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. MakeThemEatCake

    If that is how a group of people, in an organized, peaceful manner, voice their concern over their future are described (drug dealers and addicts) then career politicians can easily be described as whores (and party leadership as pimps) selling their influence and power to lobbyists and corporate sponsors in order to maintain their current employment status. And their tax supported healthcare benefits. And their tax supported salary (voted on by themselves by the way – and they negotiate their salary and benefits amongst themselves). So, please, stop handing the voters this line of crap. Political parties, democrat, republican and (I laugh as I write this) tea party, are themslevs nothing more than unions.

    February 23, 2011 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  2. Mary

    Is he really calling teachers "drug addicts"?

    February 23, 2011 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  3. vic nashville tn

    He is saying that and he is planning to run for president shame

    Past four weeks state legislators introducing new bill every week. Those bills nothing to do with economy or jobs but those bills similar to Glen Beck view sad

    With in three months gas price went up by 40c to 50c. We are thinking about how to improve our economy in the middle of Middle East crisis but republicans focusing on next election

    February 23, 2011 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  4. PalmReader

    What is it with these GOPer presidential wannabee's who are unable to understand that their divisive hate speech won't get any one of them past their own GOPer primary? Keep talking hate, Rick. It suits you. Keep insisting that the working class need to give up more and more to YOUR corporate puppet masters by insisting WE tighten OUR belts . . . all for the benefit of the upper 2%ers who apparently don't have enough millions to satisfy THEIR needs, and aren't being asked to tighten anything, except the stronghold they continue to have over American politics and American corporations.

    February 23, 2011 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  5. doight

    Look up the definition of Santorum. It fits the man who it is named after.

    February 23, 2011 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  6. Mr.Boombostick

    Comedy at its best

    February 23, 2011 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  7. LooneyBin

    And I compare Santorum to... Santorum. Go to urbandictionary to see what the term "Santorum" means.

    February 23, 2011 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  8. Carol in PA

    He isn't smart enough to understand the issue, so all he can do is call people names. Americans are going to realize what these awful Republicans are really up to, and the 2012 elections will be very different than 2010.

    February 23, 2011 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  9. boatnmaniac

    Santorum is being pretty selective in what he refers to as entitlements. It's a pretty sure bet that he takes advantage of all the entitlements he can...things like deductions, credits and exemptions when filing his income taxes. And I'll bet he fully supports defunding the government budget via tax cuts for the wealthy as it probably benefits him (another form of entitlement). What a hypocrite.

    February 23, 2011 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  10. The Other Dale

    And so much for that political campaign. No doubt his handlers are already tearing out their hair and crying because he was supposed to voice those opinions AFTER he suckered people into voting for him, not BEFORE. Didn't he learn anyting from Walker?

    February 23, 2011 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  11. Tim

    This guy needs a reality check. Labor Rights are a very seriour issue that people have been fighting in this country for centuries. For him to make light of the situation, shows that he's definitelty unfit to be President.

    February 23, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  12. BobInIrvine

    Right, having a balance between management and labor is just like a drug... NOT!

    The Republican'ts are digging their own graves for 2012. I'd hand them a shovel, but they feel entitled and I don't want to encourage their addiction to digging up BS.

    February 23, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  13. RS_in_WI

    I’m not sure how this supposed leader compares workers’ very real concerns about a net income decrease, and about the future of their careers, to a drug addict’s reaction. That is simply a ridiculously stupid metaphor and trivializes the situation in Wisconsin.

    FWIW, I am not a public worker, but I work alongside a number of them, and work one block from the capitol in Madison.
    This has been a peaceful, well-behaved, and clean protest. People of the community have been picking up after themselves, providing toiletries to the overwhelmed capitol facilities, and keeping this a very civil process. At the end of each day you cannot tell 10,000+ people (and upwards of 60,000 last weekend) have been occupying the area.

    Not exactly the behavior of drug addicts in withdrawal.

    This “crisis” in Wisconsin’s budget only exists because the Governor and Republican lawmakers gave away the $140M+ surplus in tax breaks for companies as soon as they took office. *Now* it’s a crisis that must be borne on the back of public workers, and specifically teachers? Is there a more disgusting example of putting corporate and business interests above those of the people of the State?

    Reading the rest of the so-called Budget Repair bill is such a blatant power-grab by the Governor, in several areas. It’s almost a shame that the collective bargaining issue is overshadowing everything else.

    February 23, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  14. a in austin

    AND HE WANTS TO BE PRESIDENT? Those protesting have the right to stand up for their beliefs. They are workers, tax payers, and most important Americans! Nothing wrong with standing up for Main Street. Drug addicts? And people wonder why we as a country are becoming so divided. WE HEAR YOUR VOICE WISCONSIN.

    February 23, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  15. Rosslaw

    And I would compare Rick Santorum and Gov. Rick Walker to the types of governments that like them, despise and move against organized labor, i.e. the People's Republic of China, Castro's Cuba, all former Soviet regimes and their satelites in the former eastern Europe, etc. You keep real good company Rick. Now, if Walker can just get to the real part of his agenda which is to sell off, in legislative authorized secret, no bid contracts, all of Wisconsin's utilities and other assets to his fundraisers like the Koch Brothers.

    February 23, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  16. Randy

    As he sits and collects health benifits paid for by the American public.

    February 23, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  17. paul

    Keep talking the "crazy" talk and you can consider yourself done with a possible presidential nomination. American people do not want an extremist as their president and you are talking like one. President Obama's rating continue to climb as he moves to the center because that is what people want. You, gingrich, bachman, demint, beck, limbaught, etc. and all the others radicals need an intervention.

    February 23, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  18. W.G.

    I googled Santorum and found him on Wikipedia and I totally agree .

    February 23, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  19. Real Patriots Do MORE than Salute the flag, They educate themselves

    Nah Pretty Ricky, they're like Egyptians. Your boy Ryan already made that comparison. Scottie Walker is Hosni Mubarak and we all know how well that ended for Hosni. Scottie doesn't know. Scottie doesn't know, Scottie doesn't know.....

    Pretty Ricky once again living up to his knuckle dragging neanderthal name

    February 23, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  20. KathyC in Minnesota

    The Union demonstrators are being compared to Drug addicts???

    What planet is Rick Santorum from...URANUS???? Seems his opinions come from that orifice on a regular basis.

    February 23, 2011 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  21. Casual Citizen

    So, a couple of nights ago The Daily Show pointed out to us that the PEOPLE OF WIISCONSIN elected this new Gov. They got rid of the Democrats in office for the most part...the current Gov. ran on the platform of doing this very thing......

    And.....THEY VOTED HIM IN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now they are pissy with him. It just killls me! Are they shocked by the chioce this Repug gov made, AFTER he ran his campaign saying he would do this if elected?

    I don't understand the voters, like Bill Mahr says, most American's are just plain dumb. If perhaps the people in Wisconsin found out about the person they are voting for and their policies they have in mind if elected, maybe they wouldn't be in this situation. Now, the Gov is doing exactlly what he said he was going to do........and they are mad. What gives with that?

    Got rid of all those Democrats.....how is that working for ya'll now?! It's not.

    February 23, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  22. Tom

    Not many people in PA like you, Rick, I suggest you not make more working people hate you too. We wouldn't want that nice, expensive suit to get dirty helping out the working class.

    February 23, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  23. Mark

    Didn't Moammar Gadhafi ALSO just equate the protesters in Libya to drug addicts? Tasty pick in analogies, bone head!

    February 23, 2011 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  24. greep

    So.... by this logic, he has to think the same about Social Security, that it's a drug and a budget blackhole. But, he can't say that, or he might lose the votes of the older conservatives on SS. Talking about of both sides of the mouth.

    February 23, 2011 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  25. Anthony Patrick

    Tim,
    He's just looking for press coverage. And I agree with your assessment.
    The Big Three Automakers went into financial trouble because of decisions management made on poor quality and bad choices for designs, which had absolutely nothing to do with Union Contracts. He hasn't a clue as to what is wrong.

    February 23, 2011 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
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