Santorum accuses reporter of 'harassing'
March 26th, 2012
09:23 AM ET
3 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. 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 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  2. gihaddd

    Rick Santorum should be more focused on his policies rather than his publicity. he'd make a terrible president because he's always worrying about his self image instead of whats really important, to be honest though his self image was tarnished when he was senator of penn. How can such a corrupt person even run for office?

    March 26, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  3. Orwell shrugs

    Rick boy must have got his mitts on a GOP etch-o-sketch. The NYT reporter just happened to get caught in the shake down, or as Rickky put it attacked by the liberal press.

    That lib reporter spy should know when a republican shakes Romney's toy, everything magically resets, no questions are to be asked or tolerated. Criminal assault charges against the attacking communist spy are planned.

    March 26, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  4. QS

    LMFAO! If Romney is "uniquely unqualified" to run against Obama, and he's still beating Santorum, what does that make Santorum!?

    Not to mention, if he says Romney is the worst republican to put up against Obama, he should really try not to emulate him so much in regards to Romney's penchant for saying something and then denying that he said it when somebody calls him out on it.

    March 26, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  5. beezers

    Shame on you Mr. Santorum... I've decided that YOU are the worst Republican to go against Obama.

    March 26, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  6. rock woman

    You're not a real Republican unless you cuss out a reporter? Wow. Never realized the qualifications for being a Republican were so feeble. Or the standards so low. Or the candidate so dumb.

    March 26, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  7. ReaganDem

    To the people that keep blaming the media. What does the media has to do with what Santorum said? If they "the media" did not question him or his statements, would they be doing their job? What would be your response to Santorums' questinable statements, behavior, etc...?

    March 26, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  8. boston1c

    ENOUGH with these idiots. They accuse the media of distorting their record only to be shown and reminded that the distortion is actually and exactly what they said – these bozos try to distort their own words so anyone stupid enough to believe what they say will blame the media for it. AND THAT goes for MITTENS too..

    March 26, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. elobogrande

    These nutjobs put the WhamWay Salesman, the American version of a Taliban Commander, and the Mad Hatter ahead of the only presidential candidate they have running. I hope they reserve a warmer corner in Hell for those that are willing to toss my country in the toilet...for their political ignorance.

    March 26, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  10. Phil Hansen

    Santorum may not be the worst Republican but he certainly is the works human being in that clown race.

    March 26, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  11. Reggie

    I am a Christian and my issue is not the profanity that he used... we all make mistakes. My issue is that he was not a big enough man to follow what the bible says.. If you make a mistake, confess and ask forgiveness. This is habit of humility that the President practices.

    March 26, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  12. Mike B

    Santorum: "How dare you harrass me by quoting what I said."

    March 26, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  13. Randy, San Francisco

    Santorum said it... he owns it. He is as much as a flip flopper as Romney.

    March 26, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  14. ccpeters

    I kind of liked Santorum for a long time. But time has shown me his cry baby attitude and his prickly personality which has made me rethink my vote. Actually he is more like Obama in that regard than Romney.

    March 26, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  15. Bill

    I cannot believe this is not bigger news. What a frightening thought: a sitting president essentially telling the president of a nation with significant contrary interests that he will wait till the next election to engage Russia because he will have more "flexibility". Flexibility to do what? Sell out American position in the missle defense shield? Sell out our allies, like Poland? Who would honestly vote for this man?

    March 26, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain

    Ricky saying that it's harassment to hold him accountable to his words – which we're decidedly NOT off the cuff, slip of the tongue – gives you a very clear idea of what his presidency would be like.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    March 26, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  17. denny

    President Santorum will soon be taking office.

    March 26, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  18. elobogrande

    As a registered Republican, Ron Paul will get my vote in the primary...President Obama gets my vote in the general. They need more chlorine in the R gene pool. No wonder they want to cut education...maybe their candidates will be as smart as their constituents.

    March 26, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  19. ted

    Rick, if you can't hold your tongue with the gotcha media, how are you going to do with foreign leaders?

    March 26, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  20. Jose Paul

    Not sure why Santorum is still in the race?
    Stay in the spotlight as long as possible, Improve speaking fees (if someone wants to listen to Santorum’s wisdom), and write a book may be?

    March 26, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  21. ArtInChicago

    Whether you like his politics or not, being called a Socialist, questioning your place of birth, hearing "you lie" during a joint session of Congress, having a Fox commentator disrespect you during an interview, having a governor put her finger in your face while talking to you, Obama has always remained calm, cool, and collected. Santorum doesn't have the demeanor to be President. He needs to check himself before he completely wrecks himself.

    March 26, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  22. ty

    for a" good" christian who's goal is to make america a theocracy in his image, santorum sure does lie a lot..almost every day. this man is dangerous because he thinks he is holier than the rest of us..but is really a deranged maniac who is never wrong.

    March 26, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  23. Regnad Kcin

    Aw, what's wrong, Mr. Santorum, the evil old press picking on you again?

    Just another whack-job parading behind religion.

    March 26, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  24. TM

    So now Ayatollah Santorm is following the fine example set by Dick Cheney? Rick, if you don't really want the job, just say so. Throwing tantrums when you don't get your way is expected behavior for a a toddler. We expect better from someone who wants to be President.

    March 26, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  25. Little Tin God

    Guess Rick's halo is getting a little rusty.

    March 26, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
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