Romney will take tougher approach to Santorum, adviser says
February 8th, 2012
01:37 AM ET
2 years ago

Romney will take tougher approach to Santorum, adviser says

Denver, Colorado (CNN) – As Rick Santorum counted up his victories Tuesday night, a senior adviser to Mitt Romney signaled the campaign would take a tougher approach toward his resurgent rival and portray him as a Washington insider.

Santorum pulled off a stunning trio of victories in the Tuesday night voting contests, injecting his campaign with much-needed momentum as the GOP contenders looked ahead to the delegate-rich group of states that will vote March 6.

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After reminding reporters that Santorum had endorsed Romney in the 2008 race, senior adviser Stuart Stevens suggested the former Massachusetts governor would begin to focus on his newly ascendant opponent on the stump.

“I think we’ll see differences in approach that will be explored. Rick Santorum tonight was fairly aggressive in his contrasts, and I think we’ll see differences,” Stevens said of the two-term senator Tuesday night. “Look, I just don’t think it’s a time when people are looking to Washington to solve problems with Washington.”

Santorum has passionately criticized Romney over his Massachusetts health care plan, which the former senator has said is too similar to President Barack Obama’s health care plan and would cripple Romney in a fight against the president in the fall.

While the Romney campaign has focused many attacks on former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, in Iowa and New Hampshire they peppered Santorum over his defense of earmarks while in the Senate.

Tuesday was a grim night for Romney – he suffered an embarrassing defeat in Colorado, where he had predicted a win and spent two days campaigning. A modest audience of supporters did not fill the room in Denver where he gave his evening speech.

Stevens downplayed the results, pointing to Romney’s blowout wins in Florida and Nevada and insisted the Romney campaign had carried out the right strategy.

“We’d like to win everywhere, but you can’t,” he said. “And we’ve focused on key states for how we see a path to the nomination.”

Also see:

Gingrich touts nationwide campaign

Paul, on quests for delegates, looks past Tuesday contests

Obama's fashion fundraiser


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Rick Santorum
soundoff (150 Responses)
  1. SC

    This guy looks rather foolish. His only strategy is to go after Obama if he is winning in the race and go after a fellow GOP candidate if he loses. Is that all you've got, Mitty? This ought to show he truly is a flip-flopper.

    February 8, 2012 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
  2. Josaphat Daniels

    Too bad for romney, now he's going to start attacking santorum. Everbody knows that romney is a fake, even the ones who endorse him knows it and the ones who rush to the polls to vote for him knows it. He is just not presidential material.
    The g.o.p field is weak, its like every week there is a new star but anyway these bunch of buffoons will keep us entertained
    till the general election.

    February 8, 2012 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  3. Josaphat Daniels

    The only reason why any one will vote for romney is because of their ignorant dislike of a wonderful president like Obama.
    Obama is for real while romney is fake, people just can't be honest with themselves that they will want a moron like the flip
    flopper for president over the real deal like Obama. Well what do you expect from the idiots who gave america bush times
    two.

    February 8, 2012 02:58 am at 2:58 am |
  4. J.V.Hodgson

    This makes me extrmely nervous as he will bring pressure to make his christian views law. I am sorry but his interpretation of the bible or any other sects interpretation thereof I respect, but does not justify it becoming the common State or Federal law applicable to all!!
    There are a sufficient number of us want to respect a womans right to an abortion, the right to use all forms of contraception or day after pill, and gays rights to what should be a civil union ( not necessarily marriage) see latest upset on California prop 8 in the courts. DADT which he would put back in place is an illegitimate interference with those peoples individual rights.
    You can pass as many laws as you like on Abortion against gay rights or bans on contraception. All will face the same issue useless effect of prohibition. What are you going to do put them in Jail or stone them to death when Jesus then said "let him ( her) that be without sin cast the first stone."
    Now theres a good compromise, you follow your religious beliefs and I'll follow mine minorty or majority, it matters not, and stop making politicians hypocrites by them saying what you want to hear and in practice the majority of them not being real advocates of what they promised, because in the end you are up against Parties that will stall or defeat such religiously based dogmatic legislation. Please leave the Catholic catechism out of politics it has no place because of separation of church and state.
    So far he' given a totally inadequate performance ( Santorum) on the Economy, Job creation and Internation relations and policies, which would have huge deleterious effect on relationships with bugeoning Islamic Nations.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    February 8, 2012 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  5. ct

    It means alot more lies and lies.....

