CBS This Morning anchor Charlie Rose on Tuesday pestered Rick Santorum about Todd Akin and tried to goad the former Republican presidential candidate into bashing Mitt Romney. Highlighting Akin and his gaffe about rape, Rose needled, "What does that say to you? Does that say something about the party and its image?"
Rose followed up by pushing the former senator, who will be speaking at the Republican convention. The host demanded to know the "the differences today between Rick Santorum and the governor, in terms of how you see the world and how you see the particular issues that he will address?" After Santorum side-stepped the question, choosing to attack the President, Rose badgered, "Speak to the differences you have with [Romney] coming into this convention."
Rose also helpfully parroted the Democratic talking point that Romney's attacks on Obama's changes to welfare are wrong. After Rose cited, "fact-checkers," Santorum shot back: "Well, I'm a fact-checker, too, because I wrote the bill and I know a lot more about this bill than the fact-checkers."
The Republican explained:
RICK SANTORUM: And I can tell you what we did specifically in that bill, Charlie, was say that you cannot waive the work requirement and you cannot waive time limits. Those are the two things in the section that said are not waivable. And what the President did was find some hackneyed idea that said, "no, I can waive the work requirement and we are going to take applications from the state to waive that work requirement." Now, do we know for sure that it's going to be gutted? Well, we do know this, that we have toughened the work requirement since, in fact, the 1996 welfare bill, and the only reason you would put this waiver in place is if you want to weaken it. So, I think without question, the administration is headed toward weakening this requirement.
Obviously Obama had no primary opponent, but it's hard to see journalists trying to stir up too much trouble at the Democratic convention.
A partial transcript of the August 28 segment can be found below:
CHARLIE ROSE: So, what are the differences today between Rick Santorum and the governor, in terms of how you see the world and how you see the particular issues that he will address?
RICK SANTORUM: Let me just say first that the differences between Mitt Romney and me pale in comparison to the differences between me and Barack Obama.
ROSE: Of course they do. We know the differences with Barack Obama. Speak to the differences you have with him coming into this convention.
SANTORUM: Yeah, I would just say for me, the thing that-- and I'm very pleased that he gave me the opportunity to speak-- that the emphasis on the issues that I talked about during the campaign, what we're going to do to try to revitalize the manufacturing base, what we're going to try to do to help those who are left behind.
ROSE: But those are the things- But that's not a difference on that. You both agree on that. Where's the difference?
SANTORUM: Well, again, if you look at what--
ROSE: What are the comfortable divisions within this party on important issues?
SANTORUM: If you look at what Governor Romney is articulating as a vision for the country, there aren't a lot of differences, to be very honest with you. The problems, the differences we have with Governor Romney during the campaign were more his record versus my record, and you know, who is the best person to make the case for the issues going forward.
ROSE: Let me follow up with this. You were up against this guy in debates on the campaign trail. What did you learn about him that you did not know that--
SANTORUM: He's pretty tough. He's very tough and he is pretty, I thought, you know, he was pretty unflappable. These debates, as you know, in the primary election were incredibly important. You know, we had 20 debates and you would think, well, you know, after a while--
ROSE: He can hold his own on the debates?
SANTORUM: He will do very, very well. I think he'll do very well in the debate, and I saw a very tough side of Mitt Romney at those debates, and John McCain, you know, put on, you know, 50-ounce gloves for a boxing match that you should have eight-ounce gloves, and Mitt Romney will have the 8-ounce gloves on.