Santorum accuses reporter of 'harassing'
March 26th, 2012
09:23 AM ET
2 years ago

Santorum accuses reporter of 'harassing'

(CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Monday defended his profane comment directed at a New York Times reporter and used the interaction in a fundraising pitch.

"If you haven't cursed out a New York Times reporter during the course of a campaign, you're not really a real Republican's the way I look at it," Santorum said on Fox News. "It was just one of these harassing moments, and after having answered the question a few times, sort of comes back with the same old fashion, the same old spin."

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"I just said 'Okay, I've had enough of this you-know-what,'" he added.

Team Santorum invoked the back-and-forth in a fundraising email to supporters, asking them to contribute $30, what they said is the price of a subscription to the Times.

"I criticized Romney and Obama for their outrageous healthcare legislation. Predictably, I was aggressively attacked by a New York Times reporter all too ready to defend the two of them, and all too ready to distort my words," Santorum wrote in the email. "Let me assure you, I didn't back down, and I didn't let him bully me."

Santorum accused the Times' Jeff Zeleny of distorting his words following a question from the reporter Sunday night.

Zeleny asked Santorum if he thinks Mitt Romney is the "worst Republican in the country to run against Obama," something he 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***."

But shortly before the questioning, at a campaign stop in Racine, Wisconsin, Santorum 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?"

The former Pennsylvania senator has made criticism of the national health care law and its similarities to the plan passed while Romney served as governor of Massachusetts a centerpiece of his campaign.

His latest "worst Republican" charge came after he was criticized last week for suggesting there are so few differences between Romney and Obama that "we may as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk," with the Republican frontrunner.

In his defense, Santorum said he would never vote for the president, but that "Romneycare" makes his rival uniquely unqualified to run against Obama in the general election.

– CNN's Paul Steinhauser and Shawna Shepherd contributed to this report.

Also see:

Santorum: Romney 'worst Republican' to run against Obama

Ryan's open to V.P spot

Graham's 'comfortable' with Romney

Plouffe calls out GOP candidates over Obama reaction


Filed under: 2012 • Rick Santorum
soundoff (561 Responses)
  1. Dave, CA

    "If you haven't bashed gays, alienated women, obsessed over non issues during the course of a campaign, you're not really a real Republican's the way I look at it," Santorum said on Fox News.

    Fixed that for you Ricky.

    March 27, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  2. John

    Santorum is nothing but a punk and has never acted presidential.

    March 27, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  3. J.Crobuzon

    I think we can say that Santorum has shot his wad. He blew it. He shot and stepped back in it. Time to throw in the towel.

    March 27, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  4. Acaraho

    Santorum, we don't need another foul-mouthed Richard Nixon or Dick Cheney sitting in the highest offices of our nation. Just go away.

    March 27, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  5. Anne

    Is there anyone who HASN'T used that word. NO ONE is perfect. I'd venture to say most of the conservatives have used that word. If your slate is clean, good for you. My point is, the event happened. It's time to move on. Can we PLEASE get back to the REAL issue, the election!

    March 27, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  6. Steve Rice - Apalachin, NY

    Christian Fundamentalists – like Santorum – are every bit as scary and dangerous as Fundamentalists of Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or any other Faith. Perhaps more so, since they receive the support of so many frightened, uneducated and ignorant people in this Nation.
    They believe that their way is the ONE way and no other way can be right. Santorum's insistence that he was "Bullied" by a woman reporter reflects his "Council of Jacob" worldview. To him, women should be subservient and know that their place is in the home, not with a professional career – as certainly not questioning a White Male.
    His use of the term "Bully" to describe her asking him to clarify his statement about Romney is sick, twisted and an affront to anyone who has ever truly been intimidated and abused by someone more powerful than they.

    March 27, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  7. Tam

    He wants to be our President and leader of the free world?! Shame. What chutzpah, what delusion. Nuts is what he is. How did he get this far? What kind of people even think he's a possibility!?

    March 27, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  8. Tam

    For leader of our country, why do Republicans thing they have to out-conservative each other? Do we really want a conservative Republican as President? How about a sane intelligent normal Republican? Any of those still around?

    March 27, 2012 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  9. Tina

    When I saw that tape I was so happy. I thought this guy was a flameout but when he finally let his heart out of the suit I realized the man has some fire inside.THIS is what LEADERSHIP is about. I'm tired of the dancing around. I'd rather a person tell me what they are passionate about with some life that I do not agree with than some antsy pantsy guy telling me what he thinks I want to hear so he can get elected to do what ever he wants afterwards. I LOVE IT!

    March 27, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  10. Casey

    YES!!!!!!! About time we got some REAL in this world. State your feelings loud and clear and let me decide based on that honesty. Go Man! Keep goin...enough of this silk and somber crap. FIRE IT UP!

    March 27, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  11. quinLee

    Santorum may want to take a lesson from the John Edwards fiasco. Edwards categorized himself as the humble every-mans- man and representative of the little man (son of a mill worker). Meanwhile, he was spending millions covering up his infidelities. Santorum has built himself up as the holier than thou Christian so now he is vulnerable to attacks for every little not so Christian behavior on his part. Personally, I think a Santorum is dangerous. As president, I envision him immediately waging war against every non-Christian nation, territory, and village. That’s after he outlawed bikinis, MTV, women in the work place, and birth control. But no conservative would dare infringe on our rights to have these things-would they!?!

    March 27, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
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