Santorum compares Wisconsin protesters to drug addicts
February 23rd, 2011
08:50 AM ET
12 years ago

Santorum compares Wisconsin protesters to drug addicts

Washington (CNN) - All-but-declared presidential candidate Rick Santorum is stirring the pot when it comes to government entitlements, comparing the pro-union protesters in Wisconsin to drug addicts in withdrawal.

"They are acting like their drug is being taken away from them," Santorum told a small gathering of South Carolina Republicans Monday night, according to the Spartanburg Herald-Journal.

The comments came the same day thousands of protesters rallied outside the Wisconsin state capitol for the second week, upset with Gov. Scott Walker's plan to limit collective bargaining rights for public-sector employees. Walker says the plan is necessary to stem the state's budget crisis while pro-union groups say the governor is trying to curb long-held labor rights under a guise of fiscal responsibility.

Meanwhile, Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator who is widely expected to seek his party's presidential nomination, added he thinks those who support government entitlements – including the recent health care law – are "no better than a drug dealer."

"They give you a subtle narcotic to make you feel better as you do worse," said Santorum.

Santorum's visit to South Carolina marked the 10th time he has visited that crucial early primary state as he seeks to shore up support ahead of his likely presidential bid. He's also returning to the early-voting state of Iowa Thursday to meet with several activists groups and take part in some statewide media interviews. He's also visited New Hampshire several times.


Filed under: Rick Santorum • Wisconsin
soundoff (100 Responses)
  1. ConservaFascists

    This is how out of touch the fascists repoublicans are. They resort to name calling. How childish.

    February 23, 2011 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  2. The Unsub

    that is why you will never win anything. we the people!

    February 23, 2011 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  3. Inmyopinion

    It's time to make public record the salaries and benefits of government employees for all of us in the community to review so we can see where our tax dollars are going. It's time for transparency. Unions should also make their financial records public record if such Union represents government employees. We need transparency in these 2 areas.

    February 23, 2011 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  4. modmike

    so disrespectful!

    February 23, 2011 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  5. Randy, San Francisco

    Looks like Santorum caught the "foot in the mouth" disease from Palin and Bachmann. Add Santorum to the list of GOP candidates who show non-presidential qualities.

    February 23, 2011 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  6. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Santorum is an unthinking ideologue. Why must workers no matter where they work lose their benefits that are part of a contract? I can't believe just because people are civil servants that they can't be allowed to be have health care benefits. There must be some way to attract the best to work for the state. I guess that Santorum would rather have no worker protections anywhere.

    February 23, 2011 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  7. sogreat1989

    Some things you shouldn't say. Especially if running for president. You don't call them people you most likely want to vote for you drug dealers or addicts. That just isn't sound in the wake of running for president. It is disrespect to the fact that these people are exercising their right to freedom of speech. They can protest all they want and you should throw slanderess words around without thinking them through.

    February 23, 2011 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  8. Former Republican - Now Independent

    Reckless and stupid statements like this are going to get Barack Obama re-elected in 2012.

    February 23, 2011 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  9. video guy

    A union does not just go up to the employer and demand stuff, all these programs the Republicans want to do away with were given to the members by a government body. For example a School Board.

    February 23, 2011 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  10. Bill

    But Rick, this is how you buy a vote.

    February 23, 2011 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  11. Todd M

    Um.. While I tend to agree with the Republicans on most of the issues in Wisconsin, calling citizens drug addicts is not going to m ake me feel warm and fuzzty about you Santorum. If you want to criticize policies or positions fine, but don't start calling people drug addicts , unless you have first hand experience with it.

    February 23, 2011 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  12. harvey 60

    wrong, Rick. The drug addicts are you and your Republican friends who had to have your $700 billion tax breaks or you would have shriveled to nothing in your mansions. Your campaign will be nothing more than a footnote in the history of your do-nothing political party.

    February 23, 2011 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  13. jim

    America really SUCKS !!!!!!!!! I hate this country more and more as the days go on. Middle class is dying. Screw the american rich !!! Screw america !!!

    I want to leave and watch it fall from the outside.

    So sad to be an american. Never thought I'd say that. I'm just glad I never went to fight any war for this BS government. Very sorry for the good folk who did – you fought for the sake of the rich, not america.

    February 23, 2011 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  14. Name Jeremy from Dallas

    Seriously!!!! This guy is foolish. Contractual benefits in a legally abiding work contracts must be respected. Contracts can be negotiated. lt is morally eroding to equate union workers fighting for their legal rights with drug dealers. We need a candidate who respects citizen rights and can use democratic tools to settle disputes and not Gaddaffi like tactics our republican governor in Wisconsin is using.

    February 23, 2011 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  15. Chuck Anaheim, Ca

    Seeing a poll that 66% of Wisonsans OPPOSE the union busting tactics of the fascist governor I would think that these republicants should tone down their wild rhetoric and support the middle class or rick a shellacking in the next election. Why do they continue to make it look like it was the common guys fault that their wall-street paymasters got greedy and destroyed the economy?

    February 23, 2011 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  16. tstorm

    Republicans continue to show their disdain for everyday working Americans....

    February 23, 2011 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  17. michael , MN

    As the Koch brother finance the death of the middle class our politicians will not rest untill working at walmart will seem like a dream job while they all enjoy lifetime benifits and of course Government paid health care for life

    February 23, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  18. EBC

    So typical of Republicans. They think the middle class are nothing but drug addicts, lazy workers, etc. AND these are the idiots who the Tea Baggers and Right Wing Voters voted into office. WHO'S crying now?

    Republicans don't care about the American Middle Class, they want DOMINATION AND CONTROL over everything so they can line their GREEDY POCKETS at the expense of the average Joe and Sally working hard every day to just make ends meet!!

    February 23, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  19. Annie, Atlanta

    Isn't this the guy who after his premature newborn son died (very sad), he and his wife bundled the baby up and took him to her parents' home where they introduced him to his siblings, passed him around, and took pictures. I'm sorry, but that is way beyond sick. Why is this man allowed any honorable mentions anywhere?

    February 23, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  20. FactCheck

    Funny, weren't you and your ilk acting exactly the same when tax cuts for the very rich were set to expire?

    February 23, 2011 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  21. Seattle Sue

    Talk about addiction, Santorum must be addicted to living off the public teat! The voters of Pennsylvania told him in no uncertain terms they were fed up with his sorry right wing, ultra religious azz. Here he is again trying to get back on the public dole. Like must Republican/tea Party candidates he has no use for the average working people as they just can't donate as much money as the wealthy people/corporations.

    February 23, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  22. detada

    Interesting....what the protestors are feeling (drug addiction withdrawal) is probably similar to how Mr Santorum would feel if corporations were to stop funding his lifestyle and he were faced with the prospects of having to find a real job.

    February 23, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  23. Chedar

    I thought Santoroum means a pile of dung. Keep on talking like Backmann and Palin and you will be featured in SNL as a bogeyman.

    February 23, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  24. lgny

    Yes, he is correct MONEY is a drug. You take away my money (wages, benefits, retirement) and I get very upset!

    If you aspire to be president, you need to show you have some understanding of ALL people, not just your sycophants.

    February 23, 2011 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  25. Steve Whinfield

    Santorum is mean spirited. The union will give back but he wants to break their spirit. Future generations can say good bye to the weekend/40hour work week.

    February 23, 2011 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
1 2 3 4