Rick Santorum Faces Off With Occupy Movement At Campaign Event

Feb 14, 2012

As has happened to many of the Republican presidential candidates before him, Rick Santorum was "mic checked" at a campaign rally in Washington, yesterday.

As the Bellingham Herald reports it, Santorum was speaking at a venue right next to the Occupy Tacoma encampment and was met with chants almost as soon as he started talking.

But, according to ABC News, Santorum took the protests in stride and went to criticize the movement. They report:

"'I think it's really important for you to understand what this radical element represents,' Santorum said to the cheering crowd of about 350 people. 'Because what they represent is true intolerance.'"

The former Pennsylvania senator compared the protesters to the recent decision by a U.S. Appeals court in California that ruled the state's ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional.

"'That's what the 9th circuit said when they handed down the decision striking down proposition 8. What they said was that anybody who disagreed with them were irrational and the only reason they could possibly agree is they were a hater or a bigot,' Santorum said. 'Now I gotta tell you. I don't agree with these people but I respect their opportunity to be able to have a different point of view and I don't think they're a hater or a bigot because they disagree with me.'"

ABC adds that the protesters chanted "We are the 99 percent," while some of Santorum's supporters chanted "USA."

CBS reports that two protesters were arrested and a third one was arrested later after she threw glitter on Santorum as he shook hands with supporters.

In other related news, a new CBS News/New York Times poll released today shows the momentum Santorum gained with his surprise wins in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri is showing in a national poll.

The Times reports the poll shows "Santorum surging among Republican primary voters nationwide" and leading Mitt Romney by three percentage points. Taking into account the margin of error that means they are essentially tied.

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