Watch Rick Santorum Yell

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 26 2012 6:28 PM

Watch Rick Santorum Yell

Even if you agree with Santorum's reasoning -- and I do, largely -- the video of his argument with Jeff Zeleny is incredible. Zeleny, laconic and gum-chewing, asks his question three times. Santorum gets more and more frustrated. And he keeps on point-scoring after he's clearly brushed off the question. Below the video I've transcribed everything from "bullshit" on.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics


SANTORUM: If I see it, it's bullshit. Come on, man. What are you doing?

ZELENY: Who's distorting your words?

SANTORUM: You just did, by asking me that question?

ZELENY: You sound upset about something, senator.

SANTORUM: I'm upset when the media distorts what I say. Yeah, I am. I do get upset. Because you knew exactly what I was saying, and you're misrepresenting it. What are you guys in the business of doing? Reporting the truth? Or are you here to try to spin and make news? Stop it.

VOTER: We don't care what they say.

SANTORUM: You guys, you don't care about the truth at all, do you? You really don't. Asking that question shows me you don't care at all about the truth.

Santorum feeds off the energy of the crowd; he looks back and forth from the merch he's being asked to sign and the reporter, who's looking stone-faced at him, riding it out. You can see the spin developing then and there: Santorum will attack the NYT for its horrid bias. ("Making lemons out of lemonade," Santorum spokesman J. Hogan Gidley said today. "The lemonade tastes pretty good.")

Totally lost in the exchange and the aftermath: Santorum's point. Is it true that Mitt Romney is the absolute worst Republican you could have debating health care with Barack Obama? Santorum's logic is that of a Howard Dean fan criticizing John Kerry in 2003; you can't debate the president if you took half a loaf on his biggest mistake. But I can see the argument against Santorum. Romney's health care law is 70 pages long, affecting one state. "Obamacare" is 3000 pages long; it's materially different, many times more complicated. Romney understands health care better than any Republican who's run for president since... actually, that one stumps me. Santorum pledges to attack mandates and talk up health savings accounts. The mandate's unpopular enough to bolster his argument here. But you could argue that knowledge and flexibility is worth more than one correct, inflexible issue stance.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics



The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?


Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
Oct. 21 2014 11:44 PM Driving in Circles The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.