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. Al-NY,NY

    "Lamestream media" "liberal bias" what tripe. These fools think only their friend Faux Snews is legitimate. Question your own words and it's the victim card yet again. How pathetic can they be? Of course the sheep fall right in line when they don't have a clue but since they have no will of their own, it can't be unexpected

    March 26, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Fox, foreign owned media with a hint of Saudi, reported their lead story on the 'Titanic' when all other media reported on the addition of 227,000 jobs to the work force. I cannot remember a single instance where they reported any positive news about the president. What will Hanoi Hannity and Bagdad Bill make up next about the president?

    March 26, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  3. B

    Santorum is a angry man that is easily pushed over the line of being Presidential and is not right for the job.

    March 26, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  4. Pam from Iowa

    If you can't stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen!!

    March 26, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  5. GI Joe.

    "Vote for Santorum out of spite" -- that from one of our "more uneducated voters". Sheeeeesh

    March 26, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  6. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Fox viewers could drive the wrong way on I-75 and say it is everyone else who is wrong.

    March 26, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  7. Wouldn't Know the Truth if it bit him

    Yes Lies and Nothing but the Lies, quoting the man WORD FOR WORD is all part of a great MSM plot to get Obama re-elected. What a tool.

    March 26, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  8. Bagger Buster

    Rick, just pray over it. It will all work out. We can't wait for your theocracy

    March 26, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  9. Really?

    How could such a religious man use this type of profanity?? Where is your halo Mr. Santorum?

    March 26, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  10. Daveinil

    Desperate people say desparate things. My opinion of Santorum has dropped to the point where I will be glad when his campaign finally implodes. His temperment disqualifies him for office.

    March 26, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  11. Jack

    We all know how difficult campaigning is and how annoying journalists can be HOWEVER this is very telling. Santorum cannot handle the pressure so well. He is, and I've felt this for a long time, a very angry guy. I've seen youtube interviews with him and he can be very nasty. He was, for example, very unpleasant when asked a difficult question by a college student about his veiw on abortion. He flipped when pressured. Walked off.

    March 26, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  12. DownToEarth8

    I absolutely love the right wing's constant lament about how unfair the media is. Yeah...That damn NYTimes with its Pulitzers and award winning journalism, asking vicious and divisive questions...no.. attacks, like, "You're running for president...Do you mean what you said a few days ago?" How scathing. I'm sure most presidents lose a little bit of their politically correct nature behind the scenes, but cmon, Rick...you're running for President...You yammer on about how Obama is weak and divisive, but you moan and swear over a perfectly acceptable question just because its from a certain news publication. Yeah, I really want you behind the little red button that controls our nukes...

    Seriously. Conservatives have an entire TV network that makes no qualms about its agenda and biases, they absolutely dominate talk radio, not to mention the emergence of blogs becoming so popular (just look at breitbart), and they whine like babies over "the liberal media". There is no "liberal"media...The conservative media is just so far to the right that anything else is naturally going to fall to the left, which in their eyes means its an liberal ploy to indoctrinate American citizens. Gimmie a break.

    March 26, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  13. DownToEarth8

    I absolutely love the right wing's constant lament about how unfair the media is. Yeah...That darn NYTimes with its Pulitzers and award winning journalism, asking vicious and divisive questions...no.. attacks, like, "You're running for president...Do you mean what you said a few days ago?" How scathing. I'm sure most presidents lose a little bit of their politically correct nature behind the scenes, but cmon, Rick...you're running for President...You yammer on about how Obama is weak and divisive, but you moan and swear over a perfectly acceptable question just because its from a certain news publication. Yeah, I really want you behind the little red button that controls our nukes...

    Seriously. Conservatives have an entire TV network that makes no qualms about its agenda and biases, they absolutely dominate talk radio, not to mention the emergence of blogs becoming so popular (just look at breitbart), and they whine like babies over "the liberal media". There is no "liberal"media...The conservative media is just so far to the right that anything else is naturally going to fall to the left, which in their eyes means its an liberal ploy to indoctrinate American citizens. Gimmie a break.

    March 26, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  14. Daveinil

    @Wire Palladin, S. F. Yep, CNN touted the positive news with this opening statement
    "Stronger job growth has brought "good news" recently, but overall, it remains "out of sync" with the modest growth of the U.S. economy, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Monday."

    March 26, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  15. Tim

    What a cry baby!! Oh my goodness, be cursed!!! what would the conservatives say? The bottom line is he said it and now he is caught in giving the Democrates fire against the loser Romney! He is the gift that keeps on giving!!! Can't wait til the Supreme Court sides with President Obama's health care plan!!!! Obama 2012!!!

    March 26, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  16. ned

    These boards are really something. ALL Republicans are self righteous, hypocritical Nazis? ALL Democrats are self righteous godless immoral Marxists? We've got serious problems folks, taking one side and blaring all its propaganda at the top of our voices as if we were in a sports arena, and "our" guy winning is a validation of our own worth. No wonder we can't get the best men in our country to run for president, with all the spinning and character assassination going on. Is every single thing Obama has done wrong, with evil motives behind it? Did Bush accomplish not one single good thing?

    Maybe we should be a little more open minded in this most important decision; listen to many media sources, conservative and liberal, and glean the bits of truth from both sides. We don't have to be afraid of what we will learn–the truth. We don't have to be afraid of modifying our position. (read: flip flopping–horrors!). It would be refreshing to have more measured, reasoned conversation, even if heated, instead of constantly throwing unfounded insults that make us look really dumb and childish.

    March 26, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  17. Dave

    Fox News is owned by Clear Channel. Clear channel is one of the largest media networks in America. Interestingly enough, Clear Channel is half owned by Bain Capitol. Just follow the money trail. Conservatives should stop crying about the "liberal media", it just makes them sound stupid.

    March 26, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  18. Scott

    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."

    So the "liberal media" is any news outlet that you don't agree with? Or any news outlet where they say positive things about the president? Funny how you read and comment on the "liberal medias" website. I don't like Fox News or Rush Limbaugh, so you know what I do? I don't listen to them...

    Part to on Rob...

    Did you read the article? All the reporter was doing was confirming a statement that Santorum said previously! How on earth can Santorum be president when he throws temper tantrums when someone asks him to confirm a statement he MADE ALREADY.

    March 26, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  19. PabloAnciano

    Santorum is grasping at straws. Any logical adult would understand that he does not have what it takes to be POTUS. As for Romney, I hope that he can share what he believes in. We understand that the general election is a whole new ball game!

    March 26, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  20. obandon

    Santorum is definately not Presidential material. His temper alone disqualifies him for office. Imagine him in negotiations with other world leaders who don't agree with him or say what he want's to hear. Not only that but he is a whiner and a hyprocrit! This man is disgusting and I will be glad when he falls on his face so we don't have to look at it anymore. A truly Christian Man would not say or do the things this guy is doing. Not to mention he says things on camera and then labels the media as distorting his comments. Go away already!

    March 26, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  21. lynn

    he said a naughty word .

    March 26, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  22. rosaadriana

    Maybe if Santorum would give a straight answer the question the reporter wouldn't have to ask it again and again.

    March 26, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  23. retiredecee

    CNN should not give a forum to candidate Santorum on anti health anti women items to attack another candidate Romney. Just not fair when Romney is not even present to counter the wrong arguments santorum is presenting during an election season.

    March 26, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  24. GI Joe.

    Who is taking care of his sick child? Certainly not him or his wife. NEGLECT.

    March 26, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  25. Sammie

    Santorum, "Me tough. Me big man. Me swear at New York Times." Duh ...

    March 26, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
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