August 19th, 2012
12:36 PM ET
2 years ago

Santorum calls Obama campaign 'divisive,' pointing to Biden comment

(CNN) - Rick Santorum, who himself waged a bitter fight with Mitt Romney during this year's GOP primaries, said Sunday that a sharp turn to the negative in the general election fight between Romney and President Barack Obama is a product of divisive rhetoric from the president and his team.

"I don't get the sense that Gov. Romney is complaining about the negative attacks, but he will tell you as much as anyone else, you are in a political race and you are going to take the blows and go after each other," Santorum told CNN national political correspondent Jim Acosta on "State of the Union."

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What Romney takes issue with, Santorum argued, is the Obama team's attempts to pit Americans against each other.

"He is talking about the tone of the Obama campaign, and it is divisive," Santorum said. "And it is one thing to attack him on his record, and fair game - go for it. But to go out and do what he is doing as far as dividing the country - and he is - it is class warfare at its worst.'

The former Pennsylvania senator pointed to comments from Vice President Joe Biden as indicative of that message, saying Biden was playing "the race card" when he spoke to a group in Danville, Virginia, last week.

"(Romney) is going to let the big banks once again write their own rules, unchain Wall Street," Biden told a predominantly African-American crowd in Danville, a city with a long history of racial tension. "He is going to put y'all back in chains."

"Y'all?" Santorum asked incredulously. "Y'all is y'all. When you are in a group - and I have been in groups like that, and you know, it is very easy when you are in a group of people that, you know, when you are in the South or up in different areas of the country and different groups of people - and you develop an affinity with the group that you are speaking in front of, and that is what the vice president was doing. And he tried to develop the affinity and he did it in a horrendous way, and he should apologize for it."

Stephanie Cutter, Obama's deputy campaign manager, said Sunday that Biden had no plans to apologize for the remark, insisting that he was simply repurposing language used frequently by Republicans.

"Let's look at what the vice president said," Cutter said, also on "State of the Union." "Speaker Boehner, and even Paul Ryan, has been going around the country saying that we need to unshackle the financial sector. And Vice President Biden was taking the metaphor a step further and talking about putting other people in chains. And the word chains is a distraction from the larger argument."

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Filed under: 2012 • President Obama • Rick Santorum
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Jane

    Specifically, that remark was not divisive - and IF it could be construed that way, then how about when Santorum used the SAME WORDING in a speech months ago. Another classic case of IOWIAR – it's okay when it's a Republican. Generally, how can a party that did everything but pull a gun on their own in the debates speak to what's 'divisive'? Santorum, Gingrich, et al. still hate Romney's guts but he's found each one's price of his soul to ensure they keep their mouths shut during the general election. Meh.

    August 19, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  2. CB FL

    You people are not in the same class as the 2%.

    August 19, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  3. Jules

    Just playing follow the leader as these guys always do. Seems to me you thought Romney was pretty much a liar during the primaires. Guess what, Rick – Romney is still a liar. Yet, you follow your little party line – the pary of no guts, no ideas and no independent critical thinking.

    August 19, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  4. Jules

    Let's face it – the GOP actually does think you can put toothpaste back in the tube and go back to the 1950's – so I pretty much think that is what Joe Biden was saying. Since the civil rights legislation didnt come along until the 60's, going back to the 50's would be pretty detrimental to the African Americans and other minorites in this county.

    August 19, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  5. anthony76

    Sorry but Republicans have absolutely no grounds to talk about "divisiveness". Really?
    Save all that noise.

    The party of Newt, Palin, Rove, Nudgent, Giulliani, Santorum, Beck, Rush, Hannity, Bachman, Santorum.... AND the Tea Partiers.
    Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow.

    Heaven forbid a Democrat try and help out the middle class or anyone in need.

    August 19, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  6. GI Joe

    We WILL be chained to more debt, deficit, and despair if republicans de-regulate the banks.

    August 19, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  7. mb2010a

    What a crock... Santorum and the Republican Tea party are the most divisive group that this nation has ever seen in our history. Pot calling the kettle black...the Republicans can dish it out but can't take it when it comes back at them. Two months ago Santorum was calling Romney every name in the book and vice versa...what a load of you know what.

    August 19, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  8. Jeff in Virginia

    Riiight. Lets just forget about Santorum's own words.

    August 19, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  9. Down the bayou

    Really Santorum? From the Pittsburg Post-Gazette on August 13, 2011 of former Sen. Santorum's comments during the Iowa Republican Primary.

    "Mr. Santorum warned against the perils of the national health care law approved by Congress last year. He said that if it were allowed to take full effect, "it is the end of liberty." The measure would create a dangerous sense of dependency on government, he said. "They will put you in chains called 'Obamacare,' and you will never break away."

    So were the white audience members to infer that President Obama was going to put them in literally in chains? Come on.

