Rick Santorum Attacks Gingrich’s ‘Harebrained’ Ideas, Romney and Paul’s ‘Scorched Earth’ Campaigns

Jan 18, 2012 7:46pm

SPARTANBURG, SC – Rick Santorum ripped into Newt Gingrich on Wednesday, responding to his rival’s suggestion that he bow out of the race now that polls show Gingrich besting Santorum here with three days to go before South Carolinians go to the polls.

“The hubris, and I might even go so far as to say the arrogance, of Speaker Gingrich to suggest that I don’t have the experience to run a campaign, to win a national campaign, having won four elections in four heavily Democratic districts and states, having defeated two incumbent Democrats,” Santorum said before contrasting his record with Gingrich and blasting Gingrich for supporting the bailouts and an individual health care mandate.

“I don’t need to be the smartest person in the room to think of some harebrained idea every two minutes,” Santorum said, digging at Gingrich.

He also jabbed his rival for once starring in a commercial with Nancy Pelosi that aimed to draw attention to man-made global warming saying, “The only person I ever sat on a couch with was my wife!”

“Judgment matters. When the winds are blowing, what we’ve seen in Romney and Gingrich is that they put their sails up and go. I tack against the wind,” Santorum told a crowd of about 100 people packed into the Beacon Drive-In, a must-hit campaign stop and Spartanburg icon since World War II when GIs would return home and come to the Beacon for home-cooked Southern food.

The former Pennsylvania senator mentioned his virtual tie in Iowa and the certification that is currently taking place and will be announced Thursday at 8:15 a.m. central time, according to the Iowa Republican Party.

Santorum often boasts that he might be the victor instead of having lost to Mitt Romney by eight votes, but Wednesday he for the first time attacked the Iowa Republican Party for saying the final result would not be changed. “There are mistakes made in transcription, these are very close races … but … for the Republican Party of Iowa to suggest that this race was decided and that that isn’t going to change was wrong,” Santorum said today at the Beacon. ”It may or may not change, but to say that it wouldn’t change was wrong,” he continued, adding that the announcement may “very well may change the complexion of this race.”

The increasingly heated rhetoric is also reflected in Santorum’s television ads. He’s now running two negative commercials in the state that go after Mitt Romney. Today he defended the ad that compares Romney with President Obama, saying most of his commercials have been positive while Ron Paul and Romney and his SuperPAC are running “scorched earth” campaigns. He questioned whether the voters wants “someone who thinks they need to win the Republican primary not because they can’t talk about their own record, they have to distort or in many cases outright lie about the records of everyone else.”

After his event, Santorum spent some time at the historic Beacon Drive-In meeting the famous “caller” who yells orders and has been working at the restaurant, like several other employees, for over fifty years. Santorum ordered a pork sandwich and fries while posing for photos with supporters and staff.

Santorum was also asked by reporters about Sarah Palin’s semi-endorsement of Gingrich Tuesday night on Fox News when she said that if she were a voter in South Carolina she would vote for the former Speaker of the House.

“We’ve seen this from a lot of national commentators and it’s a hard choice for some folks,” Santorum responded before being asked if he even reached out to the former Alaska governor.

“No, I haven’t. I’ve only spoken to Sarah Palin once in my life,” Santorum answered, seemingly annoyed at the question. Despite similar positions and viewpoints and similarities in their personal lives (both of their youngest children have special needs), the two have had a somewhat awkward relationship in the past. He criticized her decision last year not to attend the CPAC conference in Washington, saying he “wouldn’t have turned it down.”

“But I don’t live in Alaska, right, and I’m not the mother to all these kids, and I don’t have other responsibilities like she has,” Santorum said at the time.

Palin responded on Fox News, “I will not call him the knuckle-dragging Neanderthal that perhaps others would want to call him… I’ll let his wife call him that instead.”

Just yesterday in Lexington, he compared himself with Palin, saying the attacks on his family while he’s been running for president are like what Palin endured when she was on John McCain’s ticket. “You can tell how much the left hates us by how much they go after my family,” Santorum said. “I think it shows that we’re the conservative that stands up that scares them the most. That if we didn’t frighten them to their core, they would not be doing to me what they don’t do to anyone else in this race. You know, the last thing I saw anything like this was Sarah Palin. And they were scared to death of Sarah Palin for a long time.”

He asked the crowd to pray for him and his family.

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