    February 8, 2012 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  6. T'sah from Virginia

    ►Romney will take tougher approach to Santorum, adviser says◄
    Here it comes – the NASTINESS from Romney, lowdown tactics, the same he used on everyone else – just because he THINKS he can be our PREZ!!!

    I think Romney is the devil behind every story that destroyed every other candidate – I hope Santorum does not have any skeletons in his closet because it is about to come out – Brought to you by MITTens!

    Obama 2012

    February 8, 2012 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  7. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It is good to see this campaign really get going with some wins for Santorum. I wonder why Ron Paul is still in the race though. He isn't a conservative because he's really a libertarian (as close to anarchy without being there). This shows again that money can't buy you everything, correct Romney? It happened before; Iowa in 2008, South Carolina in 2012 and just now in CO, MO, and MInn. Let the mud and fun continue. It will be interesting to see what happens at the convention. Maybe this will go so far that NJ's primary in June will have some relevance.

    February 8, 2012 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  8. FedUp

    Of course he will. Rick, meet Mitt's campaign killing machine. Mitt is entitled to the presidency. How dare you win anything? Go Rick. Won't vote for Mitt, but I will vote for you.

    February 8, 2012 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  9. Dave

    Here's an idea for the Romney campaign: stop acting like a bunch of arrogant, petulant brats. Instead of tearing down your rivals, perhaps you people could actually introduce some original and intelligent ideas and contrast them against your opponent. All we get from Mitt is negativity, no new ideas whatsoever, and this attitude that somehow he's the greatest thing since sliced bread.

    People keep talking about how smart he is and I just don't see it. There is nothing deep about him and all we hear is the same conservative garbage we've heard for the last 30 years. By the way, this is same conservative garbage that got this country into the financial mess it's currently in.

    If these characteristics aren't bad enough, it seems that Mitt can dish it out far better than he can take it. We'll see soon enough. If he gets the nomination – and I expect he will – does he really think Obama and the Democrats are going to sit back while he tears them down? Not a chance and I look forward to Mitt being put in his place. It's long overdue.

    February 8, 2012 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  10. Fact Lee

    Romney: Repeat your good stuff (business, create jobs, governor, Olympics and other good points) again, again and again in different states. People in different states they do not know. Be likeable.
    Do not say any negative thing. Recently some comment about some people. May be other people do not like it. People are emotion. They like to hear good things. Some time they do not know the trues.
    Greek Financial Crisis: Did 2004 Athens Olympics Spark Problems In Greece?
    London 2012 Olympics cost 10 TIMES higher than 2005 estimate.

    February 8, 2012 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  11. fernace

    Uhoh, it's Santorum Day on this blog I see! Sure this does not sit well w/the "shoo in" Romney campaign! Oops, "the" Donald may have thrown support behind a GOP-TP candidate too soon!Wont make a difference, though, Obama will get another 4 no matter who the Repubs nominate!!

    February 8, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  12. commonsense

    Republican's new flavor of the month.

    February 8, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  13. Tam

    Let Santorum celebrate. He's a legend in his mind. But he's not a credible person to lead this country. God help us if he gets further. How has America declined to such a low level?

    February 8, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  14. Arun

    Mitt believes his televisions commercials are enough to win the nomination. The fact is that this clown has been running for six years. He lost in 2008 because he could not connect with normal everyday people. He'll probably struggle this year – because he's out of touch. Conservatives don't like him, most normal everyday working folks don't trust him and liberals will view him as a peer.

    I'd be surprised if he knew how much a gallon of milk costs.

    February 8, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  15. HenryB

    I hope that we figure out very quickly that the way Romney deals with "dissent" is to squash it. This scorched earth policy may take him to a certain point but after that I hope he gets recognized for the weasel he really is. A bully more than less.

    February 8, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  16. Larry in Houston

    @Jimmy Hodgson & Fact Lee – - I rest my case on what both of you just said – You Both are Spot ON.
    THANK YOU.

