The HillTube

Santorum: You're not a 'real Republican' if you haven't yelled at a Times reporter

"If you haven't cursed out a New York Times reporter during the course of a campaign, you're not really a real Republican," Santorum said jokingly in an interview with Fox News.

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"It was just one of these harassing moments, and you know, after having answered the question a few times and sort of com[ing] back with the same old question, the same old spin, I just said, 'OK, I've had enough of this you-know-what.' "

Santorum was asked Sunday night by New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny whether he really thought that Mitt Romney was the "worst Republican" in the country to face Obama. In response, Santorum said that Zeleny was "distorting" his words.  

"Quit distorting my words. ... [I]t's bulls--t. Come on, man, what are you doing?" Santorum said.

The incident took place after a speech in Wisconsin where the former Pennsylvania senator reportedly said that GOP front-runner Mitt Romney "is the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama."

Zeleny disagreed with Santorum's assessment, telling CBS News Monday that he was "simply asking for clarification" from the presidential candidate. 

"He said in his speech, just to a roomful of supporters, that he believes Mitt Romney is the worst Republican in the country. Healthcare was not attached to his sentence in that sound bite there, so simply asking for clarification," Zeleny said on CBS's "This Morning" Monday.

The former Pennsylvania senator, who took heat for the comparison of Romney to Obama, aimed again to clarify that he was referring specifically to his opponent's stance on healthcare legislation.

"Gov. Romney, of all the people in this party, as the person who put the blueprint together for ObamaCare, is uniquely disqualified to make the argument against ObamaCare," Santorum said on Fox News on Monday.

Romney, who was involved in the state-level healthcare reform that has been credited as a model for federal legislation, has repeatedly said that as president, he would repeal Obama's signature healthcare law.

"Gov. Romney is a good man, has a lot of strengths, but his singular weakness is the singular biggest issue in this race," added Santorum.

The presidential hopeful will be at the Supreme Court on Monday as oral arguments begin over the Obama administration's healthcare reform law.

To watch the tense exchange between Santorum and Zeleny on HillTube, click here.