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. Paula

    and we see Mr Santorum's true colors. Great job Jeff Zeleny.

    March 26, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  2. m

    Another case of "You can't hold me accountable for what I actually say"

    March 26, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  3. mrrationalhbg

    Well by Rick's standards Obama should really being throwing some expletives at Fox News at least 10,000 times each day.

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

    Santorum is like all the rest of the Tea Party crowd. Gets defensive and plays the liberal bias card in a heart beat. It is truly their only strategy. They are masters of the "us against them" brand of politics. Still stunning to me that people like Santorum, Bachman, Palin, Ryan, etc. have a voice in any legitimate debate. They are some of the least qualified people imaginable to serve the country-extremist, arrogant, patronizing, anti-science, anti-knowledge. They are delusional, all of their ilk.

    March 26, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. Paul

    This would be hysterically funny, if it weren't so grossly tragic that the GOP is what it is today. HE ASKED ME ABOUT WHAT I AKSHALLY SAID!!!!!!!!!!!! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HARASSMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And the mindless lemmings clap their paws, calling that kind of lie "callin' it like 'e seez it."

    Tragic freak show.

    March 26, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  6. JonDie

    I heard Santorum's comment and the reporter's question. The reporter was spot on. Santorum is a jerk.

    March 26, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  7. Amy

    @Ned... well said.

    March 26, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  8. Logic N LA

    I accuse Santorum of lying and wanting to move America back to the 1800's. If he can't stand the heat- do us all a favor and drop out!

    March 26, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  9. Preacherguy

    Odd how the GOP candidates want to silence the media when it quotes actual facts, but are only too ready to let it roll on and on when it distorts the facts about the POTUS or some other person they are trying to villify. One concludes from this that they want to keep us misinformed and ignorant – kind of like Nazi Germany. Will the next Cabinent position in a GOP administration by a Secretary of Propaganda? Maybe Rush Limbaugh is waiting to be sworn in.

    March 26, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  10. Jasmine

    Rick should go back to organizing the stoning of adulterers in the public square.

    March 26, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  11. Claudia, Phoenix, AZ

    Santorum needs to take some anger management courses.

    March 26, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  12. Ferret out the BS

    Note to electorate... Please add Lies and swears when under pressure to Ricky's Resume.....

    March 26, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  13. J.Crobuzon

    You said it, you own it. And he thinks he could run a whole country? Ha ha ha ha. What a small man.

    March 26, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  14. Ferret out the BS

    Really Ned, if people weren't slinging barbs at each other or their candidates then what fun would that be?

    March 26, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  15. WillnAtlanta

    Take it to 'em hardcore, Rick

    March 26, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  16. tommy a

    Typical republican hypocritical Christian: "Do as I say not as I do." mentally. Then run to your fright wing media site and call a "Foul" on the rest of the media that you deemed "Liberal" because you're so far right that every media outlet is liberal. Ricky Boy, you're way off the charts and VERY UNPRESIDENTAIL in EVERY way!!!!

    March 26, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  17. trick

    Mitt Romney connecting so well much better to the other than Newt /santorum , the only people connecting well with Gingrich the people who eat tons CRISPY CREAM and dunkin donuts , n The people only connecting with fake Hypochristian santorum for a holier-than-thou bible thumper.
    The only people connecting to obama are people want something for free society bottom feeder constantly for free hand out for VOTES ,he is the TOP salesman for the history In America for selling vote that’s his product ,he sell more votes than hostes sell Twinkies ,Democrats follower are worse society worse than CARP except for the fact carp smell better.

    March 26, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  18. Core republican Values

    As a looney, wacko, right wing nut job, I am suddenly not going to vote for Santorum because he cursed.

    March 26, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  19. Rick

    Well if anyone would know BS is would be a Republican. These GOPers would make excellent NAZIs, tell a lie enough times and it might become the truth. Santorum actually thinks he can say something one day and deny it the next day and the next and the next and that will make it go away. I guess being as he thinks like someone from the middle ages that he doesn't realize there's little thing called technology capable of catching his very own BS.

    March 26, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  20. bigbendjc

    In this day and age of video and recorded devices, how can you deny what you said and try to turn it around and blame someone else for covering it? Lunacy is alive and well in the Repub party. As soon as Santorum gets any momentum who ends up shooting himself in the foot to kill it the very next day. Romney, Gingrich and Santorum must have very big mouths since they end up putting their respective feet into them! I congratulate Ron Paul on avoiding the HOOF & MOUTH disease.

    March 26, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  21. Leo

    So you're not a real republican unless you curse out a reporter from the NY Times? Hmm....no wonder republicans suck.

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

    Rick is just a little man; he thinks he is great, but he is not. Take his toys away from him and what you see is a cry baby. The cry baby does not have what it take to become POTUS, isn't that obvious by now?

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

    So he lost his cool (maybe the frothy mix got into his dumb head) – whats he going to do when he gets a real problem in the White house – this nut is an ABSOLUTE FAKE imposter running for the presidency.

    March 26, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  24. Mike B

    How dare you ask me to defend what I said on stage.

    March 26, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  25. Steve

    OK, Rick, here's how it works in the US. When you are a public figure you have to answer questions from the press. Not just the press you're friendly with, but ALL press. A figure as controversial as you is going to have to answer a lot of uncomfortable questions. If you can't handle that, then you're not ready to be POTUS. Go home, grow up, and come back into the public lime light when you're ready to act like an adult.

    March 26, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
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