    February 8, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  17. rs

    Risky for Romney. The further right he goes, the less electable he becomes. A better tack might be to actually have a plan to rebuild America. A little late to try to come up with one perhaps....

    February 8, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  18. Lolo

    Mitt give it up. They do not like you.

    February 8, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  19. tigerakabj

    Fact Lee, the reason he won't recite those things or even let us look at his career aspects with a magnifying glass is because, just like his 2010 tax returns, he knows people will be repelled.

    The only signature good thing that was associated with him was healthcare reform, and that was passed with a veto-proof Dem legislature (Romney had no choice).

    I think this is where Romney will really begin to crack. Santorum now has 4 wins under his belt to Romney's 3. Romney's been running like he's already won and now sees that the race has only begun in the primaries. So now he will become an even bigger petulent crybaby who makes awful noises when things don't go his way.

    As for the White House, President Obama and his team have to order yet another round of popcorn. This show is just too good to be true. It's so good VP Biden just let loose the best soundbite that highlights the successes of the administration on foreign and domestic policy fronts: "OBL is dead and General Motors is alive."

    Obama/Biden/E.Warren 2012

    February 8, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  20. jk from MN

    Will Mitt's new approach include explaining to the American electorate he wants to trust him if the money he has parked off shore he has paid taxes on? My guess is the answer is no – there is absolutely no way on earth I would vote for Mitt.

    February 8, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  21. Laverne

    It is amazing, the republicans just can't seem to wrap their mind around fully supporting Romney and with good reason. Romney is a friend to none, but himself! His positions of most things change constantly, yes everybody changes political views here an there, but this guy changes views like he changes clothes. How can you trust a man like Romney, he is acting more a more like a slick car salesman everyday. He is so fixated on trashing and defeating Obama, he can't even beat Santorum and yes it was a surprise he lost all three given his "so called" inevitability of winning the the repub nomination. I think he is probably getting a little nervous again. Another thing with all his endorsements from folk like Christie, he still has not been able to convince ANYONE he is the man. Maybe he should have declined the Trump endorsement, LOL!

    February 8, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  22. Is Mitt a Git?

    Mitt has had the rug pulled from out under him, and now instead of being nasty to President Obama, he is now having to fight for the actual nomination. When will this fool understand that in general, people don't like him because of his arrogance, his temper, his indifference, his flip flopping, the fact that he does not think before he shoots his mouth off, and he has no real plan to get the country moving in the right direction. If he is elected President, he will sit back and live lavishly–enjoying the perks of being president and not really do that much to help–especially if the rich republican cronies are still in the house.

    Santorum, I've got to say, he played it cool and made some good choices of words in his campaigns–Mitt is in the ropes and if Santorum keeps it up with the sincerity, he will win more states. I don't think he will win the general election, but I love the fact that Mitt is now sweating because of Santorum's wins last night.

    February 8, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  23. Henry Miller

    So, at the moment, we may wind up with either a boring flip-flopper with a Big Government taint to his background or a self-righteous religious nut who wants to cram his religion down everyone's throats. And then, either of those two lousy choices versus a would-be Socialist who doesn't seem to either realise or care that socialism is ruining the economies of a lot of countries.

    So, at the moment, I'm planning to just stay home next November 6...

    February 8, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  24. The Dude in Colorado

    Santorum can't get elected President, even if he were the absolutely best man for the job, which he isn't. The plain and simple reason is this: he doesn't look 'Presidential". Even "W" at least looked "Presidential" – his troubles began only after he opened his mouth. Santorum looks more like a substitute teacher than the POTUS, or maybe one of those vice principals back in high school with the posters of Einstein in their office, y'know "Imagination Is More Important Than Knowledge", etc. etc. All Santorum is doing by muddying the Republican waters is making it easier for Obama in November, and for that I say "Thanks Mr. Santorum! Can you validate my hall pass?"

    February 8, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  25. GmAN

    Hey Mittens," You like apples?" Well How you like them apples, BOY!!! Mittens is fake and just more of the same. Now he will begin attacking Santorum just like he did Newt. He should just hang it up all that money and he has not made any traction except for Ann Coulter (not sure of the spelling) another Puppet and in my book has lost all credibility. The american people will define who will get the nomination, Not Obama media or Fox news. Romney's days are numbered, Thank God!!!!

    February 8, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
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