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. msyellarose

    Oh whatever. His entire campaign is bull@#*. Practically everytime he opens his mouth he has to clarify and explain what he "really meant". At least President Obama can keep a mature cool when pressed

    March 26, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  2. timothy

    Santorum said John McCain "doesn't understand how enhanced interrogation works." A Catholic who wants to torture? Didn't we do this about 500 years ago?

    March 26, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  3. Nobodies Pon

    Mitt is the Flip-flop Rick is the Backyracking Pope "game on" Newt is the Moon man "2.50 gas a gallon" Ron "fly on the wall " Paul not really to interested in the job being Mitts sheild is a hard job but someone has to do it.

    March 26, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  4. Erik

    cry baby ... go home

    March 26, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  5. Phillco

    If he thinks the reporters are harassing him now, how could he handle them as the president with multiple issues at one time. He is such a dork.

    March 26, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  6. Rationalintn

    By, "Quit distorting my words," does he mean rewinding them and playing them over and over again?

    March 26, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  7. i want a mega rich Mormon who hides money overseas, and a master tax evader as president

    The gop is nuttier that jar of peanut butter.
    Obama 2012.

    March 26, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. cecilia

    aw poor little tea party republicans – that gotcha media is always treating them badly – poor babies – but hey, Santorum's bs remark will win the hearts of the shootemup tea party folks

    March 26, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  9. gordyb

    Keep it up Ricky....the President doesn't need your help getting re-elected but he will take it!

    March 26, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  10. Jane

    Whoops, looks like his halo is slipping. He's been looking pretty testy and grinchy lately, but what do you expect from a hypocritical, foul mouthed, closeted political failure whose 'campaign' is not going as well as the voices in his head told him it would. Oh, and @Denny? – maybe an office in the Vatican. But definitely not in the White House.

    March 26, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  11. LouAz

    Better be careful NY Times . . . Sanctimonious Santorm will sick Snooki Palin on you ! Or if you really get out of line, he'll tell the Poop about you. Halle Julia !

    March 26, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  12. longtooth

    Do we need any more proof that Santorum can't compete in the heavyweight division? Here's a guy who couldn't get re-elected Senator of Pennsylvania, and so decided to run for president of the USA. He is not invited to my barbecue. He's boring.

    March 26, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  13. smell the coffee

    He's going to known as an "also ran" very soon. I just hope he never comes back. He's so annoying.

    March 26, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  14. Sandra

    In other words, if you are not Fox News and don't bow down to him and ask him a legitimate question, you must be the 'liberal media' (whatever that is). I'm sick of the whining and the lying that the Republicans do.

    March 26, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  15. Mark of Tennessee

    II thought Christians didn't curse...

    March 26, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  16. achepotle

    mother@1cking libtaards...why do';t they just get with the program and help us build a full-sized replica of Noah's Ark in Missouri.

    March 26, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  17. OnStreetWise

    Ask a question, and he twists and spins... Ask a hard question, and he throws a ballistic fit. What a great campaign show on the GOP trail.

    March 26, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  18. askfmb

    Statesmanship and Temperament are qualities that are the minimum traits that a leader must display, as good qualities, because having a bad Temperament or bad Statesmanship leads to a bad negotiator and to have leaders with these poor qualities places two countries in non-negotiable issues like Israel & Palistine, primarily because two mal behaved leaders are the problem and not the two nations of people.
    askfmb.com

    March 26, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  19. M-W-T

    Rick, every time you open your mouth, Santorum comes out.
    GO AWAY

    March 26, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  20. VA VERY Ex Republican

    Well Said Rick. you are not a real republican unless you have no manners and no respect for others. just like your Party Leaders Rush and Sean

    March 26, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  21. Marcus 14006

    As an apolitical yet informed voter, I am simply stunned at how far the Republican Party has sunk. None of the GOP candidates is making any sense. How can Santorum deny his own qouted words? As noted by another poster, I admire PRESIDENT (caps intended) Barack Obama for his calm, presidential demeanor through all this. The republicans are handing Mr. Obama four more years. The only conclusion that makes any sense to me is that they are doing it on purpose, just to harass the President, and to await 2016. They must know they are going to lose.

    March 26, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  22. mark

    This is funny, Bush felt the same way. In fact, most President's would after they win.

    March 26, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    @ Celeste: I wholly concur with you Celeste. I will further submit that he stands as much of a chance of getting assassinated as I do. Actually I stand a better chance than he does! This whole Secret Servoce protection courtesy of us taxpayers is unnecessary gubmint welfare if ever there was any.

    March 26, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  24. Darlene

    Keep talking Santorum, the real you is starting to emerge. I knew the fake smirk couldn't last forever.

    March 26, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  25. retief1954

    Not surprising this pathetic, impotent, self-important demagogue would make a statement like "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,". I suspect that's the way Rush Limbaugh, Romney, Gingrich, and the rest of their pathetic, impotent party feel as well. Not surprising that he would make this statement on the air of that pathetic, impotent "news channel" either. People actually WATCH that crap? God help America. People actually LISTEN to the sewage that Santo dispenses? God help America.

    March 26, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
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