Santorum uses ObamaCare court hearings to hammer Romney

Published March 26, 2012

| FoxNews.com

Down in the delegate count, Rick Santorum is trying to revitalize his campaign by using this week's Supreme Court hearings on the federal health care overhaul to embarrass Mitt Romney -- arguing the GOP front-runner wrote the "blueprint" for the bill Republicans now say is unconstitutional. 

Romney's campaign, despite Santorum's latest win in Louisiana, has moved to marginalize the candidate. A campaign spokesman over the weekend described Santorum's antics as "pathetic." On Monday, the campaign rolled out two high-profile endorsements on Capitol Hill, as Romney continues to lock down establishment support. 

Santorum, though, used the Supreme Court as a potent backdrop Monday, holding a press conference on the opening day of arguments to blast Romney's record. 

"This bill has far-reaching consequences for the economic health of this country and for basic liberty in our society," Santorum said. "There's one candidate in this race who can actually make the contrast that is necessary." 

Santorum called Romney "uniquely disqualified" to draw that contrast, saying that's why "I'm here and he's not." 

In an interview with Fox News, Santorum said the case is "the biggest issue in this race.". 

"The point is, as we have this debate before the Supreme Court today, that Gov. Romney of all the people in this party, as the person who put the blueprint together for ObamaCare, is uniquely disqualified to make the argument against ObamaCare," Santorum said. 

A health care reform plan Romney passed as governor of Massachusetts included a provision similar to the so-called individual mandate, which in the federal law requires Americans to buy health insurance. This is at the crux of the Supreme Court case. 

"He advocated for what we're now in front of the Supreme Court saying is unconstitutional," Santorum said. 

A Supreme Court ruling against the health care law, though, could make the policy much less of an issue come November. 

Romney repeatedly has said he opposes the federal health care law and would try to repeal it. 

As for his support of the Massachusetts law, he has argued that each state should have the opportunity to craft its own policy -- but not have to adhere to a one-size-fits-all federal plan. 

Romney's campaign, meanwhile, tried to fly above the heated debate in Washington as he concentrates on competing against Santorum in the upcoming Wisconsin primary April 3. 

He rolled out two big endorsements Monday morning, from House GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and from Tea Party-backed GOP Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah. 

"(Lee's) counsel will be important as we work to repeal ObamaCare and restore fiscal responsibility," Romney noted in a statement. 

According to the Associated Press count, Romney leads the field now with 568 delegates, compared with 273 for Santorum. Newt Gingrich has 135 and Ron Paul has 50. It takes 1,144 to win the nomination. 

Romney's campaign also slammed Santorum following the Louisiana primary, particularly after Santorum suggested that Obama would be preferable to Romney. Santorum later walked that remark back. 

"Rick Santorum is like a football team celebrating a field goal when they are losing by seven touchdowns with less than a minute left in the game," spokesman Ryan Williams said. "His attempts to distract from his listless campaign and the conservative backlash caused by his suggestion that keeping President Obama would be better than electing a Republican are becoming sadder and more pathetic by the day." 

Santorum is still dealing with the fallout from his remarks on whether Obama or Romney would be a better candidate. 

In Wisconsin on Sunday, Santorum declared that Romney would be the "worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama." 

Reporters hounded him about this comment afterward, and he clarified repeatedly that he was talking about Romney's credentials on the health care issue. 

He ended up cursing at a New York Times reporter at the end of the exchange. 

"Quit distorting our words ... it's bulls---," Santorum told New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny. "Come on man, what are you doing?" 

Asked about the exchange Monday, Santorum said it was a "harassing" moment and he "had enough." 

"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," he said.

URL

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/03/26/santorum-hammers-romney-with-supreme-court-hearings-on-obamacare/