March 5th, 2012
09:53 PM ET
2 years ago

Santorum hits Romney as 'weakest candidate'

(CNN) – On the eve of Super Tuesday, Rick Santorum took one final swipe at chief rival Mitt Romney during a campaign stop Monday in the battleground state of Ohio.

"He would be the weakest candidate we could possibly put forward on the most important issue of today," Santorum said, referring to health care.

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The Republican presidential candidate spent much of his day targeting the former Massachusetts governor over the Bay State's health care program, which critics hit as a blueprint for President Barack Obama's federal health care reform.

The two candidates are locked in a neck-and-neck race as they sprint toward the finish line in Ohio's primary on Tuesday. According to a new CNN/ORC International poll released Monday, both Romney and Santorum have the backing of 32% of likely GOP primary voters in the state.

The former senator argued Romney has been "misleading" in his campaign when he defends the Massachusetts health care program as legislation that worked in his state, but would oppose a federally-backed health care system.

To hammer home his point, Santorum cites a 2009 op-ed by Romney in USA Today, in which Romney boasted of his state's health care program and offered suggestions on how the president could learn from the Massachusetts plan.

Santorum, who strongly takes issue with Romney's plan, accused the former governor on Monday of now being evasive in his position on health care while on the campaign trail.

"He won't be able to ignore and avoid answering the questions in the fall," Santorum cautioned.

Romney, meanwhile, frequently argues against Obama's health care program, distinguishing the Massachusetts model as one that was tailor-made for the state and passed with bipartisan support, unlike Obama's plan, which he says was "forced" through Congress and interferes too heavily in the private sector.

At a campaign stop in Youngstown, Ohio, on Monday, Romney further laid out his defense on the issue of health care.

"Mr. President one more thing: Why didn't you call me when you were working on this thing? Why didn't you pick up the phone and say, 'Is what you are doing in Massachusetts a good model for the nation?' And I'd have said, 'No, no. What you are doing is wrong. It's going to make a mess,'" Romney said.

Also see:

Poll: All tied up in Tennessee

Romney gets backing from key Republicans

Barbara Bush robo calls for Romney

Romney, Santorum tied in Ohio


Filed under: 2012 • Health care • Mitt Romney • Ohio • Rick Santorum
soundoff (109 Responses)
  1. cali girl

    They should put out a commercial.. Show the frying pan and say , "this is your brain". Add the egg and waych it fry. Then say, " this is your GOP brain". Just say no. When you see the frying pan and the egg coming, just say no. That is how easy it is for any GOP candidate. Get ready, here comes an idea from the president, ooh, ups, NO! Robmey says his medical plan for his state is the best in the world. Even claims the president followed his idea. Yet the President didn't call you to discuss it, so now it is a bad idea for the country. Make up your mind. And oh, by the way, Obama follwed the idea set forth by Kennedy, who before he died had fought hard for health care for all. That is the model the president followed.

    March 6, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  2. Lisa P

    Even though Romney is the only one currently in the race that I consider to be even a vaguely plausible candidate for President I'm starting to hope that Santorum gets the nomination because I think this "not conservative enough" nonsense needs to be put to rest with a crushing electoral defeat. I'm tired of the way it's skewed our politics, and all the really bad, unworkable and dangerous ideas that are being put forward and seriously supported by the clown party because of some idiotic notion that their defeat in 2008 was because they weren't ideological enough. I say great, nominate the extremist wacko, watch President Obama get re-elected with an 80% majority and then slink back into your corner and shut your mouths while the grown-ups try to solve the problems as best they can (pretty and pure, or not - it's a tough world out there; I'd be happy if we could just stick to our Constitution, forget imposing the partisan religious dogma on real-world concerns).

    March 6, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  3. Fair is Fair

    @ Tom Paine -

    "The inability of so many on the right to recognize that their side has spent far more time and energy over the last 30 years proposing amendments to limit rights than the left tells me they are the ones determined to set artificial boundries on our freedom."
    --------
    OK, Tom... I'm curious. Can you elaborate on exactly what "ammendments" you're referring to? I mean seriously... earlier in this thread 2 separate bloggers on the left were writing of the benefits of NATIONALIZING private industry. Now if that's not an infringement on our rights, what exactly is?

    March 6, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. fernace

    They are both weak; Santorum for his continuing effort to disenfranchise womens healthcare, bashing birthcontrol, while saying not a peep about mens Viagara coverage; Romney for not supporting his own prototype for Universal Healthcare for All Americans! The fact that he worries more about the "standing & adverse effect" on private Insurance companies, which are making a "killing" on the backs of working class citizens, while driving healthcare coverage thru the roof, due in large to poor govt oversight, than he does about the millions of un-insured Americans, who die from treatable diseases or go into lifelong debt because of a simple surgery, lets me know where his loyalties lie! Obama next 4!!

    March 6, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  5. Valentina

    Shut up, Rick! No one is listening to you anymore! Be gone!

    March 6, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  6. JT

    Both are weak Rick the sick and Unfit Matt. No one cares............

    March 6, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  7. Stacey

    News flash, Mr. Santorum: You're just as weak as Romney. You represent the worst field of republican candidates for POTUS in my lifetime and none of you deserve to lead this nation. None of you.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    March 6, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. FRANK - LAS VEGAS

    I'm sure little Ricky does not want to hear this or admit it, but by far he is the weakest candidate of the current field if your goal is to win the POTUS. His extreme views on almost everything rule him out as a serious candidate, for almost any office, that's why he doesn't hold any office now. He lost his last election by almost 20 points! For America, little Ricky is completely wrong.

    March 6, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  9. FrankP

    Churchill once said that Americans inevitably do the right thing – after they've exhausted all the other possibilities. With these candidates the country is almost reached the end of the list.

    March 6, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
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