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. Ellen

    Only an idiot would compare this to a "drug addict". This was not mentioned when the rich accepted their "fix" they are enjoying at our expense. This has become a country of "take care of the super rich" to hell with U.S workers and jobs. This deal is about pulling the plug on any and all rights of collective bargaining for all in the U.S. states. What a massive bunch of lies these dudes fed the voters to get their votes.

    February 23, 2011 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  2. mom2homer

    As a parent, I know that even when my child misbehaves, I'm still supposed to behave like an adult. That means treating my child with respect–including not making fun of him–even if he's having a tantrum or fighting a losing argument. Resorting to insults and demeaning your opponent is not what I consider "behaving like an adult," but clearly Mr. Santorum believes it's a good strategy. Whether or not his drug-addict metaphor is accurate, it gives me zero confidence that he'd make an effective president.

    February 23, 2011 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  3. Al-NY,NY

    clueless....utterly clueless. It's only these union members who want to protect their collective bargaining rights (while already saying cuts/deferrments in pay is OK) that are "addicted"? What about the other entitlement programs Ricky boy?

    February 23, 2011 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  4. Marcus

    Since the 'they have to pay their part' lie is no longer standing for they (the protesters) have over and over said that they agreed to paid their part and that is NOT the reason for the protests...
    He have to retort to smear-like comparisons?
    And this guy is lauded as POTUS material?
    Pathetic, isn't?

    February 23, 2011 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  5. Dave

    How dare he . people are saying they dont want there rights taken away and he Is calling them Drug addicts. What a crock this Is nothing but a assualt on The middle class. I have worked in both a union shop and a non union and while the Union sometimes can be a pain In the butt compared to the un justice the company without the union did to us I will take The pain in the butt union any day.

    February 23, 2011 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  6. Indie Woman in Denver

    Don't listen to this idiot.

    February 23, 2011 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  7. Northdakotax

    That's why this guy is such a lightweight

    February 23, 2011 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  8. odd

    Hey,I think your talking about your buddy,Rush Limpbone aren,t you! He,s the one who is "strung-out" on opium! Your a loose mouthed idiot,traitor ,Santitorium! You will be on the chopping block,next election! We don,t need third world comments and insulting statements about our working Americans,from Teaparty extremist! Your a dictator not a politician!!! Go Wisconsin, keep up your fight!!! Don,t let "tyrants" try to insult you!!!! The GOP put us where were at,DAH!

    February 23, 2011 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  9. Dave

    This guy is a nut job. Someone please take him away and lock him up. Santorum is the prototypical right-wing "Christian" who claims to be aligned with "Christian" morals and values but only spreads messages of hate. People like Santorum are a detriment to society. He and his kind are a threat to this nation with their bloated sense of conservatism extremism.

    February 23, 2011 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  10. sonny chapman

    He's right. It's called the drug of Human Dignity. You're seeing in the Mid-East by the amasses. It's little people standing up to the powers that be, like heartless Corporate Repubs. & saying,"I am a human created by God. I WILL be heard."

    February 23, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  11. johnmccain

    The best way to win the middle class and independents. Fool!! Modern government in the 21st century can not sustain thinking of the 18th century! Get out of the way!!!

    February 23, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  12. FM

    There we go! Monday is longer than Sunday. The 2012 has already started not even a candidate has been nominated yet, leave alone announcing their candidacy either!

    February 23, 2011 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  13. Bill

    Hey Ricky, for a guy running for president, you are pretty uninformed. This is about collective bargaining rights, not government entitlements. Also, the state democratic senators have agreed to what the governor is proposing in terms of retirement contributions, benefits, etc. The only stick point is the collective bargaining issue. Go back to PA. and do what ever you do there – you will never be president.

    February 23, 2011 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  14. dave

    The drug of use is called BIG MONEY. The users are the con men who tell us that middle Americans are the cause of all the problems. Let us have your money and jobs and give them to the Billionaires.

