Santorum: Romney earmarked his way through the Olympics
February 18th, 2012
11:26 AM ET
2 years ago

Santorum: Romney earmarked his way through the Olympics

Columbus, Ohio (CNN) – It had been a pretty tame week for Republican Rick Santorum in terms of new attack lines on opponent Mitt Romney, but that ended Saturday morning. Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, came out swinging, saying Romney's efforts to rescue the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games were not all he has made them out to be.

“One of the things he talks about the most is how he heroically showed up on the scene and bailed out and resolved the problems of the Salt Lake City Olympic games,” Santorum said, as a few in the tea party audience chuckled. “He heroically bailed out the Salt Lake City Olympic games by heroically going to Congress and asking them for tens of millions of dollars to bail out the Salt Lake Olympic Games - in an earmark. In an earmark for the Salt Lake Olympic Games.”

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His comments came as he went into his common riff: that Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, is unfairly attacking him over the issue of earmarks.

“One of his strongest supporters, John McCain, called it potentially the worst boondoggle in earmark history,” Santorum said. “And now Governor Romney is suggesting ‘Oh, Rick Santorum earmarked’ as he requested almost half a billion dollars in earmarks as governor of Massachusetts to his federal congressmen and Senate members.”

“Does the word hypocrisy come to mind?” he added.

The Romney campaign was quick with a rebuttal.

“Sometimes when you shoot from the hip, you end up shooting yourself in the foot,” said spokeswoman Andrea Saul. “There is a pretty wide gulf between seeking money for post-9/11 security at the Olympics and seeking earmarks for polar bear exhibits at the Pittsburgh Zoo. Mitt Romney wants to ban earmarks, Senator Santorum wants more ‘Bridges to Nowhere.’ ”

Santorum was speaking to a room of tea party enthusiasts in Columbus, Ohio. He was kicking off a busy day on the trail in the battleground Buckeye State, with another rally in Columbus, and later, one in Akron.

It all comes on the heels of what the campaign considers a pretty major endorsement Friday - that of Ohio attorney general and former Romney backer, Mike DeWine.

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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Ohio • Rick Santorum
soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. yogi

    @Carlos, to save you more anxiety, just follow your heart and stay with your last intention.
    Obama 2012

    February 18, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  2. A Southern Lady

    I find it impossible to even consider Santorum for president. As an Independent, I look at all candidates, but Santorum is a total religious nut, he would take the rights of women back to the 50's, or worse. Mr. Santorum - We are no longer "property" of our fathers and husbands – we are educated, intelligent, successful women and will not allow any man to return us to "barefoot and pregnant." You must not get anywhere near the White House. Obama/Biden in 2012.

    February 18, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  3. Critical Thinker

    Santorum is minimizing Gringrich because Rick is stealing the "strong conservative" support from Newt. When is Gringrich going to take on Santorum, or is he going home with his tail between his legs? Is Newt a politician or a wimp?

    February 18, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  4. Critical Thinker

    Hey Rick – Whatever happened to the founding principle of separation between Church and State? Sounds like the Pope is your dictator who will rule the U.S. if you are elected!

    February 18, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  5. Uthor

    Few things are more disgusting than a self-righteous, judgmental Christian, Mr. Santorum.

    February 18, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  6. Critical Thinker

    We ought to nickname Rick either as "The Cardinal" or the "Pope of Pittsburgh."

    February 18, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  7. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    @ Little Jimmy Truth....

    funny I recall that when the Olympics were lost to Rio right wingers stood up and CHEERED because they didn't want Obama to be credited for getting it. That was the first time I recall some Americans cheering our country losing something to another country. PATHETIC if you ask me.

    February 18, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  8. Critical Thinker

    DeWine is what Democrats call a "flip-flopper." Wonder which cabinet position he wants for delivering Ohio to Rick?

    February 18, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  9. TLM

    Leading up to the Winter 2002 Olympic games, there were worries that terrorists might try to make a statement with some kind of attack during the games. People all across the country-politicians, pundits, security experts, commentators, etc-were saying that security had to be airtight to protect the visitors from all around the world. NOBODY at the time thought it was strange for the federal govt to participate and pay for a lot of the exta security. Seems odd for a candidate to criticize that and call it a "bail out." Is everything govt does a bail out, now? Security is one of the few things conservatives say Govt is supposed to do. Santorum is grasping at straws on this one.

    February 18, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  10. brojam

    Stay alert! Santorum voted FOR the 2002 Olympics bailout.

    February 18, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  11. Valentina

    @Kelly... You don't speak for me – I also live in Massachusetts and I am very proud of Gov. Romney and what he was able to accomplished why governor. You are just an angry bitter soul.

