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. auruin

    Santorum... THEE epitome of a corrupt politician. You just can't make this stuff up. His ego is the size of a bright red elephant.

    March 26, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  2. The Greedy Old Pigs declared class war on US!

    This is how cultlike the GOBP has become: They take offense and get all poutraged when their own words are quoted back to them. Geez, what ever happened to the "party of personal responsibility"?

    March 26, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    The reporter asked a fair question. Santorum needs to man up and take responsibility for his own words, and not blame the press for asking clarification.

    March 26, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  4. Louisiana is a welfare state

    Times must be really hard for Santorum that he is now accusing a right wing newspaper for being biased.

    March 26, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  5. Malory Archer

    Sounds like someone is suffering from a case of Thin Skin-itis! While it isn't fatal, it can be irritating, especially to those subjected to the annoying whining symptomatic of its "victims". There is no known cure. The only known method to obtain relief is to pack up the circus tent and go home.

    March 26, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  6. Wake up people

    Santorum reminds me a lot of the slave owners back in the day. He preaches one thing and does another. The slave owners all pretended to be so Christian, they even claimed the bible said they were doing God's work. I have yet to read in the bible where it says to treat a dog better than your fellow man, yet they did it anyways. Including destroying families and raping women and girls. Now we have this psycho running for POTUS, that cant even handle a few questions, who claims he is so holy and better than everyone else, but he has no problems pretending he didn't hear that woman's comment and also cursing out a reporter for quoting something he himself said. How typically hypocritical, but that is the way of the Rethuglican party. Don't worry pope Ayatollah, there is a special place in hell for you and your kind.

    OBAMA 2012!

    March 26, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  7. Steven

    Cussing out a reporter means your a good Republican? What a dweeb.

    March 26, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  8. sick of republican phonies

    So he DID say that...lying dirtbag.

    so he DID say exactly that...lying dirtbag.

    March 26, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  9. maljazur

    Very presidential....

    March 26, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  10. maljazur

    Very Christian...

    March 26, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  11. maljazur

    Very professional...

    March 26, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  12. Ann

    Santorum is getting tired, this campaign is too much for him. But let him talk, get angry and make mistakes. This will keep him out of the race in the next elections. If he got out now with some dignity, he would have had a chance to be the nominee next time.

    March 26, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  13. Marine08

    Santorum, picking on a little meak reporter reallly shows you're a real tough guy. Maybe we should call you Santorambo.

    March 26, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  14. johhnyboywilliams

    He needs some sleep and his blanket !

    March 26, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  15. hudson5585

    hehe. I can just imagine Santorum loosing his cool when dealing diplomatically with other world leaders and later having to defend it. Rick: you won't lose the election because of this. You'll lose the election because you and your ideas are not what this country needs. Bring your righteous campaign to your family. Or to your church. Not to our government.

    March 26, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  16. Kevin O

    Yes Rick, Jesus would have cursed the reporter out, right? Go suck a fat one you HYPOCRITE!!!

    March 26, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    maljazur
    Very Republican...

    March 26, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  18. billy davis

    Santorum made it clear what we already know is that the GOP candidates are a bunch of animalistic, mean and hateful people that try to hide behind religion. If he's such a Christian why is he cursing. He wants to regulate sex, birth control and porn of other people yet he can't control his own trash mouth.

    March 26, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  19. Gotta Be Kiddin

    Really! Can you see this guy meeting with heads of state? He has such a lack of control. I would hate to see what he would do if he had access to that red button!

    March 26, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  20. Freddo

    This is the start of a new comedy routine ... you aren't a "real" Republican unless ...
    – you've cursed out an NYT reporter
    – you've demonstrated your narrow-mindedness
    – you've proclaimed your religion is the way everyone should live
    – you've supported bigots like Ruck Lameblow .. er Rick Limpid .. er .. Rush Limbaugh
    – you've learned to let go of rational thought, and demonize everyone who doesn't agree with you
    ...
    hmmm... interesting ... many of those apply to "real" Democrats too.

    March 26, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  21. Pat in IL

    He is so immature and shallow that I can hardly stand the sight of him any more. Really, to put the health care issue as a "centerpiece of his campaign" is not the depth of a person who should be our President. He has yet to tell us any kind of ideas or plans he has regarding the economy, foreign affairs, or anything else that really matters and is influenced by the office of the President. I can't even imagine him dealing with other heads of state. Yucky and scary.

    March 26, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  22. Jess C

    Yes, just picture Ricky dealing with world leaders if a little reporter can ruffle his feathers like this. What a baby.

    March 26, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  23. The Real Tom Paine

    " Bully me"? He actually thought the reporter was trying to bully him? Oh, can you picture him at some kind of economic summit? It scary that this poor excuse for a candidate is actually seen as some sort of credible alternative to Mitt the Myth, much less the president.

    March 26, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  24. dicknh

    Poor Ricky,
    Always the showboat....but he's up the creek without a paddle on this, and he's taking on water fast !! Bail, Ricky bail !!

    March 26, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  25. Tom

    Let's face it, people, Rick Santorum is a dirtbag!

    March 26, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
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