    February 23, 2011 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  15. elobogrande

    The unions have provided workers with "as safe as possible" work environments, forced employers to pay prevailing wages to the trades to ensure that they cannot hire "cheaper foreign labor. They gave us overtime laws to promote more jobs instead of over working one person. If not for the unions and collective bargaining, we would let these corporations send ALL our jobs to overseas sweat shops or cheaper foreign labor come in to replace the American worker. (We would all work for a cup of beans or rice a day) They have provided training to ensure workers are skilled in their craft. If the government did not rob the healthcare coffers and put in worthless IOU's, they would not have gone broke. BTW: In almost every case, the union worker pays more into taxes than their non-union counterpart. If you cannot/will not see the benefits of unions...try working in Mexico! These same lawmaker wish to cut education so we will be too dumb to do the math or research their lies.

    February 23, 2011 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  16. Uncle Fudd

    So having your employement contract be honored by your employer and having a legal right to collectively bargain the terms of that contract are compared to a "Drug" and fighting for the anti-American forces that would unilaterally abrogate that contract and remove your ability to regress that grievence in the courts is the act of an "addicts"?

    Santorum is a dishonest evil idiot. His supporters are beyond comrehension. Being a wage earning Republican these days is like being a Jewish Nazi.

    February 23, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  17. Matt

    Oh Ricky. And you wonder why we Pennsylvanian's got rid of you as a Senator? You never cease to amaze me with your foot-in-mouth comments. Good luck wasting time on the campaign trail.

    February 23, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  18. Keith

    What kind of Kool-Aid do these GOP people drink??? This is getting ridiculous between Santorum, Palin, Limbaugh...why is CNN even giving them the light of day?

    February 23, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  19. LA, LA, LA

    And this one think he can be elected for President.

    February 23, 2011 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  20. Are you kidding me ?

    Drug addict's, really ? This guy is supposed to be running for POTUS , are you kidding me ? Santorum is as loony as they come , he, Palin , Bachman and all the other's cut from that stupid tree , should be nowhere near the presidency ! Thank you GOP for showing your true color's throughout this whole drama ! GOP you just keep reminding us why we got rid of your majority's in the first place !

    February 23, 2011 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  21. Rick McDaniel

    Every time Santorum opens his mouth lately, he sticks his foot in it. He has NO CHANCE of becoming President.

    February 23, 2011 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  22. Chumlee

    Isn't this the same loser who could not get relected?

    Santtorum: go home and find a rock to crawl under!

    February 23, 2011 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  23. T'sah from Virginia

    Santorum – his shiny forehead and his 1% approval is through!!!
    From this day forward, he better find something else to do
    Most of all, he better stay away from WI while the people fight back
    Because you know how a “drug addict” gets without their CRACK!!!

    The RepubliCAN’Ts are on their last leg and they want us to know
    From Christie, Barbour, and this fool, Santorum, to the Glenn BeckY show
    That this is what happens when a dying race refuse to fall
    RepubliCAN’Ts get “cocky” and “arrogant” – they THINK they’re still above all!!!

    PEOPLE UNITE (and it’s NOT a Republican’t or Democrat thing) – for the past several years we allowed the TP to voice their far-right agenda and the world thought they were in control. But we believe in democracy and now it’s our time to voice our opinion when we know we’re not being treated right. Our fight is “different” – it’s not about going against other people – calling the other side Hitler or Monkeys – it’s not about “bringing guns to rallies” – it’s about our RIGHTS – the WORKING middle class – which is now being “trampled” on!!!

    February 23, 2011 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  24. oregonian101

    I wonder if he says the same thing when efforts are made to close income tax loopholes that benefit the wealthy and large corporations, or, end the Bushist tax cuts that benefit the top 2% of wage earners?

    February 23, 2011 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  25. terry, va

    When you have been on "the tit" as long as union workers have been , they do go through withdrawal. Look at the auto workers in Detroit. I have no problem in firing the teachers that have walked off their job. Their obligation is to the PUBLIC. They aren't any better than anyone else in the private sector. Private sector employees have had their benefits and wages cut for years. Get with the program or be fired !!!!!

    February 23, 2011 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
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