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. fiat_lux_et_veritas

    My understanding is that bull@hit is an essential Santorum ingredient. #frothy

    March 26, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  2. StMike

    There is not much that can be said about a Republican running for office!!!

    March 26, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. phoenix86

    I cannot believe there are people out there who still consider the New York Times to be a news organization. They are tabloid journalism at best.

    March 26, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  4. Ed

    You have to swear at reporters to be a "real Republican"? This guy gets weirder every time he opens his mouth.

    March 26, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  5. monkeyman

    Wow...listened to the exchange with the reporter. I cannot imagine Santorum as POTUS and having the ability with the flick of a switch to start a nuclear war.

    March 26, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  6. Aeromechanic

    So wait. Are you saying that Santorum is a liar?

    Say it isn't so. A lying republican. (Gasp!!)

    March 26, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  7. Brian

    ...or, as the rest of the world calls it, journalism.

    March 26, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  8. Joefrombflo

    "I didn't back down." Let's call him Rick "stand your ground" Santorum. What a guy

    March 26, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  9. zizewitz

    How is it possible that an intellectually poor devil was elected Senator now is pretending to be elected President?? Is anybody who is supporting that anequally poor devil??

    March 26, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  10. O.T.

    Obama is dishonest. This is not news to anyone who's looked at his career without rose-colored glasses.

    March 26, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  11. m

    Isn't it funny how Republicans are liars and Democrats always...ALWAYS....tell the truth! How is this? What is deal.
    The only group of people on this planet that never lie are Democrats! It's like a mircle! I wonder how they do it????

    March 26, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  12. AgrippaMT

    Santorum is an expert on BS. He's been spouting it throughout his campaign. Obviously, he a foul mouthed lout.

    March 26, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  13. AndrewLarson

    Santorum's point is that "Fair and Balanced" media exists in a fact-free zone. How dare a NYT reporter ask him a question based on his previous (and very clear) statement?

    And how dare CNN mention his hypocrisy?

    First Santorum alienated gays and their allies. Then blacks. Then former POWs. Then women. Then most Catholics (at least the JFK fans). Now he has his sights on the entire truth-based community.

    Has he no shame?

    March 26, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  14. What Now

    So, he has a problem with the New York Times, but not Fox News? Interesting. Sorry, but I find Santorum to be all mouth and no real substance.

    March 26, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  15. joejeffrey

    Well, there you have the GOP in a nutshell. Say something in the most public venue imaginable, and when asked if you stand by it, attack the questioner and deny you said it.

    March 26, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  16. joejeffrey

    Well, there you have it, the GOP in a nutshell. Say something in the most public venue possible, and when asked if you stand by it, deny you said it and attack the questioner.

    March 26, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  17. SF

    the fact that half the country is ready to vote for either this jerk or Romeny sends chills down my spine! If either become president, voted by the ignorant stupid americans who voted Bush into office...i'm leaving the country! I really pray this is not the case come November and Obama is re-elected! Obama is a good man, a good POTUS and since DAY ONE he has been given a difficult time by the republicans and idiotic tea party. And if they tell you it isn't racism, DON'T BELIEVE EM! cuz that's all it is...they are still in denial that a black man is in the white house!

    obama 2012!!!

    March 26, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  18. Laura518

    I think the worst thing about the comments was the look in his eyes as he was dressing down the reporter. He looked manic. I think this guy is unstable. And it wasn't a slip of the tongue behind the scenese...he was surrounded by people! I am so happy he won Louisiana....so this race can just keep lingering on and on...all the better for President Obama. 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 26, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  19. FIZZ

    He's so pathetic. There's a reason PA kicked him out.

    March 26, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  20. Laura518

    @Hawk in Texas....Mrs. Santorum shacked up with a man that was old enough to be her father? Correction? She shacked up with a man old enough to be her grandfather! He was 40 years old. AND AN ABORTION DOCTOR!

    March 26, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  21. chuckly

    so the reporter asks him a question about the ACTUAL quote that he himself said, and the reporter is a liar? Sorry, Santorum. you are nothing but buIIshlt........

    March 26, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  22. Ol' Yeller

    The liberal media is once again distorting the facts by reporting the er'... facts. The ever so righteous santorum once again cries foul at the liberal media reporting such facts and promptly uses profanity against the liberal mediator from the liberal media. He then goes on the conservative media network and cries to them about the mean old liberal media distorting his words, assuring them he only said, ""I just said 'Okay, I've had enough of this you-know-what,'".
    Boolsheet!

    March 26, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  23. Oh Noes!

    oh noes! saying swears makes baby jesus cry!

    March 26, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  24. Brad Baty

    This comment meant (if) I get re-elected, I will hand you this country on a platter...

    March 26, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  25. out of step

    There are very few things that Romney says that I support, but I will say I do agree when he says that Santorum looks like a desperate man, flailing about trying to get attention for his dying campaign.

    March 26, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
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