(CBS NEWS) — In directing what appeared to be a new level of vitriol toward Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum on Sunday described his rival as “the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama.” Santorum later, however, bristled at the notion that he was referring to anything other than Romney’s position on health care.

After a rally at the South Hills Country Club here, Santorum asked Republicans to “pick any other Republican in the country” than GOP presidential front-runner Romney, based on issues that make the former Massachusetts governor “uniquely disqualified” to run against Obama.

Reporters swarmed him for clarification, only to have Santorum testily reply that it was unreasonable to take his comment outside the context of health care.

  • Text smaller
  • Text bigger
Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.