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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field / CAMPAIGN 2012

Romney Leaves Arizona Mocking Santorum

Using an argument he himself has often had to defend, Romney paints Santorum as unprincipled.

photo of Sarah B. Boxer
February 23, 2012

PHOENIX – Mitt Romney, who got in some clean shots at chief rival Rick Santorum during the CNN debate in Mesa, took a few more on Thursday to reinforce his new line of attack on Santorum as a politician without a core.

Santorum had a rough night in which he was forced to defend congressional votes he cast “for the team” even though he opposed the bills, at least in part. "I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a politician explain in so many ways why it was he voted against his principles," Romney told the Associated Builders and Contractors.

"He explained why he voted to protect Davis-Bacon. He explained why he voted to raise the debt ceiling five times without compensating cuts in federal spending. He explained why it was he voted to fund Planned Parenthood even though that was against his principles. He explained why he voted for No Child Left Behind even though that was against his principles. He explained why he voted for the bridge to nowhere even though that was against his principles."

 

Romney, who has had his own problems presenting himself as consistent given his shifts on some issues, added:  "I can tell you one thing. If I’m president of the United States, I will abide by my principles and my team will be the people of the United States of America."

In the Wednesday night debate, Santorum said that he had voted for the No Child Left Behind education bill because politics is a "team sport" and it seemed necessary at the time. "I have to admit, I voted for that. It was against the principles I believed in, but you know, when you're part of the team, sometimes you take one for the team, for the leader, and I made a mistake," Santorum said, to audible audience disapproval.

Romney told the contractors that Santorum spent most of the debate explaining “why he did or voted for things he disagreed with. And he talked about this as being taking one for the team. I wonder which team he was taking it for. My team is the American people, not the insiders in Washington."

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