• Rick Santorum makes a statement in Wisconsin.
• A New York Times reporter asks him a question about the statement.
• Santorum tells the reporter, “I didn’t say that,” and claims the reporter is distorting his words.
• Santorum tells the Times reporter, “Quit distorting my words. It’s bullshit.”
• Santorum then claims the reporter “attacked” him.
• The thing is, and it’s on the record, Santorum did say it.
• He then becomes the hero of the gullible and uninformed by telling Fox News viewers: “If you haven't cursed out a New York Times reporter during the course of a campaign, you're not really a real Republican the way I look at it."
• Santorum then throws up a fund-raising plea on his Web site asking supporters to contribute $30, which he says is the price of a subscription to The New York Times.
CNN's Political Ticker, March 27, 2012:
(CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Monday defended his profane comment directed at a New York Times reporter and used the interaction in a fundraising pitch.
"If you haven't cursed out a New York Times reporter during the course of a campaign, you're not really a real Republican's (sic) the way I look at it," Santorum said on Fox News. "It was just one of these harassing moments, and after having answered the question a few times, sort of comes back with the same old fashion, the same old spin."
"I just said 'Okay, I've had enough of this you-know-what,'" he added.
Team Santorum invoked the back-and-forth in a fundraising email to supporters, asking them to contribute $30, what they said is the price of a subscription to the Times.
"I criticized Romney and Obama for their outrageous healthcare legislation. Predictably, I was aggressively attacked by a New York Times reporter all too ready to defend the two of them, and all too ready to distort my words," Santorum wrote in the email. "Let me assure you, I didn't back down, and I didn't let him bully me."
Santorum accused the Times' Jeff Zeleny of distorting his words following a question from the reporter Sunday night.
Zeleny asked Santorum if he thinks Mitt Romney is the "worst Republican in the country to run against Obama," something he said while campaigning in Wisconsin.
In response, Santorum said "I didn't say that. You guys are distorting what I'm saying … Quit distorting my words. It's bulls***."
But shortly before the questioning, at a campaign stop in Racine, Wisconsin, Santorum said, "Why would we put someone up who is uniquely - pick any other Republican in the country. He is the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama. Why would Wisconsin want to vote for someone like that?"
The former Pennsylvania senator has made criticism of the national health care law and its similarities to the plan passed while Romney served as governor of Massachusetts a centerpiece of his campaign.
His latest "worst Republican" charge came after he was criticized last week for suggesting there are so few differences between Romney and Obama that "we may as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk," with the Republican frontrunner.
In his defense, Santorum said he would never vote for the president, but that "Romneycare" makes his rival uniquely unqualified to run against Obama in the general election.
CNN's Paul Steinhauser and Shawna Shepherd contributed to this report.
Welcome to Jonathan Swift’s “Confederacy of Dunces,” Saint Santorum.