Santorum hits Romney as Michigan campaign heats up
February 25th, 2012
10:26 AM ET
2 years ago

Santorum hits Romney as Michigan campaign heats up

(CNN) - Rick Santorum's assault on rival Mitt Romney continued Saturday in Romney's home state of Michigan, the site of a hotly contested presidential primary that has the potential to transform the GOP race for the White House.

Speaking to a crowd in St. Clair Shores, Santorum ripped into Romney for his role in implementing a state-wide health care plan as governor of Massachusetts that resembles the Affordable Care Act, dubbed by Republicans "Obamacare."

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"We have one candidate that opposed government run healthcare, one candidate that opposed the hoax and politicization of science," Santorum said. "We have another candidate that bought it. Not only bought it but did things as governor of Massachusetts. It's laughable for Gov. Romney to suggest that I am not a conservative. It is absolutely laughable for a liberal governor of Massachusetts suggest that I am not the conservative in this race."

Romney and Santorum are both campaigning in Michigan Saturday ahead of Tuesday's primary. Romney, who was born in Michigan and whose father served as the state's governor, later moved to Massachusetts.

The Romney campaign deployed surrogates, including State Rep. Aric Nesbitt, to the event to rebut Santorum's remarks. Romney's team used the tactic in Florida to rattle Newt Gingrich's campaign staff, but Saturday appeared to be the first time Romney surrogates had followed Santorum.

Santorum urged voters to think hard on whether or not they could trust Romney to stick to conservative ideals when the race turns to a competition against President Barack Obama.

"Folks, this is an issue of trust," Santorum said.

Responding to Santorum's comments, Romney's campaign lobbed the charge that the former Pennsylvania senator was compensating for a poor debate Wednesday in Arizona.

"Rick Santorum is a Washington insider who is lashing out at Mitt Romney because he had a terrible debate performance," Romney campaign spokesperson Andrea Saul said, referring to CNN’s Arizona Republican debate on Wednesday. "Back in 2008, Sen. Santorum endorsed Mitt Romney for president because of Mitt's 'conservative' record. Now, Rick's changed his tune. This sounds like another case of Rick Santorum abandoning his principles for his own political advantage."

In his remarks, Santorum expounded on his stance that colleges and universities "indoctrinate" students with liberal propaganda, saying Obama's plan to increase the number of college students revealed an elitist attitude toward vocational education.

"The President of the United States said the other day that every child should go to college," Santorum said. "Why? Because you want to indoctrinate them into the liberal stuff they teach them in college? Every child shouldn't have go to college because not every child wants to go to college or needs to go to college. They need to get training to do a good job but they don't need to go and be indoctrinated by liberal professors."

Santorum also pointed to an alliance he sees forming between Romney and fellow candidate Ron Paul, a congressman from Texas. Santorum first floated the notion of a partnership between the two following CNN's Republican debate in Arizona Wednesday.

"The coordination that I felt at the debate the other night was pretty clear," Santorum said. "I felt like messages were being slipped behind my chair and stuff like that. It is pretty remarkable that in twenty debates Ron Paul has never attacked Mitt Romney and that when he's run his commercials in states, first he ran all his ads attacking Rick Perry, then he ran all of his ads attacking Newt Gingrich, then he ran all his ads attacking Rick Santorum. He's running ads here in Michigan. He's not even campaigning in Michigan."

CNN's Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.

Also see:

Newly released Palin e-mails show frustration and discussion of her marital status

Obama and Republican trade blame on gas prices in weekly addresses

No laugh track needed: Romney in Kalamazoo

Gingrich ridicules Obama over bailouts, energy plan, Afghanistan


Filed under: 2012 • Michigan • Rick Santorum
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. rcw

    So now we shouldn't send our kids to college. Because the devil teaches there, sounds like he watched to much of fhe movie the Water Boy.

