Romney backer: Santorum's 'lost his discipline'
March 26th, 2012
12:48 PM ET
3 years ago

Romney backer: Santorum's 'lost his discipline'

(CNN) – A top Mitt Romney surrogate skewered Rick Santorum Monday for his recent contentious interaction with a reporter, saying it proves he does not have the temperament to serve as president.

"Sen. Santorum has lost his personal discipline and self control in the process," former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu said on a conference call with reporters. "It's one thing to lose your temper at a New York Times reporter and it's another to have to deal with the pressures of folks on the international stage and even opposing Congressional leaders."

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

Santorum engaged in a heated exchange with The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny after a campaign event Sunday.

Zeleny asked Santorum if he thinks Mitt Romney is the "worst Republican in the country to run against Obama," something the candidate said while campaigning in Wisconsin. In response, Santorum said "I didn't say that. You guys are distorting what I'm saying … Quit distorting my words. It's bulls***."

At a campaign stop shortly before the questioning, Santorum, speaking about health care, said, "Why would we put someone up who is uniquely - pick any other Republican in the country. He is the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama. Why would Wisconsin want to vote for someone like that?"

Sununu, a former White House chief of staff, characterized the interaction as another "outburst" from the former Pennsylvania senator who "speaks before he thinks."

"You need to be able to handle your messaging. It's temperament that makes people want to follow the leader," Sununu said. "Outbursts in the last few days have in my opinion disqualified him completely on that aspect."

Sununu also accused Santorum of running on "ego and emotion" and "dragging the process out," ahead of the April 3 Wisconsin primary.

"I just hope what we expect to be strong results coming out of Wisconsin will help remind him that it's time to rally around Gov. Romney as the nominee," Sununu said.

Later Monday, in an interview with CNN, Santorum brushed aside suggestions that the recent kerfuffle proves he's unsuited to be president.

"After I won Louisiana by 23 points?" Santorum told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "I understand the game but this is, you talk about desperate and pathetic, Mitt Romney can't run on his record."


Filed under: 2012 • John Sununu • Mitt Romney • Rick Santorum
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    You can't control crazy, just like you can't discipline stupid.

    March 26, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens thinks that discipline is the ability to lie so much, that no one knows what your values are.

    March 26, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  3. Michael B

    Real Christian, Santorum. Real Christian...

    March 26, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. Michael Herrmann

    I don't understand why Rick Santorum is mentioned all of the time, that is probably why he continues to pull off some wins,
    I googled facebook likes to look up candidate populartiy on facebook and the results were:
    Romney with 1,549,000 likes on facebook and Ron Paul with 922000 likes.
    That makes sense.
    HERE is the strange part: Newt Gingrich only has 296,000 likes and Rick Santorum only has 187,000 likes on facebook. Figure that one out.

    March 26, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  5. Claudia, Phoenix, AZ

    If Santorum isn't disciplined now while campaigning against Romney his own fellow Republican wait until he's in the hot seat with President Obama.

    March 26, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  6. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Sununu said. "Outbursts in the last few days have in my opinion disqualified him completely on ..."

    True enough, John... "I bet you $10,000.." that you buddy "Corporations are people too..." Mitt has never got flustered nor lost his cool... Oh, wait...

    March 26, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  7. diridi

    Santorum and Romney both Lost their BRAIN. Idiots.

    March 26, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  8. Davis W

    Santorum should dropout the sooner the better.

    March 26, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  9. Core republican Values

    Its super to see republicans rip each other apart for the cheap, self-serving rhetoric. None of them has any integrity.

    March 26, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  10. Matt

    I think that poor Santorum is losing His nerves. He's tried so hard to overcome Romney's status as the front runner and actual nominee that now that he sees that despite his efforts he is going to lose he starts letting his mask fall and is showing his true temperament and character.

    March 26, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  11. GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE

    Ayatollah Santorum is not the guy I would vote for, but I'd pick him over Willard simply for the fact that he stands by his convictions. Santorum should have not bit his tongue. He said it and should stand by what he said. Willard is a Etch-A-Sketch republican who will say anything to get elected. Period!

