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. Hawk in texas

    Mr. holyier than thou using curse words. this is the guy that got elected to the senate from pensavania served one term was thrown out of office. spent more money in that one term than any democrat. blames everyone but himself. married to a woman that was shacked up with a man old enough to be her father for 6 years. thinks that the pope should be the leader of america. and he gets nuttier each day.

    March 26, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  2. Tam

    HELP! I want my country back! Don't want these illiterate idiots even trying to want to run it.

    March 26, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  3. geg

    whats next a beard, long hair and a robe made throw in partting a sea

    March 26, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  4. johhnyboywilliams

    He's the smallest kid in the sandbox, trying to be the tough guy.

    March 26, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  5. TheAlaskaCurmudgeon

    It's OK, Rick, I'm no better. Why, I utter the exact same word every time you open your mouth and say something. So I know how you feel.

    March 26, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  6. Snooze70

    Poor little Rick!! What will this child do as President, when something REALLY important comes up? Clearly he lacks the maturity, discipline, and intellect to handle the job.

    March 26, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  7. Frank

    The original statement is just as the NYT reporter stated, so I guess Santorum does not even know BS when he says it!

    March 26, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  8. Todd K Brown

    One thing men of faith do is they do not curse nor do they let their anger control their actions. Time to stop and reflect Mr. Santorum

    March 26, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  9. independent

    Haha all I can say is im voting romney!

    March 26, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  10. imzzzz

    So any REAL Republican cusses? News to me. At odds with their family values claim...

    March 26, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  11. Candy Taylor

    Funny when ever these guys are cornered on a question they scream "liberal media". Well the people have a right to a straight answer to tuough questions!

    March 26, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  12. imzzzz

    So, I just learned that a REAL Republican curses.......hmmmmmm Family Values much?

    March 26, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  13. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    So Ricko doesn't think Senator McCain knows how "enhanced interrogation" works? What does he think McCain's hosts were doing during his stay at the Hanoi Hilton? Treating him to bon-bons and massages?

    March 26, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  14. BBear1

    It's not abouot the mild profanity. It's about the lie.

    March 26, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  15. Sy2502

    And god shall strike down upon Santorum with great vengeance and furious anger for using profane language.

    March 26, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  16. Dorkus Bunderschaft

    The Republicans are stuck with Romney,I mean..do the math. Sanctomonium will soon be irrelevant besides I heard he was writing his own Catechism for Young Republicans and do we really want a Papist in the White House? Saint Rick is no JFK more like Baphomet.Romney,the Cultist, will probably do just as good in '12 as he did in '08. In case you've forgotten the fact that he's a non-Christian lost him the nomination to McCain.

    March 26, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  17. AVGPAGUY

    Rick Santorum would be a terrible President.

    March 26, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  18. Common Sense

    The guy was asking a question about a statement that was made and he got mad!? Next time Mr. Santorum just remember the words that are coming from your mouth as they do have the tendency to bite you in the rear at a later time as this just proved it.

    March 26, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  19. REG in AZ

    Santorum is constantly offering excuses for his lack of control and emotional responses that so often, at best, are distasteful and aimed to get attention. Nothing presidential about any of that.

    March 26, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  20. Bruce

    I know it's just semantics, but this is not "cursing" or "profanity." Santorum doesn't even know he wasn't "cursing." The term is "obscenity" or "vulgarity" when it refers to bodily functions. "Profanity" and "cursing" refer to theological imprecations. If he had told the reporter to "go to h-" he would have been cursing. Had he said something as strong as "f- you" he would have only been using obscenity or vulgarity.

    March 26, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. mary

    Sounds to me like the reporter got it right. Have you noticed that the republicans running for the nomination never actually answer a question...they just talk around it, make sure to get their sound bites in...but they never seriously address the question asked. I applaud reporters who keep after them and call them on their BS.

    March 26, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  22. JohnW

    "Hey, those exact words that I said that you just quoted back at me? Eff you, I didn't say them. Stupid liberal elite media."

    March 26, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  23. Peter E

    Do you really want a president who a – can't control his temper and b – lies about what he said shortly before?

    March 26, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  24. christina

    Rick is our next president?-- womens OBGYN ? get real Rick. You have no chance, .

    March 26, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  25. Macmaven

    Yeah, Santorum is the one you want in office. He cracks under pressure and has no idea what he says from day to day. And I thought Romney was the flip flopper.

    March 26, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
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