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."

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
– Watch CNN's Wolf Blitzer interview Santorum Monday on "The Situation Room" at 4 p.m. ET

"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. Slightly Left of Center

    Is that Santorum or Sour Palin in a sweater vest? They sure sound the same. "They're picking on me!" "They only ask gotcha questions!" "Where's my blanket and my bottle?"

    March 26, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  2. BK

    Yeah because that's the kind of President we need, one that can't keep his cool when dealing with rude characters.

    The presidency is a VERY stressful job, if he can't take stress, he shouldn't be running.

    March 26, 2012 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  3. NM in VA

    Funny. Santorum wants people to contribute $30 to his campaign–the price of a NYT subscriptions. His supporters are largely the uneducated and underemployed, people who feel disenfranchised from society and are enraged at the power and equality of women. THEY ARE NOT NYT SUBSCRIBERS.

    March 26, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  4. brian in denver

    oops! Sanctimonious, self-righteous Ricky has potty mouth.

    March 26, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  5. beleef

    The NY Times makes even Fox News look objective.

    March 26, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  6. T'sah From Virginia

    ►TRENDING: Santorum accuses reporter of 'harassing'◄
    And Santorum's arrogance, self-centered and short-temperament is "embarrassing!!"
    NO ONE wants a president who needs to be reminded by his wife to SHUT HIS TRAP
    NO ONE will elect a man who is always putting his foot in his mouth after talking CRAP!!!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!!

    March 26, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  7. Thinks2010

    You can always tell when republicans are genuinely upset at the moment or when they are engaged in faux moral outrage designed to appeal to their conservative, religious, far-right self-annointed victims of imagined persecutions. When they are engaged in faux moral outrage, they get a glint in their eyes and a sly little smirk usually passes across their face. Watch the video, you will see it.

    March 26, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  8. TOL

    Santorum needs to take a day off and catch up on his sleep and rest a bit. He's beginning to lose his cool too much, which is turning me off. At the same time, wow, I am amazed at how over the top and hateful many of these comments are. You people need to get some sleep and rest, too.

    March 26, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  9. Patrish

    If he gets ruffled over these questions, it shows he'd qualified to be president. My gosh, can you imagine this man in any international dialogue?? He'd offend every country that didn't see things his way.....What happen to all the decent Republicans we once had running for office....????

    March 26, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  10. Andy

    Somewhere Sarah Palin is laughing at this guy and that should say a lot about both of them!! Can you say whack jobs?

    March 26, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  11. benji

    Oh looky here! Mr. I love God has no problem using obscene language.

    March 26, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  12. Phearis

    True Christians can't be politicians, because it's a sin to lie. And how many flat out lies has Mr Frothy said during his campaign? I've lost count.

    March 26, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  13. Tony

    Stay on him.

    His intolerance is legendary. Fox may try to cover for him, but sooner or later a leopard always shows his spots.

    Every time he says something bad he always covers with "...they quoted me out of context". The real deal is everyone is recording him; deniability is getting harder and harder.

    March 26, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  14. StevenB

    Someone needs to show Santorum the videotape where he does exactly what the reporter said he did.

    Santorum should be old hat at handling the press by now. Instead he throws a hissy fit when asked to verify that he did what he actually did and which he knew was on videotape. We don't need tantrum throwing children. We need someone dignified and capable of intelligent discourse. And Santorum showed us that he is not that guy.

    March 26, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  15. roch

    there is obviously not enough news in the world because there is so much hype on the news over such a small little things.

    March 26, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  16. Texas

    This guy's a joke, like a male Sarah Palin.

    March 26, 2012 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  17. pprty

    Santorum is getting close to the edge of a cliff and will surely go mad. He needs a nap.

    March 26, 2012 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  18. Mark in Omaha

    Very Presidential, or not...His true colors are coming out, Pennsylvania didn't reelect this clown, why can't the mindless sheep see through him. What's the old cliche...the far right would cut off the nose to spite the face, they don't care about the Country, just their narrow secular view points. Stay classy San Diego.

    March 26, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  19. alex

    just like juliaaassss malema, one of the former south african political bosses. accused the bbc journalist of having white tendencies and threw him out of the press conference.
    happy to say that he is a former politician and not a current politician as of october.

    March 26, 2012 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  20. ALLAMERICAN

    I think Romney need to return the favor by explaining to Rick why Ron Paul called him a FAKE !

    March 26, 2012 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  21. Dan

    Do you think this is the guy you want to protect you from the bedroom police.He is the bedroom police.He will milk his chance to enrich himself at every turn.God help us hope it is a different God than his.They asked me a question is sure to give you right to cuss out anybody.Any one that does not agree with him is wrong what a man.Have a nice day and it does not matter what you believe just Have a nice day.

    March 26, 2012 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  22. Tzckrl

    If he thinks his is a dignified, presidential bearing he is clearly clueless. Of course the vast majority has known that all along. He is more and more pitiful day by day.

    March 26, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  23. Republican Whiners

    The two things that turn me away from Republican candidates these days are their inability to own their own positions and their vampant use of the victim card. No, Newt/Rick, cussing out the media gets you no points with independents like myself. They're asking questions we're all interested in, and yes, they may be uncomfortable to answer. But all your past, present and future statements and actions are worthy of scrutiny when you're seeking a position of power.

    March 26, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  24. CBR

    "Dollars to donuts" Mr. Santurum has health care for himself and his family. I would be very surprised to learn that he has paid the entire costs of any hospitalizations of family members.

    Presidents get asked the same question over and over when they face the press and the media. My advice – get used to it.

    March 26, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  25. Ron

    Somebody should ask this idiot - and all the tea party clowns opposing the healthcare law - who pays for the emergency healthcare costs of those who are able to afford it, but choose not to buy insurance?? That's right.....WE DO! So, I support the idea that EVERY who can afford insurance should have to purchase insurance just like everyone else who wants to have medical care when they need it. Why should we pay for their insurance/health care??? The poor, the old, the kids....yep, we should help them because my Bible says so. The moochers....definitely not. Leave the law alone!!!!!

    March 26, 2012 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23