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. Don

    Romney's new plan, Run for dogcatcher in MA and hope NO ONE runs against him LOL.

    February 8, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  2. CoJo

    interesting Palin is in Gingrich's camp, Trump is in Ronmey's camp, and who had a clean sweep? Not that I support Santorum. Santorum has tunnel vision. And since the evangelicals have already publically stated they will not vote for anyone not of their religion makes them by definition a bigot (people who hate anyone not of their same beliefs).

    February 8, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  3. anagram_kid

    Tam,
    Good post, but I have to disagree that it is not America has declined, it is the GOP. Through a complete lack of management they have been overtaken by an anti-intellectual base. Their candidates reflect this. I really hope they lose the House in 2012 and finally divorce themselves from the birthers, tea party, John Birchers, religious fanatics… etc. We need divergent opinions and ideas in our government, but ideas from simpletons are not useful.

    Obama 2012

    February 8, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  4. CoJo

    remember Pennsylvania did NOT want Santorum back as a senator for a reason.

    February 8, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  5. The Real Tom Paine

    He's had 6 years to come up with a plan, rs: he has assumed all along that the nomination was his by right of succession. Now he's actually having to fight for it a second time, and he's losing states he won handily last time. The truth is, he has no plan, and does not even have a governing philosophy other than " do whatever it takes to win". There is no Romney Doctrine, and he's had 6 years to develop one. His arrogance and sense of entitlement is obvious to everyone but himself. Other than saying the auto industry should have gone into bankruptcy ( I can't wait to see how well he fares in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana with that one), he has not shown us one single thing in his core that would indicate how he would govern. The disaster he would lead the GOP to will make 1964 or 1936 look like child's play by comparison.

    February 8, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  6. Randy, San Francisco

    Time for Romney, Gingrich, and Santorum to take off the gloves and start hitting each other with serious punches. They need to start slinging serious mud. Hope this goes on to the GOP convention!

    February 8, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  7. Nick

    Not eye on the ball, eh? Go after Santorum, flip flop some more? I don't think GOP has provided any viable candidates for independents who want someone who have real answers and not someone whose only goal is to beat Obama.

    February 8, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  8. once upon a horse

    Mitt Romney the MORE you know about him the LESS you like him. I think Rick Santorum is a TOTAL TOOL, but that being said it should be an insult to a so-called frontrunner to lose not one but 3 straight to this guy. All this makes the DNC just smile and smile.

    February 8, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  9. The Real Tom Paine

    Romney thought the nomination was his by right of succession: too bad for him the United States is not a monarchy.

    February 8, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  10. Dixie Independent voter

    I don't mind that Romney is successful. I don't mind that he's a Mormon - at least he doesn't preach like Santorum. Romney just doesn't have the stuff to be president.

    February 8, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  11. Carla Nelson

    If I was Obama I would tell Romney what you did is the same thing in Massachuset nowyou can't say that it is good for the state but not good for the federal level. Newt called him out on it yestreday stated that what Obam did about contraceptives is the same thing Romney did.

    February 8, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  12. WW_902

    From an independent, what I see is Romney lost because the ANYONE BUT ROMNEY vote. The ANYONE BUT ROMNEY voters are clearly dividing the GOP. I don't care for any GOP candidate but of the four, I'd rather have a moderate with experience as governor (like Romney) than any WASHINGTON INSIDER (like Santorum, Paul, and Gingrich). I call the three WASHINGTON INSIDERS the THREE STOOGES (Moe, Curly, and Larry) because 90% of their words, they act like they alone (Santorum and Gingrich in particular) can change Washington DC politics all by themselves when they know for a fact they cannot. Their antics are hilarious to many independents and democrats watching their performances in the debates and news clips.

    February 8, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  13. Data Driven

    A Party without a candidate.

    Good luck with that.

    February 8, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  14. A Texan

    Don`t worry, they will all unite to "defeat Obama" come election day. The Repubs` ONLY goal or plan for America since `08 has been to defeat Obama. It smacks of a thirst for pure power; not what`s good for our country. --–It`s a "thinly" disguised plan to thwart any attempt to raise taxes on wealthier Americans whatever the costs.

