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Rick Santorum: Real Republicans curse out reporters

at 08:52 AM ET, 03/26/2012

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum cursed at New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny on Sunday while campaigning in Wisconsin, saying, “Quit distorting my words. ... It’s bulls---.”

Monday morning, the presidential candidate explained that he was just acting the way a Republican should.

“If you haven’t cursed out a New York Times reporter during the course of a campaign, you’re not really a real Republican, is the way I look at it,” Santorum told Fox News. (Via GOP12:)

Zeleny had asked Santorum to elaborate on an earlier remark that Romney was “the worst Republican in the country.” Santorum responded that his words were distorted, as he actually called his rival “the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama.”

Santorum defended his actions even more vigorously in a statement he released Monday morning: “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. Let me assure you, I didn’t back down, and I didn’t let him bully me. I think it is high time that conservatives find the courage to expose the liberal press for what they are, a defender and enabler of Romney’s and Obama’s liberal agendas.”

Zeleny himself said Santorum “knew the cameras were rolling” and was using the media as a foil — just as former House speaker Newt Gingrich has successfully at several points in the campaign.

Certainly the mainstream media is viewed with skepticism by many Republicans. But Santorum’s intemperate words are likely to get more attention than his actual critique.

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