CINCINNATI -- Mitt Romney accused Rick Santorum on Monday of making a major contribution to reckless Republican spending, helping the GOP “spend like Democrats,” by voting repeatedly to raise the debt limit while he was in Congress. The attack came as Romney stood next to a Republican senator who voted last year to raise the debt limit.
"I don’t believe it’s appropriate for us to keep raising the debt ceiling every year," said Romney. "He voted five times to raise the debt ceiling without getting compensating cuts in spending. During his time in the Senate, only two terms, the size of the federal government grew 80 percent."
Romney made the remarks at the Meridian Bioscience company outside of Cincinnati, where he was flanked by Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, a prominent endorser and potential vice presidential pick. Portman voted to raise the debt ceiling in August as part of a deal that involved future spending cuts. He called it “a step in the right direction,” but 19 of his GOP Senate colleagues and 66 House Republicans voted against the agreement.
This isn’t the first awkward surrogate moment for Romney. Earlier this month, former Missouri senator Jim Talent was asked how he could attack Santorum on a conference call for voting for the Medicare prescription drug plan, a new unfunded entitlement program, when he voted the same way. He said the issue was not his record but Santorum’s, since Santorum is the one running against Romney.