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. The Greedy Old Pigs declared class war on US!

    "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?"

    Actually, it's you radical rightwing extremists that complain the president needs to do something about oil prices. Other than reining in speculators (which your GOBP deathcult opposes) the only other method is nationalization. So, what's your solution?

    March 6, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  2. Randy, San Francisco

    To find the weakest candidate, Santorum should look in the mirror.

    March 6, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  3. Anonymous

    "Because Obama's has been extreme, too, and there aren't enough extremists on the Right to get anyone but Romney elected."

    LOL! President Obama is the best Republican president since Ike.

    March 6, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    My new name for these jokers: The Four Clowns of the Apocalypse.
    Obama 2012. Seriously America.

    March 6, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  5. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    Romney did a good thing for the state of Massachusetts. Why is he running away from that record? Do the GOP candidates understand that running for POTUS is not about party ideology, but what is good for the whole electorate? I do not think they do.

    March 6, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  6. Bill in Florida

    Hey GET REAL: Thanks for your morning laugh-of-the-day. Santorum beating Obama? Hahahahahahahaha!

    March 6, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  7. David

    I think the Economy is the most important issue of the day. Santorum has always been the candidate that I felt was most out of touch with Americans. The Republicans want to repeal health care, but what is their plan to insure those that are without health insurance. Santorum is an idiot if he doesn't think the most important issue is the economy and government deficit. They need fixed soon.

    March 6, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  8. Gordon Mano

    Father Santorum would turn the United States into a theocracy of biblical proportions if he were elected, thus ending what de Toqueville called the Great American Experiment.

    March 6, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  9. rs

    Depends on one's definition of "weakest". Sure Mr. Romney has some obvious people skills issues, and he doesn't look entirely comfortable in making appeals to the TEA Party rabids, but Mr. Santorum seems to be running a campaign solely on misogyny- a curious plan indeed as ther can't possibly be enough Catholic Bishops voting to counter the possible loss of the entire female vote. That, I think, is "weak".

    March 6, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  10. A not-so-stupid former republican

    Isn't it fun watching the republican clowns devour each other!

    March 6, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  11. Thomas

    @tstorm
    Is it just me, or does Santorum look like "Mr. Rogers" Neighborhood in the sweater vest?? What a joke!

    I think Mitt Romney looks more like Mr. Rogers .
    Santorum looks like a Fascist Ward Cleaver from the Leave it to Beaver show.

    March 6, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  12. Jo

    Rick Santorum is no friend to the party or the people of this great nation. He is so busy Tearing Down others, judging others, sending out edicts on how we should live our lives...he belongs behind a pulpit somewhere...hopefully no where near where intelligent people live. I am Catholic and believe that God welcomes and accepts ALL people. Somehow, Santorum missed that Sermon. Mitt is the stronger, better candidate to represent the future of this country, to lead us to growth, jobs, prosperity and pride in ourselves and America. He doesn't pander and manipulate or Whine..He Leads. He has good judgement and we need to trust in his decision making skills and leadership. Time to March on, put on boots and go Vote for MITT! and YOUR BRIGHT FUTURE!

    March 6, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  13. Paul1st

    Santorum needs to adopt as a campaign song the Rolling Stones "You may be right". Imagine Rick strolling up on stage to the lyrics "You may be right, I may be crazy, but I just might be the lunatic you're looking for..."

    March 6, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  14. Laurie in Spokane

    Santorum or Romney are equally weak. One is wishy-washy and belongs to a giant religious cult, and the other is so extremely conservative, and anti-female as to be laughable. Either one as candidate for POTUS can only be beneficial to Obama and other democrats, which is a fine thing.

    March 6, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  15. Fair is Fair

    "Actually, it's you radical rightwing extremists that complain the president needs to do something about oil prices. Other than reining in speculators (which your GOBP deathcult opposes) the only other method is nationalization. So, what's your solution?"
    -------–
    You cannot "reign in speculators" in a free market economy. Ans there are MANY other things that can be done. Start with the construction of 50 new nuclear plants to show the market wew're serious about an energy policy. Open up the 97% of promising lands that are currently off limits to exploration. Alaska and the Dakotas are believed to have hundreds of billions of barrells of oil that is recoverable. Use natural gas as a bridge to eventually get off fossil fuels.

    Nationalization? Seriously??? You know, food prices are a bit high right now... why not nationalize the entire agriculture industry while your at it?

    March 6, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  16. Chumlee

    Santorum needs to be committed – what a total idiot – does not say much for those who are rallying behind this
    freak.

    Obama 2012

    March 6, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  17. mm

    Santorum, you are the weakest link!

    March 6, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  18. Freddo

    Oh boy – are we giving out superlatives for candidates Mr. Satanorum?

    I'd award you ... most religiously oppressive ... or most idiotic. Your choice.

    Rick Santorum ... take your religious views ... and keep them to yourself. No one in public office has the right to dictate policy based on THEIR religious views. Which is why, thankfully, you'll never make it to President.

    March 6, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  19. Daydreamer

    Rick, you look a little tired....maybe punch drunk. How did the morning after pill become the most important issue? I'm rooting for you, Rick! You would have no chance whatsoever in the fall. None. Zilch. Nada. Zippo.

    March 6, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  20. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Gordon Mano – Father Santorum would turn the United States into a theocracy of biblical proportions if he were elected, thus ending what de Toqueville called the Great American Experiment.
    =========================================================================================
    Oh honestly, get a grip! I doubt he would be anywhere near the unconstitutional law breaking President that Obama is. It is scary to think he actually taught college courses on the topic and yet knows almost nothing about it.

    March 6, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  21. The Real Tom Paine

    What do conservative bloggers really know about the Constitution? From the comments I've seen from the usual cast of characters, not a whole hell of a lot. 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.

    March 6, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  22. John

    The entire GOP brand is damaged goods and Barbara Bush is truthful enough to admit it. Lots of luck with the women's vote thanks to Rush more than anybody.

    March 6, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  23. Nancy

    @Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Remind us all what Ivy League University you studied Constitutional Law at. The GOP is a religious Taliban and it's been evolving into that for years-they boxed themselves. LOL Pat Robinson led the pack. Google it sometime.

    March 6, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  24. Matt

    Santorum is right on that one but he's in no position to celebrate because he's the dumbest. And Barbara Bush is pretty mad with all the clowns.

    March 6, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  25. bl4ck0utsUn

    I have for the most part tried to avoid the circus! However, it is difficult to ignore when the media publicizes every outragous comment made by these twits! The GOP collectively have alienated persons of ethnicity, those making less than $100,000 a year, and finally females. When the cacisus are over, and the real ellection takes place when the young people making less than $100,000 a year, persons of ethnicity run to the poles between jobs, and women who won the right to vote 100 yrs ago cast their ballot, seeing the faces of the GOP's (grey old pigs) will be priceless! OBAMA BY A LANDSLIDE!

    March 6, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
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