Romney surrogates attack Santorum's record
February 14th, 2012
04:53 PM ET
11 years ago

Romney surrogates attack Santorum's record

(CNN) - A trio of Missouri surrogates for Mitt Romney took aim at Rick Santorum on Tuesday, saying the former Pennsylvania senator has misled voters on his fiscal conservative record.

"He certainly has been outspoken on social issues, and we honor his record in that regard. But when you get outside those issues…his record shows he's been in the liberal wing of the Republican Party," former Sen. Jim Talent said on a call with reporters.

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Santorum won Missouri's non-binding primary last week with a whopping 55% of the vote, while Romney came in second place at 25%. But the state's delegates will not be up for grabs until Missouri holds its caucuses on March 17.

While Romney did not campaign in the Show-Me State prior to the contest last week, Talent said the campaign plans to have a "vigorous operation" in the coming weeks before the caucuses.

Downplaying Santorum's Missouri win, Talent said Romney's strategy all along has been to hold off until the caucuses, and said last week's primary was like "an exhibition game with only one team playing on the field."

Also on the call was Rep. Billy Long of Missouri and State Auditor Tom Schweich, both of whom praised Romney's credentials in the private sector and bashed Santorum as a Washington insider who falsely paints himself as a conservative.

"I have to admit I'm a little perplexed that…some Missouri friends of mine seem to put Santorum on a pedestal, saying he's 'oh-how conservative.' He views himself, I think, as the second coming of (South Carolina Sen.) Jim DeMint, but he's far, far from that," Long said.

They pointed to Santorum's spending record as a two-term senator, in which the candidate has come under heavy criticism from his opponents over his history of securing earmarks.

The surrogates also highlighted Santorum's support for 'No Child Left Behind' and his vote against right-to-work legislation as evidence against his conservative credentials.

Santorum, however, says he regrets voting for the education reform bill, and he would support a national right-to-work law as president. On earmarks, the candidate has said the practice was popular among Republican lawmakers while he was in office but now opposes it, claiming the system has become abused.

Also see:

Romney seeks to unite conservatives

Protestors disrupt Santorum event, get arrested

National Review calls for Gingrich to leave race

Pro-Romney super PAC increases buy in Michigan

Filed under: 2012 • Missouri • Mitt Romney • Rick Santorum
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Independent in NC

    Romney will not get the nomination by Romneyboating anyone that is a threat. Obama/Biden 2012

    February 14, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |

    The dirty tricks GOBP are just getting started on Ricky Santorum.

    February 14, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  3. Namejkane fl

    Romney, your no longer the front runner and won't get the nomenation, try 2016!!!

    February 14, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  4. tstorm

    I don't like either candidate and won't vote for either one of them but Santorum wasn't even re-elected to office! Take a clue!

    February 14, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  5. Hot doggity

    Sure, if Santorum said he regrets and changes his mind it's ok. But if Romney changes his mind it's flip flop. Can't vote for more spending from Santorum.

    February 14, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  6. Namejkane fl

    None of you clown so called conservatives have any chance of being elected in2012 elections.hick states don't count!!!

    February 14, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  7. American

    Attacks, dirty campaigning & negativity appear to be par for course unfortunately with Romney & surrogates.

    February 14, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  8. Jariv

    Anyone but Obama at this point. The only people that support Obama are the people that have no clue of the founding of this country and the principles that NEED to be followed so we do not become like everyone else, but rather the ones that everyone wants to be like. It is so stupid and ignorant how people can still vote for Obama. I speak to so many and they find always a why, without really knowing what is known to work and what is not. I did not like bush, do not assume I did. I liked Clinton, and I think he was the best so far since I have lived in this country ( I am 26 from Zacatecoluca – look it up if you don't know-). I know where this country should be and with Obama, I know it is not going to get there. The United States Citizens need to wake up. I am afraid they won't because they THINK that he is going to do well for them. I assure you, the reader, he is NOT.

    February 14, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "None of you clown so called conservatives have any chance of being elected in2012 elections.hick states don't count!!!"

    Now now...that's not fair. Just because they can't count doesn't mean they don't count.

    February 14, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  10. Jariv

    Romney 2012 !!! That is the real person that can bring real Hope to The United States. He is the perfect candidate to do what needs to be done to the Government to make it efficient.

    February 14, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  11. Texas Doc

    Santorum needs to play the Mormon card. Everyone has been quiet about it, but now is the time to expose Romney's deep affiliation with a cult.

    February 14, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  12. Hair bear

    Both of these jokers are losers ! Will somebody please wake me when this is over!

