Santorum: ‘I Haven’t Supported Any Candidate At This Point’

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rick-santorumRick Santorum said last night that there is “no question Barack Obama has to be defeated,” but did not say he would back presumptive nominee Mitt Romney, instead revealing he had only spoken to Newt Gingrich, not Romney yet.

“As far as going with a particular presidential candidate right now I mean had a chance to talk to Newt, I haven’t had a chance yet to talk to Gov. Romney,” Santorum said on a conference call. “But we’ll be talking to both of them and we are going to go out and deal with who we believe is in the best interest of our country and winning this election and make sure that we have a conservative platform,conservative message and they follow through with that conservative message after the election.”

This is a not so subtle jab at the man about to become the party’s standard bearer. Santorum consistently would say on the campaign trail that in 2008, Romney convinced him of his conservative bona fides before he backed him and then Romney quickly changed his tune.

Although Santorum is expected to eventually back Romney – both longtime adviser John Brabenderand top donor Foster Friess told ABC News last week they expect him to endorse Romney – he was specific tonight that he was not endorsing anyone in the presidential race.

“I haven’t supported any candidate at this point,” Santorum said, when asked who his supporters should vote for in the Pennsylvania primary on April 24.

He instead told them “the best thing” they can do is “stay tuned” and promised he would stay “active and engaged” in the campaign.

“What we are going to do is make sure we put together a winning idea that can rally folks and win this election up and down the ticket and that will be our focus,” Santorum said.

Sources close to the Santorum campaign tell ABC News Romney and Santorum may not even meet until after the Pennsylvania primary.

Santorum also made it clear he won’t be releasing his delegates to whomever he backs, saying he wants to “make sure” the delegates “go to the convention and have a say,” to influence the platform of the party and have an “impact on the convention process” making sure both the platform and convention “reflects the things our campaign stands for.”

Although he did not give any clues on his new venture, Santorum did say there will be a “place for people to organize and rally” and he is working on the project and will share more information in one to two weeks. He stressed he will be active in not only in the presidential, but down ballot races as well.

The call was moderated by longtime aide Mark Rodgers and at the beginning Rodgers teased that there would be some sort of “surprise,” during the 30 minute call.

Although no specific surprise was unveiled, listeners could hear his 3-year-old daughter, Bella, recovering from pneumonia being fed by Karen Santorum on the line, possibly what Rodgers was referring to.

Santorum said a lack of money was only a “very, very small piece of the story” of why they decided to end the race and instead the losses in Wisconsin, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. (Santorum was not on the ballot there), plus not being able to switch Texas to a winner take all state made a way forward impossible.

He also said the campaign tried to “form a coalition” with the “rest of the conservatives in the race,” but that didn’t “pan out.” Santorum was referring to Gingrich and how he was not successful in convincing him to bow out and back him, even though Santorum was ahead in the delegate fight.

The call was to thank his supporters, but also to encourage debt relief. Supporters were able to connect directly to an operator while on the call to donate to the campaign and help it get out of debt. The camp has been soliciting funds from supporters since he left the race through e mail messages, but this was the first phone call trying to encourage backers to give to the shuttered campaign.

Both Santorum and his wife Karen were frank about how they felt emotionally since the decision to exit the race last week. Santorum said he was “frustrated,” while Karen Santorum called it an “amazing journey,” but said her family is “very sad” and they are dealing with a “tsunami of emotions.”

Karen noted that Bella, who suffers from the rare genetic disorder, Trisomy 18, is recovering, but said the day she went to the hospital with “really bad pneumonia” the weekend before Santorum got out of the race was “one of the worst days of our life.”

{Yahoo News/Matzav.com Newscenter}

9 COMMENTS

  1. Although I do respect Santorum, IMHO, if he truly believes that his job is to get Obama out of the Whitehouse, now that he conceded, he should remain quiet and do his best to make sure he concentrates on achieving his goal. Getting his face in the media is NOT helping promote the Republicans versus the incumbent. He should keep that in mind and just reply “No comment” or “Obama has done enough damage it is time for a “CHANGE”.

  2. He should be more straightforward

    what happened to this..

    Santorum: Might As Well Have Obama Over Romney

    Friday March 23, 2012 9:35 AM – 9 Comments

    Presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Thursday said Republicans should give President Barack Obama another term if Santorum isn’t the GOP nominee and for a second day compared rival Mitt Romney to an Etch A Sketch toy.

    Santorum reiterated an argument he has made before: The former Massachusetts governor is not conservative enough to offer voters a clear choice in the fall election and that only he can provide that contrast.

    “You win by giving people a choice,” Santorum said during a campaign stop in Texas. “You win by giving people the opportunity to see a different vision for our country, not someone who’s just going to be a little different than the person in there.”

    Santorum added: “If they’re going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk of what may be the Etch A Sketch candidate for the future.”

    Santorum was referencing Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom’s comment Wednesday that “everything changes” for the fall campaign. “It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch,” he said on CNN. “You can kind of shake it up and we start all over again.”

    The remark reignited criticism of Romney as the type of politician who will say or do anything to win.

    Romney, who made no public appearances Thursday, issued a statement expressing disappointment “that Rick Santorum would rather have Barack Obama as president than a Republican.”

    “This election is more important than any one person. It is about the future of America,” he said. “Any of the Republicans running would be better than President Obama and his record of failure.”
    Rival Newt Gingrich tweeted: “Rick Santorum is dead wrong. Any GOP nominee will be better than Obama.”

    During his speech to employees of USAA, a San Antonio-based insurance and financial services firm, Santorum briefly held up an Etch A Sketch and said his positions don’t change like etchings on the toy, which are erased with a shake. He could be seen fiddling with the toy’s knobs in the intervals between questions from audience members.

    Addressing reporters afterward, Santorum lit into Romney for saying “I’m going to run as a conservative.”

    “He didn’t say ‘I am a conservative.’ He said ‘I’m going to run as a conservative.’ So what do you do, you just sort of decide what you’re going to be for the elections?” Santorum asked. “No one can accuse me of that. People say, ‘Well, you can’t win because of that.’ No, I will win because of it.”

    Santorum said his brand of political authenticity will play well in Texas because “people are looking for someone who is real, someone they can relate to, not someone who can get in front of an audience and say whatever they want.”

    The Texas primary has been pushed to May 29 because of litigation over redistricting maps drawn by the Republican-dominated state Legislature. Santorum said he expects to win Saturday’s primary in Louisiana and added, “The race will not be over when Texas comes around.”

    “You’ll have the opportunity here, in the state of Texas, to speak very loudly about what kind of leader you want in this country,” he said.

    Santorum said he speaks with Texas Gov. Rick Perry before scheduled campaign stops in the state. Perry sought the GOP nomination but left the race in January and endorsed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

    “This is an important state for us,” Santorum said. “I’ve already spent a lot of time, I’ve already done a lot of campaign events in Texas. More than anybody else, I suspect.”

  3. #3, do you really think that Rick Santorum would pick Obama over Romney??? That was a statement made against Santorum’s erstwhile OPPONENT, the frontrunner Mitt Romney. What’s said in campaigns is overblown rhetoric. Why don’t you get that?
    I guarantee you that eventually Santorum will come out and endorse Romney. The question is when, not if. Stop trying to put your words in Rick Santorum’s mouth. Wait and see what he actually says when he’s not under the duress of a presidential campaign.
    And if you, as a conservative, think that Romney is worse or the same as Obama, then your political knowledge is equivalent to that of a born-again Evangelical country hick from Alabama.

  4. I’ve already seen that you’re full of yourself, but don’t you think that pulling rank against someone anonymous is a bit of a risk?

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