Santorum raises cash over New York Times confrontation

ADVERTISEMENT
"Pick any other Republican in the country," the former Pennsylvania senator said, according to The Associated Press. "He is the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama."

New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny later asked Santorum if he thought Romney was actually the "worst Republican" to face the president — a question likely motivated by a campaign gaffe last week in which Santorum suggested that President Obama could be the preferable choice over Romney. The former Pennsylvania senator bristled then, saying his remarks were quoted out of context, and accused Zeleny of again "distorting" his words.

"Quit distorting my words. It's bulls--t," Santorum said.

The former senator went on to say he was only referring to Romney's stance on healthcare.

Santorum has been a frequent critic of Romney on the issue, saying that the Massachusetts healthcare law he enacted as governor is too similar to Obama's federal healthcare reforms for Romney to draw a distinction.

"On the issue of healthcare, yes, that's what I was talking about," Santorum told reporters later on. "ObamaCare, as you heard me say."

Santorum downplayed the exchange during an interview Monday on Fox News.

"If you haven't cursed out a New York Times reporter during the presidential campaign, you aren't a real Republican," Santorum said.

But in his fundraising email, Santorum depicted the moment as a bold stance against an alliance between Romney and the media

"As you already know, the New York Times has plenty of ink, and Romney's campaign, heavily financed by Washington lobbyists, has plenty of money. But there is one thing they don't have, the fighting spirit of thousands of people just like you who know our freedoms and values are under siege," Santorum wrote.