February 20th, 2010
01:05 PM ET
4 years ago

Santorum's regret


Washington (CNN) - Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum offered a mea culpa Saturday, telling conservative activists that he regrets helping Sen. Arlen Specter win re-election in 2004 and vowed to help try and defeat him in November.

Specter is a longtime centrist Republican who abandoned the GOP to become a Democrat last year. Six years ago, Santorum was questioned by his fellow social conservatives for agreeing to back Specter in the Republican primary against Rep. Pat Toomey. Santorum, who lost his own re-election in 2006, said he should have listened to his wife, Karen.

"How many times have I said this in my almost 20 years in marriage, 'I should have listened to my wife,'" Santorum said in a speech before the Conservative Political Action Conference. "Make no mistake about it I will be working day and night for Pat Toomey to be the next senator from Pennsylvania."

If Specter wins the Democratic primary, he will face Toomey, once again, only this time in the general election.

Santorum broke from the routine of other speakers addressing this three day conference and took a few questions from the audience such as: Why is he not challenging Specter?
"Because Pat Toomey's earned it," Santorum responded.

But the former Pennsylvania senator has not ruled a return to public life and has acknowledged that he is eyeing a White House run in 2012. Another questioner publicly pledged to help his presidential campaign if he in fact decides to run.

"Bless your heart," responded Santorum.

Santorum will visit early presidential-voting states Iowa and New Hampshire in the coming months, speaking before the influential Iowa Christian Alliance on March 9 and keynoting
the Cheshire County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner in Keene, New Hampshire April 30.


Filed under: CPAC • Rick Santorum
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Sam

    Santorum's wrong. He did lead. The problem is, nobody except a few right wing whack jobs liked where he was leading them. That and the fact that he didn't actually live and pay taxes in his district are what kept this tool from being re-elected.

    Do yourself a favor and sit out 2012 Rick. You're washed up. You couldn't get elected dog catcher, let alone President of the United States.

    February 20, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  2. David in San Diego

    Santorum will have a slight, teeny-weeny chance at the Presidencydecides it when the country's majority wants to ban all abortions. Until then, he is dead on arrival as a candidate and one of the Dems best friends.

    February 20, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  3. Dee Brennan

    You have my full support, Rick , for a run in 2012. I would love to see a Santorum/Romney ticket. The brain power of that combo is what we need. Let me know what I can do to help make it happen. Dee in Baton Rouge, LA

    February 20, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  4. Down with Spector.....

    even though we are Dems, there is no room for turncoats and backstabbers in our party.....

    February 20, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  5. Steve (the real one)

    The truth is all parties promise the moon! When they win, they shoot us the moon! BOTH PARTIES! In business you under promise and over deliver. Not so in politics!

    February 20, 2010 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  6. SPacific

    Santorum is just another republican joke. His only regret is not getting himself re-elected......

    February 20, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  7. BeverlyNC

    CNN – why are you wasting so much time on the Republican hate fest? They are not talking about issues or solutions. They are just bashing our President and our country. It's all they can do because they have no platform, no leadership, no clue what issues working Americans are facing, and just want America to fail.
    This is what they have been doing for 18 months. There is nothing new here, just old tiresome repetitive rhetoric of a Party disintegrating from the inside out.
    They hate President Obama because he is Black and they want corporations to keep control of everything and the People from having a better life. This is not news. This is Republican business as usual.
    How about some stories of successful people – like how our soldiers captured two of the most critical Talbian leaders in one week? How about how well the Recovery Act has worked and Governors from both parties are praising all the good it did for their states?
    Do you only publish the ranting of fools for the media hype?

    February 20, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. j

    Santorum is a giant regret. Regret that he ever held office in the first place. Conservatives lie. Their actions don't match their words.

    They promise smaller government, yet the government grew under the past Republican presidents, including Reagan. They voted against the stimulus, yet are taking stimulus money for their states and districts. They promise tax cuts but only cut taxes for the wealthy. They claim to cut spending, yet increase the deficit significantly through deficit spending. Republicans created the financial meltdown. Conservatives, like Santorum, are hypocrites!

    VOTE PROGRESSIVE 2010!

    February 20, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  9. ruthhopkins@carolins.rr.com

    SMART MAN! Republicans take heed.

    February 20, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  10. Keith in Austin

    Arlen Specter is nothing more than a sleazy politician that sold his soul to the devil!

    February 20, 2010 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
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