    February 18, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  12. Natfka

    faith and morals are very hard for many commenters here to understand.

    February 18, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  13. doc

    I might vote for Romney. He’s worked outside government, can work with people to get things done, and hasn’t yet been poisoned by that cesspool in Washington. Santorum is another matter. I can’t figure out why so many Repug voters in Michigan and Ohio are thinking of voting for a guy that has no chance to appeal to enough voters to win the general election.

    February 18, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  14. Tony

    What a complete idiot!

    It would please me greatly to see Santorum as the GOP nominee. Leave it to the right wing nutbags to turn a close election into an Obama landslide.

    Thank you Jesus!

    February 18, 2012 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  15. Lute

    I'm tired of the smearing by all the candidates. When Romney was running the Olympic Games he got the government to do protect the visitors and athletes. Big deal. That was a national event. Who else was supposed to pay for security?

    February 18, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  16. mirrorlogic

    Anybody but R-money!

    He claims everything improved under his leadership...just imagine how improved Michigan and the car companies would be after they went bankrupt following his NY Times recommendation...

    UGHHHHHHH! Anybody but Willard Mitt

    February 18, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  17. B

    Endless food-fight, and neither one will ever become President and most people know that..

    What a complete waste of time and money..

    February 18, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  18. Bozzz

    I have been voting mostly republican since the 60s. When John McCain selected his VP running mate i felt that the party had become irresponsible and voted for Obama. When i see the GOP candidates this time I am horrified at the possibility that one of them could lead this country. Rick Santorum is not qualified in any way, shape or form.

    February 18, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  19. DK

    Lets not forget..Santorum took more pork than anybody...he was also nominated 2006 'most corrupt senator'. He openly advocates changing all laws to Biblical, birth control as murder (his words not mine), and is for banning anything he feels is 'inappropriate'. Make no mistakes, everything the GOP has put forth this year will destroy this country. This is what you get when you pander to extremists and manipulate the facts to rally an uneducated base.

    February 18, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  20. LouiseBelinda

    The nuts and hypocrites are back out again. These jokers should be on a reality show. Never have I seen such stupidity since Goldwater.

    February 18, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  21. normajean @ verizon ,com

    If Santorum became president, I think I would be looking for ANY other country to move to. This man is so radical and wrapped up in himself and his religion that he would ultimately make a joke of everything we as Americans believe in.Where is the separation of church and state?? Where is the right for anyone male or female to determine their own life style and health care,where is COMMON SENSE?????....WHERE DID THIS NUT COME FROM????

    February 18, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  22. Jason D

    Neither of these people are any good, they are both hypocrits and both talk from several sides of their mouths...they are liberal one minute then ultra right the next, against taxes for the rich but pro reductions for everyone else, they want less regulations when less regulations created the recession...they are neither any good for a country in a recession...trickle down economics would create a revolution during the harshest of times...everyone tightened their belts but the rich and those members of the rich are Romney and Santorum....both asked for and got ear marks and yet are against them, both accuse obama of being a secret muslim one minute then an extreme christian from reverend wright the next.

    They talk about their pasts being so great and then deny everything they did during them

    February 18, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  23. Pat in IL

    Sanatorum is either extra nasty or extra stupid... Not sure which. To dis Romney for doing everything he can to make sure something happened for the good of the whole country and ignore his own grabbing money for the selfish interests of a few that doesn't do any good for anybody is ridiculous.

    February 18, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  24. Elphaba

    Let's face it; earmarks are how our representatives bring our tax dollars back into our districts. Call them what you will, we will always have earmarks. Aside from that, I find it amusing how the Republican candidates are employing the scorched earth dynamic in order to make their opponents unelectable. So far so good. I don't see any Republican worthy of election. Hello for another four, Obama.

    February 18, 2012 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  25. TheMagusNYC

    Matt, you seem to be glossing over a few details concerning Mr. Romney's tax advantages, which are not generally available. He was able to pass on tax free $100 million to his sons, and was able to put over $100 million into tax deferred IRA accounts, far beyond the limits nearly all of us face. So fine, you may credit him for investing abroad, and for taking advantage of special tax breaks for the elite, as in "carried interest." But you and I have to make up that national deficit that he has avoided paying. And anyone's contributions to one's own church really do not compare to contributions to charities, yet are entirely deductible. Note that contributions to Mr. Romney's campaign, and to the "Restore the Future PAC," with allusion to the restoration of "Christianity" by Joseph Smith, is funded mostly by members of his church, which is perfectly understandable, especially in that tight-knit community.
    God bless them all, far richer and smarter than me.

    February 18, 2012 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
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