Romney, Santorum: Their war of words with themselves
On the campaign trail, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have both made comments providing a field day for their critics.
March 2nd, 2012
12:57 PM ET

Romney, Santorum: Their war of words with themselves

Both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have suffered self-inflicted wounds while campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination.

For Romney, it has been comments that play into the stereotype he’s an elitist, out of touch with the common Joe, or not a committed conservative.

For Santorum, his long-held, far-right positions on social issues may make it difficult for him to sway independents and disaffected Democrats that he would need to win the general election.

Here’s a look at their greatest, er, hits:

Romney: ‘I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners’

During a stop at the Daytona 500, Romney was asked if he was a fan of the popular sport. Romney told an Associated Press sports reporter that he was - kind of - “but I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.”

Romney: ‘A couple of Cadillacs’

During a speech in the nation’s automotive capital before the Michigan primary, Romney casually told the Detroit Economic Club that he drove a Mustang and a Chevrolet pickup and his wife, Ann, drove “a couple of Cadillacs” (one at each of their two homes) as he tried to show his family’s commitment to buying American cars.

Romney: ‘I’m not concerned about the very poor’

Speaking to CNN’s Soledad O’Brien on “Starting Point,” Romney said, “I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich; they’re doing just fine. I’m concerned about the very heart of America, the 90%-95% of Americans who right now are struggling.”

Critics took the first part of that quote and ran with it.

Romney: ‘I like being able to fire people who provide services’

While trying to explain his views on health care and health insurance in January, Romney said, “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me." In the same exchange, Romney also said, “If someone doesn't give me a good service that I need, I want to say I'm going to go get someone else to provide that service to me."

Again, the first part of that quote gave critics fodder to portray Romney as a heartless corporate raider.

Romney: ‘I wondered if I was going to get a pink slip’

The day before his comment about firing people, Romney failed in another attempt to connect with the average voter. While speaking about his experience in the private sector during a campaign rally, Romney, who helped found and run a successful venture capital firm, said he has worried about being fired during his career.

"I know what it's like to worry about whether you're going to get fired. There were a couple of times I wondered if I was going to get a pink slip," Romney added.

Santorum: Obama ‘a snob’ for wanting people to go to college

Speaking in Michigan, Santorum slammed President Barack Obama for pushing higher education.

“Not all folks are gifted in the same way,” Santorum said. “Some people have incredible gifts with their hands. Some people have incredible gifts and use - and want to work out there making things. President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob! There are good, decent men and women who go out and work hard every day and put their skills to the test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor trying to indoctrinate them. Oh, I understand why he wants you to go to college; he wants to remake you in his image. I want to create jobs so that people can remake their children into their image, not his.”

Santorum: Nausea and JFK’s church and state speech

Santorum, who would be only the nation’s second Catholic president after John F. Kennedy if elected, said that when he read the words of Kennedy’s historic address on the separation of church and state, it made him want to “throw up.”

“To say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes you throw up. What kind of country do we live in that says only people of nonfaith can come into the public square and make their case?” Santorum said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Kennedy’s 1960 speech was intended to address concerns that as a Catholic, he would be more beholden to the Vatican than the American people. The speech was hailed for the message of religious tolerance that it sent.

Apparently, Santorum later regretted his use of words, telling conservative talk-show host Laura Ingraham that “I wish I had that particular line back.”

Santorum: Conception that results from rape is a ‘gift’ from God

In a January interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan, Santorum expounded on his views about abortion, which he opposes even in cases of rape.

“I believe and I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created, in the sense of rape, but nevertheless gift, in a very broken way, gift of human life and accept what God has given to you. And, as you know, we have to - in lots of different aspects of our life, we have horrible things happen to us. I can’t think of anything more horrible, but nevertheless we have to make the best out of a bad situation. And I would make the argument that is making the best of it.”

Santorum: Women in combat ‘compromising’

Asked about his views on women in combat, Santorum said he had concerns about recent changes at the Pentagon that made it possible for women to serve in more front-line combat functions. Santorum said he wanted “to create every opportunity for women to serve this country,” but the former senator also expressed misgivings about women in combat.

“I do have concerns about women in front-line combat,” Santorum said on CNN’s “John King, USA.“ “I think that could be a very compromising situation where people naturally may do things that may not be in the interests of the mission because of other types of emotions that are involved.”

Santorum later explained his comment referred to a concern that men in combat alongside women might be more focused on protecting women than the mission itself.

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Filed under: Elections • Mitt Romney • Politics • Rick Santorum
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Teresa

    Is there really any question who the Independents are running too? If this is what the GOP has to offer give me 4 more years of President Obama. He a least has ideas to turn the economy around, in fact the latest numbers prove he's doing it.

    March 2, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • HOWARD

      bama is a lying thief, who will tell Americans whatever he thinks they want to hear, in order to get elected. And, once elected, this traitor betrays every promise he makes. How many times will gullible Americans fall for this charlatan's lies ??? If obama wins a second term, without the concern of winning another election, we will all be at the mercy of his destructive policies for FOUR more years ... enough time to TOTALLY destroy this once great country, beyond repair. Save America ... dump Obama, ASAP !

      March 2, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Whereas we should take what these guys take at face value....okay.

      March 2, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • ms

      @ Howard...reading your post is amusing. You don't exaggerate much do you? Wait...are you glen beck? 🙂

      March 2, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • HOWARD

      CHARACTER = When a man, like Mitt Romney, donates his inheritance to charity.

      CORRUPTION = When a man, like obama, uses the power of the state, to confiscate other people's hard earned money, squander it, and finance loser companies, in exchange for political contributions, in an effort to get himself reelected.

      March 2, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jj

      Very well spoken Howard. Let's not forget the 500 million he squandered on his buddy's bankrupt solar panel company. Let's not forget the TRILLION dollar price tag on Obama care. 8.5% unemployment. No jobs, and gaa prices soaring. And some people think he should get reelected. Stupid stupid stupid! Ask yourself is your life better or worse after Obama took office. Well the welfare kings and queens sure are better off

      March 2, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rickapolis

    Keep these guys talking. The more they say the better we will know them.

    March 2, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dilip Samuels

    Ladies and gentlemen, behold the GOP social prototype – Rick Santorum and Rush Limbaugh

    and the economic prototype Milt romney

    Need i say more!!

    March 2, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Newmoon2

      If we add Newt as the example of situational morals and ethics, I think that pretty well covers it.

      March 2, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Greek American

    Bwahahahahahahaha, this article is very funny. What an idiot Romney is and Santorum has no clue either. When Romney was here in Michigan recently at some speaking engagement, he informed the audience that he "really likes trees."
    Hahahahahahahahaha the GOP has become such a joke with these candidates. Good entertainment though.

    March 2, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Billnick

    Obamacare now projected to cost 100's of Billions over estimate this year, Not to worry says the Administration?
    Where's CNN?

    March 2, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      Why not be concerned about the $500 freaking BILLION spent on these dumb wars?

      March 2, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jj

      because Obama spent twice that much in his first year in office! People enjoy being ignorant to facts

      March 2, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. saywhat

    @ banasy @Rickapolis

    Agree.

    Also the more 'pearls of wisdom' fall from the mouths of Romney,Santorum & Gingrich the more we are thankful to have President Obama as our hope.

    March 2, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mon

    All I have to say is that the GOP lost this independent. As I moderate I was never one for Santorum. Yet I've been (and still am) very disaffected with Obama and was certainly open to a new president. I supported Romney initially, but his pandering to the extreme conservative base turned me off. Which is funny because appealing to moderate swing voters is generally what wins the presidential election. The GOP is shooting itself in the foot with its game plan on who can "out-conservative" the other. Add to that Romney's string of gaffes and lack of clear vision, and they're almost making me think that we might as well stick with Obama. At this rate I give up and will most likely vote 3rd party.

    March 2, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. alex

    Great quote I heard: "The more these Republican candidates keep talking, the more reason Obama has for singing!"

    March 2, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Zack

    Both of them are goofy but mitt has it harder because ann whines over at fox and friends. even mitt had enough smarts to know that anybody who knew george romney would have said the same thing bill clinton said. the best ann can do for mitt is to keep doing tv ads holding his hand and gazing at the horizon

    March 2, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dan5404

    The GOP candidates have had more self-inflicted wounds than any campaign in history. It's either from extremist statements alienating large groups of voters or from forgetting that they said the opposite before.

    March 2, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Javier

    This guys can't beat Obama. They're killing themselves. We need a statesman for the GOP.

    March 2, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ted

    Flip-Flop # 11,309

    7.15am, Wed, March 1st.
    “I’m not for the (Blunt) bill.”

    9.15am, Wed, March 1st.
    “Governor Romney supports the Blunt Bill.”

    Ah, this just keeps getting better and better!

    March 2, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ks

    I have never read so many stupid comments Wake up people Obama is a failed Pres Our economy has not recovered just ask the millions of unemployed people

    March 2, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • KD

      Obama has lowered the unemployment rate from over 8.5% to 8.3%. The "millions of unemployed people" you're talking about are being replaced by workers that aren't even in the United States. Romney wants major corporations to start outsourcing because the quality of labor and the cost of labor is much cheaper in places like India and China. So those jobs that you're talking about are being sent overseas by people like Romney. Obama is the one trying to create jobs. Also, neither of the Republican candidates is willing to put their religions behind them for the betterment of our country. America has always been a nation of forward progress. Any progress made if either of these men is elected will be backwards.

      March 5, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ks

    I see you can not say anything bad about Obama because your comment will not go thru CNN you are pathetic

    March 2, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Smurff

    Slavemasters have been on welfare since the 1400s and counting, why nobody is complaining about them

    March 2, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • MP ΘY

      Those are some awfully old slavemasters,,,,,and if they were revelant to today's society, you might have something.
      Shut up.

      March 3, 2012 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
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