No more Mr. Nice Guy for Santorum

Following his three-state sweep, Rick Santorum is back in the race as a serious contender for the GOP presidential nod. But, will a longer process to pick a nominee be better for the party? Dean Reynolds speaks with Santorum.

Are Santorum wins good for GOP's future?
Rick Santorum

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - No more Mr. Nice Guy for newly energized Rick Santorum.

The Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Thursday launched a full-throated attack of front-runner Mitt Romney, saying the former Massachusetts governor's campaign "has been about serially tearing down opponents without offering any kind of vision for what he wants to do for this country.

"This is the gotcha politics of Mitt Romney," Santorum said, sounding complaints almost identical to those lodged by rival conservative Newt Gingrich against Romney after Gingrich won the South Carolina primary last month.

"He's not interested in talking about the issues," Santorum said of Romney. "He's interested in trying to pander and make political sauce when there's real substantive issues about how we're gonna try to change this government. And he's on the wrong side of it."

Tailoring his message to his audience in a major energy-producing state, Santorum said he favors hydrofracking, a relatively new process of extracting natural gas by breaking up rock with pressurized water. Environmentalists say hydrofracking causes groundwater pollution.

"It's the new boogey man," Santorum told a crowd of over 850 people, one of the largest since he launched his campaign for the GOP nomination last year. "It's the new way to try to scare you and those folks particularly not from Oklahoma and Texas.

"We're sort of new to this stuff, hydrofracking, in Pennsylvania. And they're preying on the Northeast, saying, 'Look what's going to happen. Ooh, all this bad stuff's going to happen. We don't know all these chemicals and all this stuff.' ... Let me tell you what's going to happen. Nothing's going to happen, except they will use this to raise money for the radical environmental groups so they can go out and continue to try to purvey their reign of environmental terror on the United States of America."

At a media availability at the event, Santorum was questioned about a super PAC supporting his candidacy and funded by Foster Friess, a wealthy investor and backer of conservative causes and candidates. Santorum said he knew nothing about the super PAC's activities and called Friess "a friend of mine for 20 years."

  • Arden Farhi

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.