Romney, Santorum election campaign teams trade barbs
WASHINGTON FRONTRUNNER Mitt Romney’s team painted chief rival Rick Santorum on Monday as a desperate candidate “running on ego and emotion,” as the campaigns dialled up their political rhetoric in the Republican White House race.
Romney picked up three key endorsements, including one from number three House Republican Kevin McCarthy, as the campaign moved north to the states of Wisconsin and Maryland after Santorum’s win in the southern state of Louisiana.
But it was Santorum’s outbursts and the sniping Monday that dominated the race to see who will face President Barack Obama in the November election.
The Louisiana primary may have revived Santorum’s campaign, but it made little difference in the all-important delegates race led by Romney, whose team sought to discredit Santorum’s conservative credentials by hitting out at his heavy spending while in the US Senate.
They also blasted Santorum for losing his cool Sunday after a campaign speech, when he used foul language in accusing a reporter of distorting his words.
“Senator Santorum really lost his personal discipline and self control,” former New Hampshire governor John Sununu, a prominent Romney supporter, told reporters on a conference call.
“It’s one thing to lose your temper at a New York Times reporter, it’s another (to lack self control) on the international stage and even with congressional leaders” in Washington, he added.
Santorum had heated words for the reporter after a speech in which the former Pennsylvania senator had reportedly blasted Romney as “the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama.” When the reporter pressed him about the comments, Santorum insisted he was referring only to the matter of health care, and how the health care reform law Romney implemented while governor of Massachusetts made him incapable of being a strong candidate against Obama in November because it was so similar to the controversial reform laid out by the Democratic president.
“Quit distorting my words... It’s bullshit,” Santorum said as he flashed a fiery look, in video aired on Monday on CBS News.
Santorum sought to brush off the incident, telling Fox News on Monday: “If you haven’t cursed out a New York Times reporter during the presidential campaign, you aren’t a real Republican.” When asked to comment on Santorum’s outburst, Romney sought to portray himself as the eventual nominee.