Rick Santorum Curses Out Reporter, Vows to 'Take On' New York Times [VIDEO]

on March 26 2012 9:46 AM

A GOP presidential candidate is lashing out at the media, and it's not Newt Gingrich.

Rick Santorum defended his cursing at a New York Times reporter Sunday night, claiming that he was aggressively attacked when correspondent Jeff Zeleny tried to follow up about a statement Santorum made about Romney being the worst Republican in the country to go against President Barack Obama.

In an e-mail entitled, I'm Ready to Take On the New York Times, the Republican presidential hopeful asked his supporters to donate $30 to his campaign -- roughly the same amount of money it costs for a subscription to the paper.

Earlier today, while campaigning in Wisconsin, I criticized Romney and Obama for their outrageous healthcare legislation. Predictably, I was aggressively attacked by a New York Times reporter all too ready to defend the two of them, and all too ready to distort my words, Santorum wrote in the e-mail blast, sent at about 1:00 a.m (via Politco). Let me assure you, I didn't back down, and I didn't let him bully me.

The incident happened late Sunday night after the GOP hopeful made a campaign speech in Wisconsin. Santorum had called Romney the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama, while talking about health care, a theme he's touched on in many of his speeches Politico's Maggie Haberman reported.

Zeleny approached Santorum after the speech to ask about the statement, Santorum told him to quit distorting my words. If I see it, It's bulls---, according to raw video by CBS News.

What speech did you listen to? Santorum angrily said behind a barricade that separated him from a gaggle of reporters, one of his daughters looking on. Stop lying. I said he was the worst Republican to run on the issue of Obamacare, and that's what I was talking about ... C'mon man, what are you doing?

Zeleny also tweeted about the exchange at around 8:15 p.m. ET.

When Santorum was asked about it on Fox News Monday morning, he said he “had enough of you know what” and called it a “harassing moment, USA Today reported.

 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 on Fox and Friends. 

Republican front-runner and Santorum rival Mitt Romney's campaign took advantage of the situation, sending out a series of tweets with the label #tantorum. 

Although this is the first time during the 2012 election a candidate has cursed at a reporter on record, it’s not the first time a GOP hopeful -- nor a Democrat -- has used journalists as a foil as Zeleny put it in an interview with CBS News. Newt Gingrich has made it a regular habit to take on the “liberal elite media,” lashing out at them in debates and in interviews.  Last Thursday, he accused reporters of being pro-Obama and failing to report on Obama's Muslim friends.

The the media spat comes among growing pressure for Santorum to end his campaign by Romney supporters, and hence the already-long 2012 GOP nomination process. Santorum's campaign said it would only consider dropping out if it was clear Mitt Romney would get the 1,144 delegates needed to secure the Republican nomination, according to The National Review.

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