    February 14, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  13. indyreader

    If you have contempt for the same people Santorum does, maybe you don't mind him spitting out inflammatory propaganda like comparing same-gender couples to "man on dog" – but seriously, you can disagree with someone without resorting to that adolescent level of name-calling. Yet Ricky used those exact words, and defended it. How obvious is it that to compare a mixed race couple to "man on monkey" would be completely unacceptable? Why was this any different? It's not, but like I said, maybe if you have contempt for the same people Santorum does, you may not care.
    But thoughtful moderate voters certainly do. Santorum would not have a snowflake's chance in a general election against Obama, especially when the economy has trended upwards for a few more months. The man doesn't deserve the level of authority of a toll-booth operator on the New Jersey turnpike, let alone a high elected political office.

    February 14, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  14. Al-NY,NY

    If Santorum is liberal, then Mittens is a downright Commie!! They have to be kidding.

    February 14, 2012 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  15. Charlotte

    Santorum's time to be "vetted" is just now beginning and republicans and tea party supporters will have to explain to the rest of us why Santorum is any better (more conservative) than the other candidates...which he is NOT. As for me, I am still wondering why his tax returns have never surfaced...what is HE hiding from? Once those are released voters will see how much money he made as a Washington lobbyist, a true D.C. Insider among other questionable activities. It's time you play by the rules, we deserve to see your taxes as well Mr. Santorum!

    February 14, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  16. 1nd3p3nd3nt

    it's amazing how many new people to politics are getting involved. I want to encourage that.
    however, it's imperative that you all research the candidates independently, do not rely on the news stories or the debates. So many issues have not even been brought up yet about multiple candidates.

    it's a shame how easily we are mislead by clever advertising and posturing during campaigns, the most important thing to remember is that every politician spins, and every spin is close to a lie, if not an outright lie.

    obama at this point is probably going to get my vote, as unfortunately the republican party has squandered it's chance to field a reasonable candidate to challenge him.

    so stay involved, get involved, and above all else, think critically, objectively and constantly.

    here's to the second half!
    here's to the next frontier!
    here's to a better tomorrow and better US of A!

    February 14, 2012 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  17. Maxx

    Here comes Romney's attack machine – the only thing he has going for him besides being severely conservative. So now Romney is moving to the right of Santorum? Good luck with that Mitt.

    February 14, 2012 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  18. Satberry

    Willard is so much more dangerous than Santorum.Santorum is predictable,but Willard is not.It's always better to know your opponents move before he does.Willard you can never tell,because he is like Cybil,multiple personality disorder.

    February 14, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  19. justaminit

    Rats have been known to eat their own. Any similarities here?

    February 14, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  20. FedUp

    Santorum has been in the "liberal wing"? Unlike Romney of course, who has been "severely conservative"? Yeah, right!

    February 14, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  21. Ed Fl

    This person just got kicked out of his Senate job by his own peoplein his home state.You would think that he is smart enough to see that result and not make a bigger mistake to try and run for a national office. His positions on contraception and gays is not going to get him many votes based on those subjects. If he cannot see and understand that then his smarts scoring is going to be a HUGE detriment.Trying to change your Image and thoughts now will only agitate the voters more and ensure they will not change their opinion of you.

    February 14, 2012 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  22. Duktig1

    My question is what does it matter who is the most conservative? If our problem in the country is the economy don't we want someone with some experience with economic issues. Santorum's biggest accomplishment has been that for 12 years in the Senate his status was a "committee member". If I had a business that needed help, would I pick Santorum or Romney? Well, Romney has at least saved troubled organizations in the past. He turned the Massachusetts budget around from $2-3B down to $2-3 B up. He rescued the troubled Olympics from several hundred million down to a million in the black. We can talk all we want about whether someone is likely to do something or not. Santorum has done nothing from a leadership perspective, and hasn't had to act as a leader on anything. It is easy to have opinions as a Senator where you are 1 of 100. It is much better being the only one at the top. So, I'd set let Santorum claim to be the number 1 conservative. If that helped us get out of our hole and get folks to work, maybe that would be enough. But, I do not think it is enough. I think it is a smoke screen. I also agree with Hot Diggity on Santorum's hypocracy. He wants to be permitted to change his mind. As Romney has said multiple times, he would reverse Obamacare. Yet, Santorum is running on saying that Romney won't do as he says. I just don't think our solution is to elect the "UN-Romney" because it doesn't mean we'll get anything done. No idea how Santorum will actually make a difference.

    February 14, 2012 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |