Huffpost Politics

Rick Santorum Accuses Pro-Mitt Romney Super PAC Of Lying Ahead Of South Carolina Primary 2012

Posted: Updated:

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Republican Rick Santorum complained bitterly Monday that a political action committee that supports presidential rival Mitt Romney is lying about his record. He called on Romney, the front-runner in the nomination race, to ask the group to edit or remove its advertisements from the air before Saturday's pivotal primary in South Carolina.

"He has a long track record of sending out his henchmen ... to go out and not talk about himself but try to spread disinformation," Santorum said at a news conference Monday.

Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, is trying to emerge as the preferred conservative in the primary, where evangelical conservatives – for whom Santorum is making an aggressive pitch – make up an influential bloc.

Santorum countered Monday by launching an ad attacking Romney, his first such ad of the campaign.

The 30-second spot compares Romney with Democratic President Barack Obama for having spoken in favor of the 2008 banking industry bailout, and for signing a 2006 law requiring all Massachusetts residents to acquire health insurance. The requirement is a key provision of the 2010 federal health care bill that Obama signed and is overwhelmingly unpopular with Republicans.

A political action committee unaffiliated with Romney's campaign, but led by his former top political aides, is airing television advertisements in South Carolina attacking Santorum on several issues, including his support for voting rights for felons.

Santorum said he was urging Romney to "ask his super PAC to take that down and I hope he does."

Santorum supports allowing felons who have completed their sentences, including parole, to apply to have their voting rights restored, as is the law in 48 states, including Massachusetts, where Romney was governor.

"Here we see the front-runner out there with the most liberal record in the field now out there trying to tear down other folks instead of talking about what he wants to do for this country," Santorum said.

The same super PAC airing the ads against Santorum in South Carolina also ran nearly $3 million in television ads in Iowa last month attacking former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Those ads, and ads by rival Ron Paul attacking Gingrich, were seen as having shrunk Gingrich's support before the leadoff Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3.

Paul, a Texas congressman, is also running ads in South Carolina attacking Santorum's support for earmark spending, as is the pro-Romney super PAC, Restore Our Future.

Santorum defended his support for earmark legislation while in the U.S. House and Senate, pointing to medical and military weapons projects he argued would otherwise have not received funding.

Around the Web

Rick Santorum wants to be God's chosen one in South Carolina

Donors Gave as Santorum Won Earmarks

Rick Santorum: Dead Iranian scientists a 'wonderful thing'

Santorum: Voting for Romney is "malpractice"

Before Karen Met Rick

Rick Santorum: I'm a threat to the GOP establishment (5:38)

Rick Santorum On His Pro-Labor Votes In Congress: I'll Have 'A Very Different ...

  Obama Romney
Obama Romney
332 206
Obama leading
Obama won
Romney leading
Romney won
Popular Vote
33 out of 100 seats are up for election. 51 are needed for a majority.
Democrat leading
Democrat won
Holdover
Republican leading
Republican won
Democrats* Republicans
Current Senate 53 47
Seats gained or lost +2 -2
New Total 55 45
* Includes two independent senators expected to caucus with the Democrats: Angus King (Maine) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.).
All 435 seats are up for election. 218 are needed for a majority.
Democrat leading
Democrat won
Republican leading
Republican won
Democrats Republicans
Seats won 201 234
Click for Full Results