    August 19, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  10. normajean @ verizon ,com

    The Republicans have been throwing it just as hard and fast as they can for several years and now that they are getting it back....they are complaining....Sounds like" a room full of five year olds"... We have not forgotten Mitch McConnells opening statement...and we will not forget it........If the heat is too much for you Repubs......get out of the kitchen!!!!!!

    August 19, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  11. CaliforniaBC

    It's so amusing hearing these republicans calling Obama divisive when they are the kings/queens of that very thing. Divisiveness IS their political strategy.

    The GOP especially Santorum haven't a leg to stand on calling Obama divisive.

    August 19, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  12. flickerman

    Chains is a metaphor. Disenfranchising the African American voter is putting him in chains.

    August 19, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  13. NOT a Government Dependent

    Anybody that believes Obama hasn't been the most divisive president in our history either hasn't been conscious over the last 4 years or is outright lying or is smoking too much weed and lost touch with reality.

    August 19, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  14. Thomas

    How do men like Rick Santorum find followers ?

    When will he use his little girl to show us how kind and compassionate he is again ?

    I hope she is doing good , and is happy. I just can't stand these kinds of photo op , flavors of the month , politicians that exploit , there kids for there own gain.

    Sorry , he has six kids , go be a father Rick.. Bringing up 6 children should be your priority , not telling others how too.

    August 19, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  15. boris1421

    The real class warfare started when the rich conservatives pitted the middle class against the poor by telling them that the poor are living off of the middle class taxes. So while the poor and the middle class were fighting, the rich conservatives could systematically dismantle our infrastructure and give the money to the rich in the form of obscenely low tax cuts. We are so far to the right that we are bordering on fascism. Remember it wasn't the poor widowed mother with a 700 dollar welfare check in her hand trying to feed her starving children that broke the back of the american economy. It was the mega rich wall street people with their crooked business practices that gambled peoples pension programs, and the Romneys who went across the country and systematically put people on welfare by destroying their careers and pocketing the retirement that would have taken care of them for the rest of their lives. And with large cash surpluses on hand, the Conservative business machine has a massive propoganda program that manipulates the uneducated voting populace. If you can't define what a system of checks and balances is, or you don't know what a fillibuster is, your vote is probably more damaging to our country than helpful.

    August 19, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  16. John N Florida

    But it was okay when Santorum referred to 'chains' ??????????????

    August 19, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  17. dee

    Santorum, Shamful,and immoral!!! Loser!

    August 19, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  18. ptny

    Santorum say's"Divisive" How blind are you? Remember Santorum's Prejudice, bigoted racial campaign?

    “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money” –Rick Santorum, 01/12/2011

    Not to mention his views on women and the choices they may want to make about their own bodies.

    Santorum is not only unhinged from reality, but he is part of a society that thinks they are "Supreme"! GOP!

    August 19, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  19. ptny

    We just need to go back the the Republican nominating process to remember all the "secret society" comments the cameras got from private fund raiser dinners unbeknownst to the candidates.

    August 19, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  20. Phil Thomas

    iif people fall for this, Jeez we need help as a country. The last person slinging this accusation is this clown

    August 19, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  21. Howard

    Obama has been using racism, and class warfare to divide America, for the past 4 years !!!

    August 19, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  22. ptny

    Seems to me the headlines planted on some of these websites are there only to provoke us into commenting.

    August 19, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  23. Marry

    @ T'sah From Virginia
    ►Santorum calls Obama campaign 'divisive,' pointing to Biden comment◄
    Santorum borrowed the "Etch-A-Sketch" from Romney so he can begin his "erase attempt"
    In my opinion, we do not need ya'll or Santorum telling us what is "divisive" when it comes to our Black beliefs
    Especially, since he ya'll don't care about our bout and Santoum would care lesser if he became "commander-in-chief"
    Now ya'll vote for President Obama now 'cause he's the "Only Trusted Way to go Forward!!!"
    …nicely put! It is absolutely disgusting how the GOP tries to stick thinks to the President. He has proven over and over again that he has class and all the other wonderful trades the “men” of the GOP are all lacking! For Santorum to say differently after what the GOP (party of “NO”) has done to the President since he is in office is DISGUSTING! Alone for that (and there are more than 1000 other reasons!) nobody should EVER vote for this bunch of “misrepresenters”!!!

    August 19, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  24. Walt

    Santorum WHO?

    August 19, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  25. Bill, NY

    There are no people who are more devisive that republicans. Face the facts the party is populated by those who jumped from being Democrats to being Republicans because they did not like what Kennedy and then LBJ were doing to promote equal rights that should have been the case after the Civil War. The overt racism perpetrated against the current president cannot be denied. Could you imagine what would have happened had some black or hispanic politician shouted out during a Bush speech "YOU LIE!!" ?

    August 19, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
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