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. rude

    Damn lame stream media accurately quoting them!!!! They got it in for him.

    March 26, 2012 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  2. findley quay

    The Right Wing folks have little use for respect, dignity, statesmanship. They love it when their folks are rude and offensive to the opposition. He is a loser so who cares?

    March 26, 2012 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  3. Ryan

    Is this the type of individual Americans want as a President? Definately not!

    March 26, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  4. trashcup

    What would this guy do if he had a real hard question to answer? This guy is unhinged and has been on the road way too long. Go home Santorum and reconnect with your family. You need to recharge and calm down.

    March 26, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  5. Dan from Texas

    God has personally picked Rick Santorum to lead this country and has given him permission to use profanities against anyone form New York. Go Rick!

    March 26, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  6. Alina1

    The horns just cant stay in place any more, they are slowly coming out to the day light.

    March 26, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  7. Bob in texas

    the proper PC term is male , bovine fertilizer.

    March 26, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  8. TJeff1776

    Santorum needs a sixty day vacation. Take his family and relax on one of those special reserved beaches that ONLY conservatives can attend.. Riff raff making less than half million would not be allowed. His present stressed condition would not even allow Romney's presence- which, if seen on T.V. would have the same equivalent impact as the Police Commissioner in the Pink Panther.

    March 26, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  9. Hawk in texas

    I say rick. i think that the swivel pin in your brain hinge just fell out.

    March 26, 2012 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  10. Squigman

    This is afine example of Christian hypocracy at work. The republicans, need to feel real proud.

    March 26, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  11. dnick47

    If ask revelant question is "Harassing" then this moron should leave ... the Republic survived one Richard M. Nixon, it might not survive another.

    March 26, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  12. Hawk in texas

    I could be that old rick has a complex because he didn't get abused by one of those religous catholic priests like a lot of other little boys did. or it could the anger when he found out that his wife was shacked up for 6 years with a man old enough to be her daddy. i wonder if she used birth control or had an abortion.

    March 26, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  13. Zaava

    Does seem like a very Christian (Christ like) way to behave. Another hypocritical, power hungry politician pretending to believe in something just for votes.

    March 26, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  14. Kevin

    This, is nothing. I predict more and more of these incidents, culminating in a complete and total meltdown. Any time you have someone who thinks they are "fighting" an "enemy", for God, well, what more can you say. The man is delusional, paranoid and a narcissist. Great combination for Commander In Chief. Not. I can't wait to see him put in his place. Again.

    March 26, 2012 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  15. pastmorm

    But here we have a man – santorum – that believes he rides high on the moral wagon saying that he has the right to curse at reporters in NYC. Hmmmmmm...so he's above everyone else huh? WWJD?

    March 26, 2012 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  16. Thinkergal

    A bit of self-control, Santorum! And you REALLY expect to act responsibly as president?

    March 26, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  17. paulronco

    Nice to hear that this bastion of Christian goodness considers directing profanity at journalists a prerequisite for being a "real" Republican in America these days. In between, oh, preaching the Gospel and attempting to bribe Puerto Ricans into ditching the cultural heritage imposed on them the first time they were subjugated by a major world power, I can only wonder: Is this something he teaches his kids? If and when he seizes power, is it something he intends to teach ours?

    March 26, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  18. arlindsay

    People who brag about telling someone off are rarely people of accomplishment. Santorum is a drama queen.

    March 26, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  19. Pete/Ark

    I frequently use that 8-letter epithet...but I try to be careful of both the setting and the context...the choice of words is unremarkable...the choice of venue shows a complete lack of self-control and common sense...weaseling out by saying "they MADE me do it" is childish...Santorum shows his true colors....

    March 26, 2012 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  20. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    wow maybe President Obama should try this attack next time he is interviewed on FoxNews. But of course if a president especially THIS one is caught swearing at the media it would be called everything from socialist to Marxist behavior by the right.

    March 26, 2012 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  21. BunnyBunny

    Rick Santorum has a bad mean streak in him. So far only the elderly (Social Security cuts), poor (food stamp cuts) , and children (medicaid food stamp cuts) have seen it.

    I do not trust him anywhere near "the button."

    March 26, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  22. Peter

    Santorum doesn't have a brain capable of understanding the difference between a legitimate question and "spin." Either that or he is one lying Santoro-monious Christian. In that case, spinning is what he's doing right now.

    March 26, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  23. Myke From Los Angeles

    Hi Rick... I'm going to have to ask you to move to the basement.... I'm going to need this stapler, & that coffee mug as well... Don't forget to shut the lights off & close the door when you leave...... Bye Rick!!!!

    March 26, 2012 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  24. Matt

    Nice to see those TRUE CHRISTIAN VALUES come out with nice CLEAN WORDS like that ..GO TO HELL RICK

    March 26, 2012 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  25. Johnny B. Goode

    Why does Ricky look smug and self-righteous in every photo I see. I've always known he was way over the edge. I guess that's it.

    March 26, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
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