    March 26, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  12. informed voter

    I think we are seeing the real Santorum, and it's an ugly sight. He's a profane liar and unfit to be president. Thank God for President Obama. He has led us away from the Bush recession, killed Bin Laden, saved GM, ended DODT, passed ACA, stock market is back to pre-recession highs, America is once again a respected world power. Obama 2012, seriously.

    March 26, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  13. Valentina

    Finally someone said – THANK YOU Gov. Sununu! It hurts to watch Santorum desperately trying to save his crumbling to dust campaign – he's becoming a joke in this presidential process and he needs to quit.

    March 26, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  14. anagram_kid

    He also lacks empathy, sympathy, basic human decency, intelligence, critical thinking skills, logic, honesty, integrity and the ability to make rational decisions.

    Obama 2012

    March 26, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  15. Frank, the ever-living!

    Santorum's lost his discipline? Rick Santorum has lost his MIND! And, he lost it quite some time ago.

    When will this LOSER get the message that most people don't like him and that he will NEVER (EVER) get the GOP nomination? He would do better to just return to Pennsylvania and run for mayor or dog catcher of some small town.

    March 26, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  16. Frank, the ever-living!

    And, ain't it funny how he becomes enraged when someone quotes him verbatim? He calls BS on a reporter for just repeating what he said. Hmmmm, wouldn't that make Santorum a LIAR? Yeah, I said it.

    March 26, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  17. politics as usual

    Sununu is absolutely right. It's one thing to disagree with a reporter's take on what you said, but Santorum has proven that he is nothing but a scold. The way he went on and on was embarrassing. You could see it in his daughter's eyes and you could see in in the secret serviceman's eyes. If he gets this upset with a reporter, what is he going to do in a REAL crisis?

    March 26, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. Ese Franklin

    I totally agree that Rick has lost his discipline and temperament. He was seen as the most disciplined of all the GOP contenders. He has changed in recent times. He gets everyone appalled as the nomination race progresses. Could it possibly be that he has chosen Newt as his role model? Newt is quick to anger. Period.

    March 26, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  19. royboy

    Santorum's right, they can't stop him hahahahaha.

    March 26, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    Lack of discipline? Remember Sununu taking government vehicles so he could attend stamp auctions in NYC during Bush 41's administration? If I were him, I would be far more concerned about Romney rampant foot-in-mouth disease and utter lack of authenticity.

    March 26, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  21. Celeste

    By the way, I am tired of my tax dollars paying for Santorum security! Reimburse America that $150,000.00 dollars or more a day that you are using for nothing, you should pay for your own security until you are the Republican nominee! You are just like that other no good Republicans’ who lie and cry about the deficit until it benefits YOU!

    Santorum is a stinky angry mad man who operates like the definition of his name. You can easily equate Santorum to al-Qaeda and the Taliban. If you keep giving stinky a platform to spread his fluids, venom and lies after he screws and throw everyone under the bus, then women especially will see his version of Sharia-law in the U.S.A.; low wages and no health care, while he gets free Viagra.
    WHO IS REALLY THE SNOB! He uses real vulnerable and delicate people to tell those lies about our wonderful President, because your President wants everyone progressing and standing on their feet; while Rick Stinky name Santorum lies and try and keep you down! He is a big mouth coward moving the crowd like a used car salesman on anti-depression medicine. America sends that distasteful troll to the moon with Newt! We can’t have Santorum, an unstable mentally challenged man, running for President! The job is hard enough and stressful!
    REMEMBER AMERICA, his own state knew exactly what he was and sent him home from Washington!
    I am tired of his noise! Santorum message is diluted fecal matter like the definition of his name!

    March 26, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  22. Mike B

    Lost his discipline? He lost his mind years ago.

    March 26, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  23. ARMYCSM

    Don't worry your litttle head Rick baby, Non of your adversaries will be able to beat President Obama. You all slop at the same troth.

    March 26, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  24. Randy, San Francisco

    Santorum is a loose cannon like Palin and Bachmann. You can't trust him to answer the 3 am hot line call when an international incident happens.

    March 26, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  25. The Real Tom Paine

    You can't lose something you never had.

    March 26, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
1 2