    February 8, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  15. Johnson

    Romney is so disliked by most of the country he doesn't stand a chance of winning in November. He can't be trusted and he thinks he can purchase the White House.

    February 8, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  16. Larry L

    The pitiful nature of the Republican candidates becomes more obvious with each day. Santorum is a candidate who is "Tea Party enough" to capture the radical right-wing yet far too crazy to win the general election. Romney is such a flip-flopper he'll get eaten alive in the debates. Gingrich is a pasty-faced, political weasel with deeply flawed character and very poor organizational skills. That leaves an old anarchist so out of touch with reality even young people are now understanding the complete weakness of his platform. Great job GOP! I suppose the Koch brothers are getting out their check books to ensure a Romney win. They need a guy who will create an environment totally favorable for the filthy rich and pay the bills on the back of the middle class.

    February 8, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  17. Lynda/Minnesota

    “I think we’ll see differences in approach that will be explored."

    Whatcha going to do, Mittens ... call God-Busters? So far his really "tough" guys Christie, Pawlenty, and Trump haven't gotten it done for him. Pink slips in the mail for all three, you think?

    What an absolute waste this Republican primary has become.

    February 8, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  18. i want a mega rich Mormon who hides money overseas, and a master tax evader as president

    Keep talking smack about the prez mitts and you just might get everything coming you're way loser.

    February 8, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  19. 4 More Years!!!

    Romney's new plan. More negative ads!!!

    February 8, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  20. GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE

    This just goes to show you how desperate Willard is. Now he's going to launch the attack machine on Santorum. I think Newt was right. All Willard likes to do is denegrade people. He doesn't speak on policy. Maybe it'sbecause he's had multiple positions on multiple topics. He has NO CORE and will say anything to get elected and for political expedience. You're a fraud Willard and true republicans are going to call you out for it. You said back in 2002 that you will always protect a womans right to choose, now today you've made a complete 180. I thought you said you were a "moderate republican with progressive views." What a difference 10 years makes.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012
    ELIZABETH WARREN 2012 & BEYOND

    February 8, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  21. Dr Knowitall

    Mitt is not enough to be POTUS.
    He is too out of touch with America. But still a much better choice than Obama if it comes down to that.

    February 8, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  22. WhizzerW

    Why did Rick lose in the last election by 19 points? What is wrong with a moderate candidate? I wish a true moderate was on the ballot. Everything is polarized to conservative or liberal. I would argue that we should get back to compromising on issues that can move the country forward.

    February 8, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    People probably got sick and tired of hearing about Romney's uber-wealth. They probably got tired of hearing, during these economic times that he's worth upwards of $250MILLION. They probably got tired of hearing about his FIVE non-combatant sons' $100MILLION trust fund. A trust fund that holds monies from the profits of shipping thousands of American jobs overseas. They probably got tired of hearing about the 23 funds that he neglected to declare on his income taxes. Funds that are conveniently located in swank, tax-hideout places like the Cayman Islands, and Swiss bank accounts. Then add to that the flip-flopping; the down and dirty campaigning; the twisted lies and re-creation; the millions upon millions gathered by his corporations-are-people-too no-disclosure SuperPacs and you have towonder what took people so long to NOT vote for him.
    Meanhwile a few fashion designers get together to raise DISCLOSED funds by KNOWN people for our President, and some folks have the nerve to chastise him saying that it is in poor taste to do that during these "economic times". We all know that is code for it's okay for Romney to flaunt and gather wealth but NOT okay for the Balck President.

    February 8, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  24. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    uh oh now the Romney SMEAR MACHINE is going to go after "Pretty Ricky" so if any of you wondered if Santorum had any dirt to hide get ready because it will be coming out soon. And I am not just talking about what you get when you Google his name either. When you have money like Mitty you can do this kind of stuff.

    February 8, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  25. tedt

    All of these repubelican prez candidates are so far removed from everyday people its like they are in their own little world very disgusting

    February 8, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
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