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. Donaldbain

    So the Republican solution to health care is that it is bad if everyone has it?, and this being the case, they must cancel anything Obama said or did while in office? These are not solutions, just equations to bigger problems. Health care is an issue, what is your plan? Jobs are an issue, what is your plan? Crime, drugs, immigration and foreign policy also require a plan of action. So what is it? The answer is, none of them have actual plans to do anything except point out where the last guy went wrong. You know, the same thing they accuse Obama of doing to Bush. Fail. Who the hell is voting for Santorum anyway? The man is clearly unbalanced and is the most dangerous person ever to compete for the office of President of the US. If he, Newt or Paul is on the ticket it will be an easy Obama victory.

    March 6, 2012 05:11 am at 5:11 am |
  2. works4me

    Why does Santorum always look like someone just beat him up for his lunch money?

    March 6, 2012 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
  3. Marie MD

    It's not healthcare that sanatorium is talking about as much as contraception for women. It seems that he has been under the rock this past week. If advertisers and even a radio station in Hawaii have cut ties with him (it's not over yet) this nitwit still doesn't get it!
    The biggest issue of today, not the 60s, is the economy and people's jobs. Dumb behind that he is!

    March 6, 2012 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  4. Ryan

    Santorum just needs to bend over and take it like a man.

    March 6, 2012 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  5. ARTRaveler

    Let's see, Rick. Romney has made a few Republicans mad by not being crazy enough. Rick, you just dissed over 51% of the voting public with your stands on women's rights. Maybe, you should just be quiet and let us guess whether you are crazy rather than start talking and confirm that you are crazy.

    March 6, 2012 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  6. Robert

    Santorum is just the latest in a long line of idiots using religion to rally support for economic/political agendas.

    March 6, 2012 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  7. Whatsthematterwithus

    Soooo tired of all of this . Have one of them leading the country !!? HA!

    March 6, 2012 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  8. The Elephant In The Room

    But Rick . . . you are weaker!

    Not smart to slam somebody with a label that more accurately defines you!

    March 6, 2012 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  9. clarke

    okay, so let me understand, It's Obama's fault for not calling Mitt regarding health care, so Mitt could tell him don't do it. Well Mtt, I guess you are the "weakest link".

    March 6, 2012 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  10. Bev

    sorry rick i think you would be the weakest candidate

    March 6, 2012 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  11. Anthony

    Romney is running again on his "inevitability." At some point the Republican voters must be tiring of the "inevitability" argument. What good is "inevitability" if Romney trails Obama in polls such as the Rasmussen poll, which is known to favor Republicans? What good is electing Romney if he is the Republican candidate most similar to Obama, except that his tax plan will increase the deficits more than current (meaning Obama's) policy?

    March 6, 2012 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  12. Terry

    I am not a Santorum fan, but he is correct. Romney is a weak candidate going forward. This is not good for the GOP.

    March 6, 2012 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  13. diridi

    None of these four clown are worthy candidates and none will beat Obama. They do not have any kind of agenda for this nation and only agenda is to diss Obama and nag at the progress made by him ex; Fin. Reg. Reform, Health Care, Consumer Protection, DADT, Etc, Etc, These are very needed reforms. We need also Banking Regulation and Nationalization of Oil companies. Period.

    March 6, 2012 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  14. William

    This is an example of the candidate with the "weakest mind" calling another candidate the "weakest candidate".

    March 6, 2012 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  15. TonyInNYC

    I would rather hear Rick Santorum list the failures of the Massachusetts health care program than his putdowns of Romney. So far, it seems like Romney will be able to address any issues that might be raised about the program and answer any questions about it in the fall.

    March 6, 2012 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  16. tykl

    The 'weakest candidate?" Does he mean the one with the most delegates and about twice as many as his? And health care is the biggest issue of the day? Romney will repeal Obamacare so that is not an issue – the economy/jobs/deficit are the biggest issues. Rick may need to read some polls about peoples' concerns. It sounds like the double-talk Washington-speake that comes so easily to Rick is in full swing.

    March 6, 2012 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Mitt Romney cannot run on health care reform in the fall. He has been gravely misleading the conservative voters for a year on where he has stood on the MA health care reform law's individual mandate and whether or not it should a national policy. He wrote a 2009 USA Today op-ed advocating that the Obama administration embrace the original conservative idea of individual mandates. Romney has a serious problem because his op-ed piece totally contradicts what he says today about where he has always stood on the issue of individual mandates.

    March 6, 2012 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    "He won't be able to ignore and avoid answering the questions in the fall," Santorum cautioned
    ------------------------
    Sounds like the "weakest link" has conceded already.
    Obama 2012.

    March 6, 2012 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  19. GOP Strategist

    Rick Sanboredom is the poster child for whining candidates, and the GOP is quite literally sick of him and wish he would just go away. To label Romney weak when Santorum's inept campaign fails to do the basic paperwork to be on the full ballot in Virginia, in Ohio, and in Tennessee is laughable. Senator ("I lost me reelection by 36 points") Santorum is a DC insider who voted liberal to appease his liberal PA state base, and who voted against his principles time and again to be "on the DC team" - is a big spending pork barrel DC career politico who should retire, as his days in government ended with his last failed reelection attempt in his home state,

    March 6, 2012 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  20. Wake up people

    What I don't understand is with so many American citizens that lost their health coverage when they lost their jobs during the Shrub years, why is health coverage for everyone a bad thing?? My goodness are the Repubs saying only people with money deserve health care?? Why is THIS such a bad thing?? From 2006 until 2008, I watched the compact company I worked for struggle. By 2008, they had to lay off 70% of the workers due to the price of steel doubling. Everyone lost their health care. Don't we deserve to be healthy also?? I can't believe how selfish the citizens of the US are. Doesn't Canada have a health care plan and isn't it working?

    March 6, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  21. Miki801

    Santorum projects a crusade for a game change in the basic faith and morals of the U.S. The president can lead by good example in this, however, even he does not have the power to legislate morality, nor should he. The founding fathers designed separation of powers so that each branch of government has a part in a law. Proposals go through two houses of congress, are reviewed by the president, (either signed or vetoed), and often the supreme court rules on it. A president can only do so much. Statements that "I am going to do this or that on my first day in office" are just empty promises. With all of this hot air, global warming will be increased.

    March 6, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  22. Sue

    The article quotes Romney as saying:
    "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.

    Wow. That's really confidence-inspiring.

    This is the best that the GOP can do? Really?

    March 6, 2012 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  23. PM Ohio

    You're talking about the strongest kid in the chess club calling the weakest one names. They are all weak. The GOP is banking on gas prices reversing the recovery, so people will be angry by November. They have no ideas, just faith based rhetoric. No ideas for jobs, immigration, thier forgien policy is to go to war and bully people around, they talk about smaller Gov't but want to invade our personal lives with more intrusion. They talk about the tax and spend liberals, but they want to spend without taxing the rich, causing skyrocketing deficits. The neo-cons had the White House for 8 years and they started two unfunded wars and increased the size of the Federal Gov't and caused the financial mess we are now in. Do we really want to go back to that?

    March 6, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  24. Fair is Fair

    "We need also Banking Regulation and Nationalization of Oil companies. Period."
    ------–
    And there you have it – support for "nationalization" of private industry straight from the mouth of an ardent Obama supporter. Man, is this country going down the tubes or what?

    March 6, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  25. vatoloke

    Truth to the matter is not even collectively, can this bunch make a better candidate for POTUS than the person already there. President Obama for four more.

    March 6, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
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