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Santorum: Romney's a Hypocrite For Seeking Olympics Earmarks Santorum: Romney's a Hypocrite For Seeking Olympics Earmarks

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CAMPAIGN 2012

Santorum: Romney's a Hypocrite For Seeking Olympics Earmarks

On 10th anniversary of Salt Lake City Games, he says rival sought special-interest money.

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Rick Santorum shakes hands during a Tea Party rally on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio.(Eric Gay/AP)

COLUMBUS, Ohio - On the 10th anniversary of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games -- an event Mitt Romney frequently cites as having rescued -- Rick Santorum on Saturday launched a blistering attack on his rival, accusing him of hypocrisy by using an earmark to help finance the Games.

"One of Mitt Romney's greatest accomplishments, one of the things he talks about most, is how he heroically showed up on the scene and bailed out and resolved the problems of the Salt Lake City Olympic Games. He heroically bailed out the Salt Lake City Olympic Games by heroically going to Congress and asking them for tens of millions of dollars to bail out the Salt Lake games -- in an earmark, in an earmark for the Salt Lake Olympic games," Santorum told a crowd of about 200 people at a tea party rally here.

 

His voice was heavy with disdain and sarcasm, as Romney has spent the past week painting the ex-Pennsylvania senator as a king of earmarks and an inauthentic fiscal conservative.

"Does the word hypocrisy come to mind?" he asked the audience. He also noted that Arizona Sen. John McCain, one of Romney's top surrogates, once called the federal earmark for the Games a "boondoggle."

The Romney camp was also quick to respond, renewing its criticism of Santorum's work to procure $500,000 in taxpayer funds for a polar bear exhibit at the Pittsburgh Zoo. They said the majority of federal funds for the Salt Lake Games was for security purposes and had been sought by federal, state, and local law enforcement.

 

"Sometimes when you shoot from the hip, you end up shooting yourself in the foot. There is a pretty wide gulf between seeking money for post-9/11 security at the Olympics and seeking earmarks for polar bear exhibits at the Pittsburgh Zoo," said Andrea Saul, a Romney spokeswoman. "Mitt Romney wants to ban earmarks; Senator Santorum wants more 'Bridges to Nowhere.'"

Santorum has not disavowed earmarks, instead choosing to defend his spending record and identifying himself as a lawmaker who supported correcting the system once it was abused. "But the idea that every earmark is a bad one is simply false," he told the crowd.

Santorum also attacked Obama in unusually harsh terms, saying the president's agenda is "not about you. It's not about your quality of life. It's not about your jobs. It's about some phony ideal. Some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology.”

At the same time, he accused Obama of being deliberately manipulative and unwilling to listen to the audience's concerns. "You're not being talked to as adults, you're being treated as mindless, flyover country rubes who don't need to know the truth," he said. "You're being treated with deception, with class warfare, instead of talking about the truth." 

 

 

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