Rick Santorum says he’s tried to run “a very positive campaign,” but his brother-in-law, Dick Rickerl, isn’t afraid to go negative.
Mr. Rickerl, who’s married to a sister of Mr. Santorum’s wife, Karen, has posted several long rants about Newt Gingrich on his Facebook page calling the current Republican frontrunner a “bastard,” a “dirt ball,” “a rat” and “scum,” among other things.
“Our country cannot withstand the arrogance and stupidity of this phony,” Mr. Rickerl wrote in one of his anti-Gingrich tirades.
Mr. Rickerl bragged on Facebook that he has “known Rick [my brother-in-law] for 22 years” and lashed out at Mr. Gingrich for his failed marriages and alleged ethics violations. All of Mr. Rickerl’s Facebook writings feature rather unique spelling and punctuation. His first post about Mr. Gingrich was written January 19:
“I can’t believe Newt Gingrich is still in this race. Why is it no one is hammering this dirt ball for the immoral for the scum thar he is. I challenge anyone to google ‘The Dark Side Of Newt Gingrich’ for the truth about this phony. If you can still support this rat after reading all the info there, I pity you. Look it up, so you can enlighten your friends who may be unaware.”
“I have to ask, are the people of South Carolina just stupid, ignorant, uninformed, or totally immoral? Newt Gingrich, really? I don’t get it, the man failed at marriage twice so far. Failed as a congressman, i.e. ethics violations[look it up, it's all out there]. Now you want to allow him to be the leader of the free world. NOT ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.”
That post was followed up by two comments posted yesterday where Mr. Rickerl asked his friends to “do everything you can to keep [Mr. Gingrich] from getting this nomination.” In his first comment Mr. Rickerl encouraged his friends to “research the bastard:”
“Don’t bet your life on it. Research the bastard first, and deeply. You must do everything you can to keep himfrom getting this nomination. Our country cannot withstand the arrogance and stupidity of this phony.”
In his second comment, Mr. Rickerl described President Bush as “one of the worst presidents in our history” and characterized his Facebook posts as an effort “to expose” Mr. Gingrich:
“I am just trying to expose a rat in the pack who for whatever reason seems to be gaining support. He makes the Clinton/ Lewinski thing look like a boyscout outiong.”
Mr. Rickerl first weighed in on the presidential race January 10 when he wrote a post vowing to vote for his brother-in-law:
“I am 56 years old, and never have I voted for a republican for president. I offer no appologies for that. Now I have someone that I know I can trust.”
As of this writing, Mr. Santorum’s campaign has not responded to a request for comment on this story. View screen grabs of Mr. Rickerl’s original Facebook posts below.