OUR VIEW: Santorum looks bad after spat with New York Times reporterRepublican presidential candidate Rick Santorum is either grandstanding or beginning to lose his composure.
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum is either grandstanding or beginning to lose his composure.
Santorum made headlines over the weekend when he scolded a New York Times reporter for “lying” and allegedly distorting Santorum’s comments following a speech at Racine, Wis.
While speaking at a rally there, Santorum said Mitt Romney, the frontrunner for the GOP to run against President Obama in November, is “the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama.” TV cameras captured the quote, word for word.
Later, Santorum said the comment obviously was related to health-care issues, but in all of the clips we have seen, health care wasn’t mentioned near the quote in question.
Perhaps it happened, but we just haven’t seen it for ourselves.
Later, as Santorum signed campaign posters for supporters, the reporter asked for clarification.
“You said Mitt Romney is the worst Republican in the country. Is that true?” the reporter asked.
Santorum lost his cool.
“What speech were you listening to? I said Mitt Romney is the worst Republican to run on the issue of Obamacare,” he said.
According to clips of the speech, Santorum’s recollection is incorrect. Actually, the reporter’s memory was a bit off, too. The quote ended with “to put up against Barack Obama.”
However, Santorum said his past speeches have connected his feelings about Romney and health care, and told the reporter, “Quit distorting my words. If I see it (in print), it’s bull****.”
We side with the reporter on this one. The reporter hadn’t yet written a word about the quote, but only was asking for clarification.
There’s a big difference.
This is a ruse as old as the press itself. People in the news sometimes say stupid things and try to pass it off as the media’s mistake. Sometimes blame rests upon the shoulders of reporters, but sometimes these accusations are simply an effort to avoid ownership of a dangerous or sloppy quote.
It happens here at The Daily Republic. We have misquoted people, for sure.
When we do, we try to make amends through corrections and admission of our mistake.
We also have been loudly accused of misquoting sources when we have done no such thing, and when our notes and audio recordings are rock solid. Again, this is a ploy sometimes used by sources to avoid looking bad in public. Santorum seeks to hold the most powerful office in the world, but becomes unhinged at a reporter’s question in rural Wisconsin? If Santorum truly gets upset at such minutiae, he needs to consider the misery that awaits him if he ever finds his way into the White House, which is unlikely at this point. If he was grandstanding for nearby TV cameras — which some feel is the case — he’s immature and desperate. Either way, Santorum looks bad.