Santorum Accuses Romney of ‘Hypocrisy,’ Being Part of ‘Old Boy Network’

Mar 2, 2012 4:49pm

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio—Rick Santorum accused Mitt Romney of being a hypocrite and part of an “old boy network,” charges on separate issues that signal an escalation of the rhetoric between the two top contenders for the Republican primary heading into Super Tuesday next week.

The “hypocrisy” charge came today after ABC News uncovered a 2002 video which shows the former Massachusetts governor touting his ability to secure hundreds of millions in federal government funding for the Salt Lake City Olympics.

“Hypocrisy. Plain and simple hypocrisy,” said Santorum, when asked about the video.

Romney has make being a D.C. outsider a hallmark of his campaign. And Romney, like the rest of the Republican field, has pledged to cut government spending.

Santorum also questioned a recent decision by the Michigan GOP to break a tie resulting from that state’s Feb. 28th primary and award Mitt Romney one more delegate. Under rules distributed before the primary, Santorum should have received 15 and Romney should have received 15. The Santorum campaign has asked the national party to intercede.

It is the second difficult setback for Santorum this primary season. He won the Iowa caucuses by 34 votes, but because of a counting error by the state party there, Romney was declared the winner for 16 days before a correction was made.0

After his rally at a high school here, ABC News asked if Santorum saw some parallel between the Michigan delegate controversy and the debacle in Iowa. The Michigan GOP had voted Wednesday night to allocate two at-large delegates to Romney, changing the delegate proportion from how it was decided before voting.

Santorum called it “stunning.”

“It’s the old boy network and that’s what he’s got,” Santorum said referring to Romney. ”I laid out the case, we’re fighting the establishment old boy network of the Republican party and when they’re challenged they don’t like it, so he whines and complains every time we run anything negative, but he spends millions of dollars running hypocritical ads, as we saw from your station, Mr. Earmarker himself.”

A voter came up to the candidate after the event – an enthusiastic gathering of several hundred including students – and asked Santorum about robo-calls from his campaign that targeted Democrats, encouraging them to vote for Santorum in the GOP primary in Michigan. The Romney campaign at the time called them “desperate.”

Santorum defended the robo-calls to the voter here and  passionately called his rival a “whiner.”

“All we did was call people we thought would come out and vote for us. It’s silly. In New Hampshire,  fifty three percent of people who vote in New Hampshire primary aren’t Republican and Romney was calling all sorts of people,” Santorum said. “He’s just a whiner! He’s a whiner!”

The voter continued to probe the candidate as he signed autographs and took photographs.

“Are those independents or are they Democrats?,” the voter asked the candidate.”

“We don’t know they’re not registered,” Santorum said shrugging. “We are going to call people, people who may vote for us. Why wouldn’t we?”

The voter continued asking the former Pennsylvania senator if he worried those people he targeted were Obama supporters he could never lure in November.

“We weren’t calling Obama supporters. We were calling folks we thought would vote for us because there are supporters,” Santorum said about the robo-calls.

It’s unclear how the candidate would know the robo-calls that clearly targeted Democrats—perhaps those who even wanted to engage in voter hijinks —would not be Obama supporters.

In one lighter moment after the event a supporter asked Santorum to sign her red turtleneck sweater. The candidate did as asked happily telling the reporters surrounding him, “I’m feeling like a little bit of a rock star with that one!”

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