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. ThinkAgain

    Ricky is a typical whiny, immature Repub who cries whenever a reporter calls him on his own, recorded statements!

    These Repubs are such badly behaved little bratty children!

    Obama/Biden 2012 (if you want our country lead by adults)

    March 26, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  2. DaveinPA

    Santorum was in NO way harassing Santorum. Santorum said EXACTLY what the reporter repeated. If Santorum is this thin skinned and dishonest, he has no place being president of the US !

    March 26, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  3. ThinkAgain

    Can you imagine a Sanitorium/Quitta from Wasilla ticket?

    All whine, all the time!

    March 26, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  4. asdf

    Lol stop distorting my words by quoting me directly! thats unfair!

    March 26, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  5. joe

    What goes into a man's mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them. Matthew 15:11

    March 26, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  6. Whatsthematterwithus

    It wouldn't be a big deal if he and his followers didn't act so "moral" and self righteous

    March 26, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  7. TeeDeeDubya

    Rick Santorum handles an honest question about a comment that he himself made by blaming the media (what a surprise). I guess he still needs to show his base what a tough guy he is by cussing out a reporter for repeating his own words. Might work for his base, but to me it comes off as "mommy, mommy, Jeff's picking on me again!!!!!"

    March 26, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  8. Buckwheat

    This guy is a lightweight. I can't believe people actually for for him as a Presidential contender.

    March 26, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  9. Matt

    Santorum, what a joke. I am worry what this nation is moving forward. Radical religous elements as well as right wing of GOP pushing this nation to radical nation and creating complication for people. There is a need for a change in politocal and mentality thinking of this nation specilally right wing of GOP, before we face a real problem with them.

    March 26, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  10. Mikeybklyn

    Good for him-he's got balls!

    March 26, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  11. Zil Zerimar

    I tell you this man Santorum (Google santorum) is full of hypocrisy. I thought he a religious man and he cursed? Whenever this man make a speech his background is his wife, daughters and sons. They are always smiling. That is why Ron Paul said Santorum is FAKE. Smiley smiley then curse. Maybe cursing in Santorum family is like breathing....very natural and very normal. Thank God that this man will not win the primany and will not become the president of the United Sates ever. But he can be the next Pope.

    March 26, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  12. J.Crobuzon

    Santorum's trying to upgrade from "clown" to "shock jock." Will he make it? Does America want a religious shock-jock as president?

    March 26, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  13. rob

    Not very Presidential but the NYT reporter deserved it. Like most reporters from liberal media outlets, he starts with the premis that Republicans are either wrong or stupid. Because most people only get news from the major television media in the form of 30 second bites or splashy headlines they are at the mercy of the liberal media spin. They will not get the whole story or proper backround from places like CNN, NYT, NBC, ABC, CBS etc.

    We cannot trust the liberal media.

    March 26, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  14. Lean6

    Unbelievable how self-injurious Americans are. We're going to "Wikileak" Presidents working in earnest to manage nuclear power posture?

    March 26, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  15. TerryMcT

    He cursed out a NY Times reporter for quoting his own words back to him verbatim. Imagine having to face what you yourself have said. The nerve of that reporter.

    March 26, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain

    In regard to the question from the NYT reporter asking Ricky if he said that Mittens is the worst Republican to run against President Obama, Ricky says, "I didn't say that. Quit distorting what I'm saying."

    I just watched the clip, posted here on the CNN Ticker ("Santorum: Romney 'worst Republican' to run against Obama") and RICKY SAID EXACTLY THIS:

    "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?"

    How stupid are Ricky's supporters that they believe his lies?!?!?

    March 26, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  17. JohnRJohnson

    Santorum now adds hypocrite to homophobe and theocrat on his resume. He gets caught in a blatant self-contradiction and curses the reporter for calling him out on it.

    March 26, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  18. Tommy

    Why would anyone vote for Santorum, he can't remember what he said yesterday...not qualified to be President.

    March 26, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  19. macrasta

    if candidate Obama had curse out anyone in the media..he would have been labeled as an "angry black man".

    March 26, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain

    @Mikeybklyn: "Good for him-he's got balls!"

    Go watch the clip posted here on the CNN Ticker ("Santorum: Romney 'worst Republican' to run against Obama") and watch for yourself Ricky saying exactly what the NYT reporters questioned him about.

    Ricky doesn't have "balls" – he is nothing more than a liar!

    March 26, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  21. J.Crobuzon

    "I've never liked Santorum and I would never support him for President (or for any office for that matter. But after reading all of the brainless, childish, weak, etc. comments that his detractors have written on this message board, I may have to give him a second look out of spite."
    Take a good look, folks. Here's your American Voter. He wants Little Ricky to become president because people were mean to him.

    March 26, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  22. Mike in NJ

    (responding to RS's quote that 'if you haven't cursed out a NY Times reporter then you're not a real Republican:)

    ... and if you haven't told a Fox reporter that he/she is working for a truly evil corporate political slush fund that tells no truth but manipulates people into supporting a radical right agenda with racist, sexist, and hateful tendencies that will destroy the fabric of this country, then... you're not telling the truth. But that's just my opinion. My honest opinion.

    March 26, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    If Ricky were ever POTUS (won't happen, but just imagine for a second), what would he do when he's on the world stage deny crap he's said?

    Whine to our enemies that it's "unfair" and that they're "twisting" his words? Wah wah wah! You guys are so mean to me! Wah wah wah!

    The only adults in the election: Vote Obama/Biden 2012

    March 26, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  24. Shame!

    I don't know about Santorum, but in my church we were taught not to curse. Maybe a visit to confession will teach him how to act civilized and control himself. His behind will be sore but his mouth will be pure . . .

    March 26, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  25. Carol Sjoberg

    Rick Santorum's 18th century views on the social issues would be disastrous for our country. Good grief – he doesn't even believe in birth control!!! In addition, Mitt Romney's inability to take a strong stand on any issue [and stick with it!] is frightening. We don't know where the man "stands" on anything! Both of them seem to be way too willing to begin another war, and that alone is reason not to support them. I'm taking the logical and sane route and will be voting for President Obama again. He just makes so much sense and is obviously trying to do what's best for the entire population of our country.

    March 26, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
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