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. amobositsol

    maybe the new black panther party can put a hit on him

    March 27, 2012 04:29 am at 4:29 am |
  2. Mike

    If a NYT reporter can make him lose his cool by asking him about words he said publicly, what do you think Iran, N. Korea, Iraq, Pakistan, or Putin will do? Yikes!

    March 27, 2012 05:18 am at 5:18 am |
  3. Vinny

    The way I look at it, cursing is cursing. In the Old Testaments, cursing is punishable by death.

    March 27, 2012 05:22 am at 5:22 am |
  4. Too_soon

    How can this guy claim to be the almighty religious america saver and say the things he's said? Politics are politics, but to bad mouth Romney is certainly not christian, not the way he's against birth cotnrol, separation of church and state and of course his sideline of fighting satan. Much too much uncertainty in this guy's closet.

    March 27, 2012 05:42 am at 5:42 am |
  5. Neo

    Heh. The "Conservative Alternative Catholic Family Man" has a filthy mouth. What do you think of your daddy now Little Bella? He said the "S" word. The Mormon Romney hasnt. So who holds tight to their religion? Evangelicals support this kind of talk but Romneys "Anti-Christian" and "Cult Faith" big heart is to kind to point that out. Looks like were seeing the "Christian" Evangelicals true colors too. So inspired to follow your God and represent by supporting the candidate with a filthy mouth. So Romney and his Mormons turn out to be more Christian. While Santorum is cursing on Sunday, Romney is in church Worshipping his Lord and Savior. So, whose more Conservative?

    March 27, 2012 06:04 am at 6:04 am |
  6. OrangeW3dge

    All those "gotcha" reporters harassing those poor Republicans. It's not fair !!!!
    I think that Africa is a country, you can see it right there on the map, by golly.
    Oh, by the way, who's the WORST Republican, eh Ricky?

    March 27, 2012 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  7. Marie MD

    sanatorium go home. A snowball has a better chance in hell than you of being president or ever again being elected to anything. I won't say dog catcher because these folks have souls and do care about animals.

    March 27, 2012 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  8. Anne S.

    Well with an outburst like that have you thought if he were president and had one of his outburst where that might lead us?...maybe to a war, etc. We're going to need someone who can keep his cool. Reminds me of a little kid not getting his way. Don't think people would be stupid enough to vote him in.

    March 27, 2012 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  9. miscreantsall

    ""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," "

    lol…………so if you cursed out a reporter……….are you a real christian???????

    The more extreme a person's mindset the more contradiction, hypocrisy, mendacity, hate, etc. you will find.

    Welcome to the republicanchristian world.

    March 27, 2012 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  10. Scott

    That shoudl be the name of his whole Platform seems to me.

    March 27, 2012 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  11. dede

    This is the man who wants to be President of the United States. Amazing, simply amazing. How crass!

    March 27, 2012 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  12. Anonymous010

    Yeah, the reporter just called him out on exactly what he said – if you watch him, the quote wasn't taken out of context, it wasn't distorted or anything of the like. Santorum DID say that Romney was the worst Republican to take on President Obama. He didn't qualify that with any statement about healthcare. For him to accuse the reporter of distorting his words (when the reporter had, in fact, not) and then to throw a little temper tantrum after that was extremely childish.

    March 27, 2012 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  13. petena

    If he can't take the heat, then ne needs to get out of the kitchen. Definitely not presidential meterial. This guy is an angry man.

    March 27, 2012 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  14. Kay

    OK, in addition to using profanity, he blatantly LIED in saying he never said the words he did, in fact, very clearly say.

    Go home, Rick.

    March 27, 2012 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  15. ronjayaz

    He needs a teleprompter among other things.

    March 27, 2012 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  16. Pete

    Santorum ,the hypocritical rightwinger he is,is stepping on his tongue more than usual lately.Either that or maybe his going to the Romneys school of flipflopping is catching up on him.He said one thing ,denies it,he comments on another then denies it,its getting old and reporters with recorders should call him out on it,ultimately pinning this repulsive republican in remarks he makes on liberal reportings of him..He did say publicly that Romney remark,plus his idiotic speech selection on POTUS Obama,having people wondering who's he fighting against.His play selection if used in professional football,he'd be all over the field,ultimately fighting himself.Also his past ,that's recorded is being used against him by reporters ,who he made to turn against him because of his stance on the media.So if his arrogent antics continue,he'll be screaming to a deaf group of followers,no one will hear,no one will care,end of campaign....

    March 27, 2012 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  17. TheThinker1958

    did anybody notice the Santorum's daughter that was just behind him when he said s#&t? She didn't even blink. To me that says that Santorum uses that word at home a lot. I'm sure is not the only word he uses at home.

    March 27, 2012 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  18. Anonymous

    I really dislike this Santorum guy. Just look at the video of him calling Obama a "snob" for wanting every child in America to get a college education, saying that he wants everyone to be crafted in "his image". Talk about distorting words.

    March 27, 2012 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  19. -Sn

    I don't like him either, but the reporter was clearly misquoting him ad trying to agitate. Why is that not the story? We need to call folks on this type of non-sense because it leads to an environment where nobody can trust anybody and opinions and facts are blurred... Santorum should have responded with the second half of the quote and then said "next question" but lets not overlook the blatent attempt to misrepresent the candidate's opinion for mass consumption.

    March 27, 2012 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  20. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    A very wise man once gave me wonderful advice: LOSE GRACEFULLY. It is obvious Rick never heard or heeded such advice. He's pathetic.

    March 27, 2012 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  21. Jack Vigdor

    Poor Ricky.
    He wants to install a theocratic state in North America. He talks about rights, but forgets the importance of a free press in American political tradition. He wants to be tough but is afraid of questions. Poor religious kook Ricky panders to North American right wing religious kooks and fascists. He won't win because the majority of Americans understand how evil he truly is.

    March 27, 2012 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  22. malicric

    He can't even handle a reporter well durin the campaign, where such questions are to be expected. Who on earth thinks he would do any better in the Presidency–where he has to deal not only with them, but also with domestic pressures and foreign leaders as well. His church has an ex cathedra doctrine that would suit him to a tee! In fact he already seems to apply it to himself!

    March 27, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  23. bookgirl

    Pretty funny...I bet those frigid southern belles were shocked.

    March 27, 2012 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  24. Mark

    Outrageous health care? If you haven't been on the receiving end of an onslaught from one of our health insurance giants you don't know about outrageous health care! Of course Rick wouldn't know that because in the Senate you have your own special health care coverage unlike the rest of us. Oh yeah and his home state of Pennsylvania rejected him by a landslide the last time he ran for re-election. They know who they're dealing with....

    March 27, 2012 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  25. Evangenital

    Try, try, and if you don't succeed, blame the media. This guy is a religious fanatic nut. You lost to Romney, pick up your marbles and go home.

    March 27, 2012 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
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