHUSETTS, he can go back to BAIN, fleecing "target companies", creative destruction, firing American workers, raiding their pension funds, piutting workers on the dole at taxpayers expense, while sending the loot off to Swiss Banks, the Cayman Islands and to the MORMON Temple and other tax dodges!

    February 9, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  20. Woman In California

    hollaye

    Santorum has no experience, if you vote for Santorum you will be voting for Obama, he is over his head, just like Obama, we will have the same problems, we need someone with conservative experience. Romney has the most experience, he has lead a State, lead a business, and saved the Olympics. What has Santorum lead? Please be wise when voting, we need to save this Country.

    Yes hollaye we do – and that is EXACTLY why I will be voting for Obama and AGAINST the Mormon whose only claim to fame is stolen wealth and off shore accounts.

    February 9, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  21. Woman In California

    @ Paula

    I couldn't agree with you more.

    February 9, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  22. Paul1st

    Santorum too narrow-minded to be a President that represents all Americans. It is highly doubtful that he can represent half of the voters. As far as tearing down, Santorum's campaign is basically destroying the American melting pot and replacing it with his choice of a monoculture. And... Mormons need not apply.

    February 9, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  23. CoJo

    again he says he surrounds himself with conservatives. Strong implies he can't (and WON'T) reach across the table to work WITH people with diffat erent views. He JUST WON'T. I though Gingrich was bad, Santorum is worse. Heaven help us if the best is Ron Paul... at least he seems to listen (or is grandfather charm has me confused). He is also the only one acknowledging the republicans in the past are just as much to blame as the democrats

    February 9, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  24. Woman In California

    Voter

    Lets not get too arrogant Santorum...... Lets face it any of the republican GOP feild would make a 10x's better president then Obama......If Romney is the Nominee I will support him!!!! So quit bashing each other and focus on the worst president in history!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OBAMA!!!!!!

    Want to talk about the worst president in history? That ranks right in line with Ronald (multiple living wives while president) Reagan; and Ronald (Iran Contra) Reagan and Ronald (voodoo economics) Reagan. There you have it in two words: Ronald Reagan.

    February 9, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  25. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I don't find Santorum or any of the other candidate still in the race really compelling. They either seem to think going back to a level of corporate welfare is good while reducing the accountability for those of the most wealthy and connected to big business. The one that isn't doesn't want government to do anything to support the people when there is no one else to do it.

    February 9, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
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