Santorum to NY Times Reporter: Stop Lying

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rick-santorumCampaigning in Racine, Wisc., on Sunday, Rick Santorum blew up at a reporter who questioned him about a remark he made about how Mitt Romney is “the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama.”

New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny approached Santorum after the speech as he was signing campaign posters, asking him to clarify the comment.

“You said Mitt Romney was the worst Republican in the country. Is that true?” Zeleny can be heard asking in a video obtained by “CBS This Morning.”

“What speech did you listen to?” a disgusted-looking Santorum shot back. “Stop lying! I said he was the worst Republican to run on the issue of Obamacare. And that’s what I was talking about!”

The confrontation quickly escalated with Santorum becoming visibly angry.

“Would you guys quit distorting what I’m saying?” he says in the video, arguing he was simply repeating a point he has stressed on the campaign trail that Romney is “uniquely disqualified” to beat Obama when it comes to health care.

“Quit distorting my words,” Santorum continued. “Come on, man! What are you doing?”

“You sound upset about something,” Zeleny responded.

“I’m upset when the media distorts what I say, yeah, I am, I do get upset,” the former Pennsylvania senator said, shaking his head. “What are you guys in the business of doing, reporting the truth or are you here to try to spin and make news? Stop it! You don’t care about the truth, do you? Asking that question shows me you don’t care at all about the truth.”

In an interview on CBS’ “This Morning,” Zeleny told Charlie Rose he had “simply asked for clarification” and that he thought Santorum’s outburst was done for dramatic effect.

“He said in his speech to a room full of supporters that he believes Mitt Romney is the worst Republican in the country. Health care was not attached to that sentence in his sound bite there, so [I was] simply asking him for clarification,” Zeleny said. “It is a very common tactic for Republican presidential candidates, or even Democratic presential candidates, to try and use the media as a foil here… So he clearly knew the cameras were rolling here.”

Santorum argued Zeleny was “aggressively attacking him” in an email to supporters, and defended himself again in an appearance on “Fox & Friends” on Monday.

“I just said, ‘Okay, I’ve had enough of this you-know-what,'” Santorum said. “And so that’s what I did and you know, look, we’re out there slugging away… and we’re mixing it up.”

Colleagues of Zeleny expressed surprise at Santorum’s portrayal of the mild-mannered Times reporter.

{NY Daily News/Matzav.com Newscenter}

3 COMMENTS

  1. Santorum?

    According to the dictionary (www.m-w.com), his name should be “Sanitarium” or “Sanatorium”; i.e., someone to help us recover from Obamacare.

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