Romney: 'I wonder which team Santorum was taking it for'
February 23rd, 2012
12:14 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney: 'I wonder which team Santorum was taking it for'

Phoenix (CNN) - Picking up where he left off after CNN's GOP debate in Mesa, Mitt Romney went back on the attack, turning Rick Santorum's own words against him.

Speaking to a business group in Phoenix Thursday, Romney recalled Santorum's explanation for why he supported the No Child Left Behind law during his time in the Senate.

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"Sometimes you take one for the team, for the leader, and I made a mistake," Santorum said at Wednesday's debate.

"I wonder which team he was taking it for," Romney quipped, drawing cackles of laughter from the audience.

"My team is the American people not the insiders in Washington and I'll fight for the people of America not special interests," Romney added.

The former Massachusetts governor had a bounce in his step in what may be his last appearance in Arizona before next Tuesday's primary.

"It was kind of fun. I enjoyed it," Romney said about the debate.

Romney plans to spend much of the coming days in Michigan, which also holds a primary on Tuesday. A Romney loss in his boyhood home state is likely to raise doubts within the GOP about his ability to clinch the Republican nomination.

His fresh line of attack against Santorum is a signal of just how personal the next stage of the race may become.

"I don't know if I've ever seen a politician explain in so many ways why he voted against his principles," Romney also told the Phoenix crowd.

The Santorum campaign is responding in kind with a tough new ad that paints the former Massachusetts governor as unprincipled. The ad, entitled "Say What," uses quotes from Romney's past indicating he once favored abortion rights.

Also see:

Five things we learned from Wednesday's debate

Detroit Free Press endorses Romney

Candidates enter critical phase after possible final debate

Obama to talk energy and gas prices at Miami speech

soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Food Fight! I guess this subject is important to the far right primary voter. The rest of us think it is juvenile pettiness.

    February 23, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  2. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    It's about time Romney started showing some FIGHT. We don't want somebody that is going to stand there and get bludgeoned by Obama and his leftist supporters in the LSM. We want somebody that will counter punch with devasting affect. Romney, please take a day or two off and lock yourself in a room with a good debater and learn how to sharpen your words and land them with deadly accuracy.

    February 23, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  3. Dave

    Yo Mitt, how come Rubio was ashamed to admit he was one of your cult members for so long????

    February 23, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Look at that picture of Mittens and the Catholic Saint.
    "I'm more patriotic!".
    "No, I am!".
    Teahadist traitors to the Republic.

    February 23, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  5. PJ/TX

    Santorum showed us what he really is. A weak minded, easily swayed, "team player" of the worst kind.
    "Bush made me do it". What a joke. Guess he could not meet with his Security Council each morning
    until he had first met with the tea party to get his marching orders. Yuk.

    February 23, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  6. Texas Doc

    Yeah, we need Mitt to come on out and be honest about everything. The American people will totally love his business experience, his experiences of growing up rich, and his deep commitment to his Mormon faith. these need to become bigger isues as htese are his strong points.

    February 23, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  7. logicnLA

    Santorum is so vuneralbe if his record is really looked at. I figure one more primary win, and he's will get the scrutiny he deserves.

    February 23, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Truth wrote:

    It's about time Romney started showing some FIGHT. We don't want somebody that is going to stand there and get bludgeoned by Obama and his leftist supporters in the LSM. We want somebody that will counter punch with devasting affect. Romney, please take a day or two off and lock yourself in a room with a good debater and learn how to sharpen your words and land them with deadly accuracy.
    --------------------–
    Good call. His cut team in the corner ain't doing such a good job after each knockdown. The man can talk in tongues, now. "Trees are the right height."

    Romney has already been bludgeoned by every right wing wannabe on the block. How many front runners have we had. Gotta give him credit, though. He keeps standing up for more, takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

    February 23, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  9. scottf

    Even the Reagan people think these guys are insane!

    February 23, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  10. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    Willard M. Romney has a political record, take a moment to look at it. The Republican Elites will stop at nothing to ensure that he wins the nomination.....Rent the Movie, "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington."

    February 23, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  11. Jules

    Romney ought to take it easy out there. He is starting to look like a really arrogant nasty son of a gun. He is not a nice guy.

    February 23, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  12. Jules

    Truth and nothing but the truth – you must be supporting President Obama because that is the only place you are hearing the truth. These GOP contenders have told so many lies that they probably don't even recognize themselves – well, except for Ron Paul and his ideas are just plain wacko, but he does speak forthrightly.

    February 23, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  13. Woman In California

    This coming from the most impaired candidate running in the republican party. Willard has spent over $35 million dollars just RUNNING and still can't secure the nomination. The others to their pathethic credit have not been running for five years and have not spent nearly the amount of money he has. Is this Willard's plan for America? IF it is – no thank you. I'll vote for our current president AGAIN. At least I know what direction he wants to take us in as you sir are no genius and certainly no fiscal economic conservative.

    February 23, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  14. Thomas

    The only way to defeat Obama is at the Gas Pump.

    GOP Big Oil .

    Santorum and Romney , same team !

    February 23, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  15. ST

    @ Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Romney, please take a day or two off and lock yourself in a room with a good debater and learn how to sharpen your words and land them deadly accuracy.
    -----------------
    Oh boy! you never teach the old dog new techniques. Your man has been learning more than half a decade now. If he was not able to master then, he can't do it now. It is not in his blood!

    February 23, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  16. Myth Romney is soo Plastic and FAKE he makes Callista Gingrinch looks REAL

    Ron Paul is despicable!!!....Yes, he IS!!!

    First off, he is carrying water for Myth MorNey!...collecting donations from his "frothing-in-the-mouth" lemmings and making campaign ads attacking everyone that has been a front-runner but Romney; first Rick Perry, then Newt Gingrinch and now Santorum!

    Not that I care about any of the GOP candidates, but it is disingenous for Ron Paul followers to be supporting him while he is having a "bromance" with Myth MorNEY.

    No surprise he is been treated like a mini Mitt Romney sidekick – alsways parroting whatever Mitt Romney says and taking body blows for him!!

    True Ron Paul Libertarian supporters should be ASHAMED OF WHAT RON PAUL IS DOING...and they should rightfully demand that their campiagn donations be refunded back to them, because Ron Paul is just running for a selfish reason or to make Mitt Romney the GOP nominee!

    Ron Paul is NO different from the GOP establishment elite....he is being payed and bought off by Mitt Romney and he is sacrificing his pricincles on the alter of croynism and mediocrity!!!!

    MONEY BOMB FOR RON PAUL AND YOUR GET A FREE MITT ROMNEY AD!!!

    RON PAUL – BOUGHT AND PAYED FOR BY MITT ROMNEY!!!!!

    February 23, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  17. Wes / MD

    Who won last nights debate? Why none other than President Obama. Paul did good but is to far outside the mainstream to even matter. Newt did good but the damage to his campaign has already been done. He's toast. Santorum showed his true colors last night and proved that he is not a leader, but a follower and his fall from grace is all but inevitable. Romney was solid like usual but he still lacks the skills to go toe to toe with President Obama in the General Election. Even worse to Romney or whoever gets the nomination is that the economy is on the uptick and the state of our economy is making visible signs of improvement, and to add to all this it looks to be a long time before the Republican party picks a nominee. All the time the Repubs are waisting to come together under one person the more time the President can prepare and use all the information dug up in this ugly fought primary as well as save money becuase he is uncontested for the democratic nomination. In the end after all of the GOP's efforts to oust the President the one thing they forgot to do was get a candidate that can actually Beat President Obama because as it stands right now Obama would mop the floor with any of these guys

    February 23, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    "I don't know if I've ever seen a politician explain in so many ways why he voted against his principles," Romney also told the Phoenix crowd.
    -------------------
    Considering that Romney has no principles himself other than to win at any cost, he should probably just shut up.

    February 23, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  19. ART

    Does Santorum have a back bone?

    February 23, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  20. ST

    I don't understand at all why Ron Paul is betraying his supporters. It has been so painful to watch him during debates, he never touch Romney at all. Yesterday night debate was so obvious, thus even if you are blind you could notice right away. So sad!

    February 23, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  21. GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE

    "My team is the American people not the insiders in Washington and I'll fight for the people of America not special interests,"
    -----------------------------------------------
    Tell that to the people you fired Willard. I don't know who you're fighting for. It certainly isn't the middle class. Then you have the audacity to say this: "I don't know if I've ever seen a politician explain in so many ways why he voted against his principles." Look in the mirror moron and you'll find your answer.

    February 23, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  22. GROVER NORQUIST IS AN ENEMY OF THE STATE

    On another note, my question was asked in the debate last night. It was the question regarding arming the rebellion in Syria. I waited and waited for someone to answer the question directly, but none of them did except Ron Paul because he simply opposes war. But as far as Willard, Rick & Newton go, they dodged the question.#thatisall

    February 23, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  23. Arthur

    Romney or I call him Mitt the flip and flipping people off is not presidential. last night when santorum was speaking he openly admitted he was daydreaming telling santorum well I was not paying complete attention! Interesting you want to be president and you day dream ? very disrespectful. And his comment to John King, you ask the question and I will give you any answer I please, arrogant is a kind word here ! Finally the Detroit Free press endorsement, deleted the paragrah about the auto bail out. Do we want a guy like this? who is disrespectful , arrgoant?? no vote for mitt here !!

    February 23, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  24. R

    @ Anonymous
    "Considering that Romney has no principles himself other than to win at any cost, he should probably just shut up."

    Of course he wants to win at any cost; that's the only thing any politician cares about. As a result they will say or do just about anything to ensure that they win. Maybe someday, politicians will come to realize that and start doing what is the right thing to do, not do the right thing for themselves.

    February 23, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  25. johnmenacherjr

    Splat and the clowns are off !! One is wearing ashes as a sign of his pride gee I was raised that was a sin.

    February 23, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
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