    February 25, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  2. Wobbly Walker

    Santorum was a pro-choice candidate that turned pro-life candidate when first running for congress (the other candidate was pro-choice also so no advantage to Santorum if he stayed pro-choice). He votes against his principles for big government programs that overreach and now is desperately lashing out at Romney. Santorum endorsed Romney because he was a conservative we can trust (even with Romenycare already in place) now said fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. Romney's campaign is right in that Santorum will say anything that is politically expedient, as confirmed by Specter said Santorum lied about the agreement.

    February 25, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  3. s

    lil ricky go find lucy

    February 25, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    We have one republican candiate proposing a moon colony criticizing our president about bailing out the American auto industry, one corporate raider and tax evader complaining about jobs, and then 'this one' who thinks the Pope's policies are to liberal trying to impose his own crazy religious beliefs on all Americans.

    February 25, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  5. ren

    He reminds me of the Cheshire cat, a big wide smile while plotting his next line of BS. Unless he paid good money for those teeth and wants to get some mileage out of them. His toothy smile is disingenuous.

    February 25, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  6. JnCnde

    I can't believe he is trying to say their is some Romney-Paul conspiracy. Maybe Ron Paul actually knows Romney's record and won't lie about it like Santorum. Maybe Paul doesn't take the twisted snips that the media trys to use against Romney as fact to create a story. Maybe Paul already knows Santorum and Gingrich are the real liars.

    February 25, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  7. SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

    Now here is a complete Hitler look alike minus the moustache, but with the same ideology.

    February 25, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  8. Shelby

    "Folks, this is an issue of trust," Santorum said."
    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    Who the heck can trust Santorum? He is the man who married a woman who had dated an abortion doctor! But this should be no surprise as we have learned that Santorum was PRO-CHOICE before running for Congress.

    I would suggest that Santo look in the mirror before attempting to trash Romney on trust issues.

    February 25, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  9. SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

    Now here is a complete Hitler look alike minus the moustache, but with the same extreme far right ideology.

    February 25, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  10. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    The auto bailout worked, why are the pubes in denial?

    February 25, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  11. Becky

    Is there ever a time when things don't go his way that he doesn't whine and whine? This guy can't help himself!

    February 25, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  12. Wobbly Walker

    SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

    Now here is a complete Hitler look alike minus the moustache, but with the same extreme far right ideology.
    ------------------------------------------–

    That reminded me when I was in high school and my history teacher said that Hitler would wear outfits that makes him stand out from everybody else. I'm not implying Santorum is anything like Hitler, just that his sweater-vests stands out.

    February 25, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  13. judy

    unfortunatly all the repo candidates are not very smart. I have been reading a lot of articals and if the writer says anything even a little negitive about a republican all the people write in that the news is bias and liberial . Wise up guys maybe the writters are just right. The repos ar a bunch of nut jobs who do not understand foreign policy or economics. They have no idea what diplomacy is. Newt is a wild card that says all kinds of crazy stuff. Mitt keeps saying he is a business man who saved the olympics. Yeah by borrowing money from the government. Rick wants to save souls from burning in hell and has a dooms day message. Paul wants everyone to do their own thing and chill out. Not one has the temperment to be a president and God help us if one of them get's in. I see massive layoffs an potential war and womens rights trampled into the ground. I am surprised more writters arent' telling it like it is. The only good choice is to stick with the one adult running. Our president. Who does get it.Obama 2012

    February 25, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  14. T'sah from Virginia

    ►It's laughable for Gov. Romney to suggest that I am not a conservative.
    It is absolutely laughable for [MITTens to] suggest that I am not the conservative in this race."◄
    It’s “laughable” that Santorum thinks he is the answer to the entire country’s face
    And it’s “laughable” that YOU, Santorum, think YOU will be President of the United States!!!

    Obama 2012!!

    February 25, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  15. Linda

    How can Christians be against health care reform that helps young people, old people, all people get the health care that should be a right and something that everybody supports? WE pay for Santantrum's health care and a hefty retirement. Romney did a great thing for people with his health care plan just as Obama has done. It 's like we live in 'opposite world" with these nuts.

    February 25, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  16. honeybe

    Judy – Before you make a blanket statement about a group of people not being very smart – take a look at your own atrocious spelling!

    February 25, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |