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. Helen

    Ann Romney tried the Palin Defense on Piers Morgan and now El Santo is resorting to it, too? OH those pesky journalists!

    March 26, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  2. rhumba

    So this is how good Catholics react to newspaper reporters who quote their stupid comments word for word? I don't think so. Something tells me that Mr. Santorum is not as pristine and holy as he makes himself out to be.

    March 26, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  3. GRS62

    So much for the illusion of being a devout Christian.

    March 26, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  4. v_mag

    If you haven't cursed Sanctimonious out daily, you're not a real American.

    We've all had enough of you, Little Ricky.

    March 26, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  5. Freddo

    Waaaaaaahhh. Mommie, that journalist is asking me questions ... he's harassing me!!!!!!!!!!

    Make him stop, Mommie.

    March 26, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  6. rob

    Wow, does Santorum pray to Jeebus with that mouth?

    March 26, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  7. Clinker

    According to rob, every media outlet except Faux "News" is dishonest. If it's always everyone else, maybe YOU have the problem, rob.

    March 26, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  8. Cricket11

    This man truly has mental health issues. I'm not just being snarky either. I really and truly believe that. Romney sucks but I don't think he's insane. I think Santorum would be an outright disaster for our country. Romney would be bad too, don't get me wrong, but at least he isn't insane. I'd take him over this whack job any day of the week. I will, however, vote for Obama because I can't stomach the GOP and what it stands for.

    March 26, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  9. dongp71

    He would fit right in as a lead in the remake of the movie Dumb and Dumber. The fact that this guy is even running, and getting votes, really makes me wonder about the intelligence of a number of people.

    March 26, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  10. Grace

    Just one more chapter in the pathetic waste of time called the Republican search for a sane candidate. If there is a sensible
    Republican out there, (s)he is hiding or the elephant squashed him. Santorum is only the latest in what has become a futile search for a person who could make a better president than the one we have. Thank goodness for the delete and MUTE buttons.

    March 26, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  11. Cfrench

    Oops. What would his imaginary man in the sky have to say about this? Isn't there something in his owners manual that says thou shalt not curseth?

    Once again, an angry religous nut on the rampage.

    March 26, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  12. v_mag

    And another thing. Why did they waste a good heart on a war criminal?

    March 26, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  13. roro

    Why do these idiots keep denying what they've said when they know it's on tape? The press has a duty to ask questions whether these guys like it or not. That's what journalists do.

    March 26, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  14. Andy from CT

    Rick uses the George Costanza defense – it's not a lie if you believe it. Just like the whole Netherlands-Euthanasia thing. His press agent said this is what he believes in his heart, and that's all that matters.

    March 26, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  15. Wake up people

    These idiots are so desperate to get President Obama out of the white house they will say and do anything, no matter how outrageous because they know they don't have a foot to stand on and have to pander to the racists for their support. I've always known racism was alive and well but it's really being shown since 2008. So sad. When will we be judged by the content of our character instead of the color of our skin? In the job market, we can't be as good as a white person, we must be better. Why?

    March 26, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  16. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    It's a sad statement on the state of jounalism in this country when the press is nothing but shills for the leftwing Democrat Party. It's clear they have absolutely no interest in doing honest, unbiased reporting. You even see news reports of these dirtbags accepting money now. The LSM simply cannot be trusted anymore.

    March 26, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  17. Marc in Texas

    Yeah – FOX News GLEEFULLY reports it when a Republican attacks the REAL media for "distortion" when they quote said Republican. Santorum didn't back down, because to do so would have proven what a load of "you-know'what" he truly is. And tying his fundraising to his attack on a reporter for giving him an oportunity to correct one of his stupid statements displays how dumb he believes his supporters are. I am sure they will send him money to seal that deal, too!

    March 26, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  18. Ricky L

    Every single time Santorum wins a primary, the first thing he does is put his foot back into his mouth.

    His famed "backtrack" move usually follows close behind..

    March 26, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  19. Keith A. Sillsbury

    Come on Newt, jump in... He said it but he says he didn't say it but if he would say it it would be true but he's not going to say he said it....blah blah blah.

    March 26, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  20. Charlie from the North

    GOP/Tea Party digging a tunnel to the 16th Century.

    Hey Sanatorium, the Spanish Inquisition called, they want the attitude back.

    March 26, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  21. Jo

    It's sad how often Republicans get outsmarted by journalists.

    March 26, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  22. Brational

    The Santorum (Romney etc.) political model is clear. Divide the country, implement sectarianism, rely on the bible not on science, let the infrastructure degrade, avoid public health measures, arm everyone, have nostalgia for a time of past greatness and you will have iraq (iran, libia, afghanistan, egypt etc.) in America.

    March 26, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  23. callmecrazy

    So Santorum losses his cool. Does this surprise anyone? He did this in the debate with Romney. Remember? He should not be running this country.

    March 26, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  24. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Does Rick eat with the same dirty mouth he talks out of?

    March 26, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  25. Cedar Rapids

    "It's a sad statement on the state of jounalism in this country when the press is nothing but shills for the leftwing Democrat Party."

    So which bit of a reporter asking one republican candidate about what he said about another republican candidate, during election season, is the leftwing shill bit?

    March 26, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
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