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.

Also see:

Gingrich suggests candidacy rests on Georgia

Obama budget proposal under fire in GOP address

Friess apologizes for birth control comment

Six members withdraw from Waters probe


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

    Wow mittens saved the olympics. BIG DEAL. In a country obsessed by sport and sposorship any muppet could do that.

    February 18, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  2. TheMagusNYC

    It would seem unimaginable that a Republican would regain the White House before our great nation has healed from the prior administration. Thank God we have a Commander in Chief we can admire, even if Michelle wins pushup contests by going down only half way.

    February 18, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  3. AdamCO

    I don't think that this guy has the skills to govern a city, let alone a country.

    February 18, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  4. Harry Bradford

    Imagine the Michigan Republican voters writhing in frustration trying to determine the lesser of these two evils. I can hardly suppress a sadistic smile.

    February 18, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  5. marty

    I'm disappointed in CNN for not printing genuine facts offered by your readers in this column. It seems like you prefer vanilla statements that are sometimes peppered with a little vinegar regarding the candidates. I tried to tell you that Rick Santorum is not a nice man and all the vanilla in the world won't change that.

    February 18, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  6. johnborg

    The ticket will probably end up Romney/Santorum anyway. Romney needs a strong social conservative and Santorum is that person.

    February 18, 2012 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  7. PhilG.

    Santorum is at least a real person.

    Romney looks like an actor in a really bad d-rate Dracula movie.

    "Blah!Blah!,I'm going to sell off your company and suck out alll the money,Blah!Blah!!"

    February 18, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  8. Google Santorum

    This guy is crazier than a bedbug. He makes Bush sound like a '60s free love hippy. For someone to be so obsessed with "deviance", he must have major issues. He most definitely has some demons he's trying to excise.

    February 18, 2012 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  9. putia

    It is easy to criticize an accomplished person like Romney because he worked on many things. What about Santorum? He spent 16 years in Congress. What did he attain?
    Zero, nada, none.

    February 18, 2012 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  10. Randy

    None of this matters. President Obama is going to win re-election in the fall. Book it.

    February 18, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  11. AJ

    Tea Party = radical, no compromise, gridlock.
    All I need to hear is "tea party" support, to know I would never vote for him.

    February 18, 2012 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  12. andy

    vote libertarian and repair our nation! Ron Paul 2012

    February 18, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  13. Shann

    Conservatives, wake up! We all want someone who can step into the roll of president and bring real leadership and real change to the country. That person is NOT Rick Santorum! He has about as much leadership experience as Barack Obama had before he was elected. Let’s face it, the Obama administration would love to run against Santorum and Newt Gingrich. Nominating either of them would put the same old faces back in Washington. We don’t want that! We want real change and real leadership. That will come from Mitt Romney. He’s proven it repeatedly.

    February 18, 2012 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  14. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    I pity the fool who TRUST Willard M. Romney.

    February 18, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  15. Ed

    Only one of the Republican Presidential hopeful has a job. That is Ron Paul a current senator. All the others are introduced as former Governor, Speaker and Senator. What do they do for a living and why aren't they introduced by what they do?

    After watching them debate by twisting the truth, maligning each other and playing negative advertising can you trust them to be honest and truthful to us if any of them become President. I think Ron Paul is the most honest of the three.

    February 18, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  16. Austin

    Zane, your exactly right. I'm a Republican, but it sickens me that all these far right evangelicals are willing to lose the Presidency all because Romney is a Mormon. It's a joke that Santorum, and his terrible record on what we need to fix the most, spending, debt and balancing the budget, is leading the polls right now. His views on women are going to alienate half the country at least and there is no way he beats Obama. Romney isn't perfect but he is the only one that has even a slight chance to beat Obama and stop Obamacare

    February 18, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  17. Judy

    Santorum is a sneaky, lying, hypocrite--–why do you think he lost his last election! He's already giving himself away.

    February 18, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  18. sayer

    I'm not very concerned about the poor IS a complete sentence, Mr. Romney.

    February 18, 2012 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  19. God

    This coming from a guy that would gladly end womens suffrage.

    February 18, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  20. Michelle

    I'd vote for Mickey Mouse before I voted for Obama

    February 18, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  21. Jack

    Mr. Santorum

    You sure are acting very righteous aren't you. Maybe you shouldn't throw stones in glass houses.

    February 18, 2012 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  22. Jason

    Santorum: 5 votes to raise the Debt ceiling without concurrent cuts. 15 TRILLION dollars in debt.

    Romney: 3 billion dollar deficit into 2 billion dollar surplus over 4 years as Governor of MA. NOT by raising taxes, but rather by getting rid of excessive government waste.

    Enough said. The contrast between these two gentlemen could not be clearer.

    February 18, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  23. jack johnson

    Santorum should not to pick fights with everyone at once, (knowing he can't win any). Is this how he would be commander-in-chief pick fights with everyone around the world, and leave it to a dem. to fix?

    February 18, 2012 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  24. Gemini Girl

    Keith, too funny, and oh, so right! There is so much bad stuff on the Repubs that the Prez & his super-Pacs can put out a different-topic ad every day! Too funny!

    February 18, 2012 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  25. Mangus Pilston

    Santorum is unpatriotic if he thinks the US should just let the Olympics fail, Let's see, a once in a long while where the entire nation can unite and put our best foot forward to show the world and he's complaining? If I remember correctly, didn't he say he wanted to focus on issues during the Florida debates and not nitpick on minor issues? Now he's trying to find faults in Romney. Maybe I don't understand who the tea party are, but I thought they were the fiscal conservatives. How can they even think of him as their savior if he voted to double our national debt by trillions? He must think he's the answer if he's willing to pass up a year with his sick child to campaign.

    February 18, 2012 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
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