President Obama should distance himself from the Occupy Wall Street protesters, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) said.

"This is the hard core of the Democratic Party, which, if I were Barack Obama — and I'm not giving advice to the president — I would certainly distance myself from," Santorum, who is running to replace Obama in 2012, said Friday on CNBC. "He's got those folks, what he's having problems with is the rest of America who's suffering because he's been listening too much to those folks."

Santorum's comments come a day after Obama said at a press conference that the New York protesters, objecting to the wealthy 1 percent of Americans represented by Wall Street, said the protests are an expression of the American peoples' frustrations.

"I think it expresses the frustrations the American people feel," Obama said Thursday.

Republicans have shrugged off the protests as not necessarily representative of broader American sentiment.

On Friday House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) reportedly referred to the protesters as "growing mobs."