Romney will take tougher approach to Santorum, adviser says
February 8th, 2012
01:37 AM ET
3 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. Lolo

    Americans know exactly what the gop/tp are up to and we will not stand for it. Their only agenda is to get the black man out of the white house and they will use any means to obtain this goal. Not one of them have solutions. All they have is religion, guns, money and abortion which we have heard many times before. I really feel for the poor people of the Republican party, they do not have a clue and need to eduate themselves. We are trying to think about the future of America not going back. These fools still talk about taking their country back, from where I don't know. I can tell you this they are cowards, because they will not tell the truth that they want to take their country back from the black president whom they hate so much because of his skin color and think that he should not be in the white house. They can't stand the fact that President Obama is too calm, cool and collective and they cannot break him to make him look like the angry black man. I am proud of what our President Obama is doing and will reward him with my vote. The GOP/TPers are just pathetic.

    February 8, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  2. Noodle Nose Johnson

    Wow, I always thought this was the weakest crop of candidates the GOP ever offered but I'm beginning to think this is the weakest crop of candidates in the history of democracy. The Washington Generals have a better chance of winning than Romnnesantopaulgrich.

    February 8, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  3. Kathyrn

    So then Romney has no problem spewing out anything vile against anybody. What a great bishop he must have been.

    February 8, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  4. Nuwan

    The real issue here is that Republicans are torn apart. A major fraction supported by tea party and religious/social conservatives does not unit with more moderate establishment type. So they go back and forth between these candidates without giving any one a clear majority. In this process each other candidates rip others off and that would give a lot of ammunition to Obama in the Fall. Republicans will fail this time because they can not come together. Tea party that came as a blessing in 2010 will bring doom to GOP in 2012. Nations can not be governed with extreamism whether its coming from conservative or liberal ideology.

    February 8, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  5. You Be the Judge

    And we have also already seen more than four years of Republicant control and we surely do not want to revert to the Failed policies of those past administrations! Times when the struggling Middle-Class and the Poor were literally thrown under the bus by conservatives! If you don't like socialism, then you must not like retaining your Social Security benefits, for one! Those who scream the loudest about this, go and sign a pledge to the government telling them you willfully Refuse to take your Social Security check when you are entitled to it! Are you going to do it? Are you going to put your money where your mouth is already? Social Security, for one, does not contribute hardly one iota to the deficit as reports have rightly brought out. So quit trying to put a spin in that it does. It doesn't. That's the people's money, fyi! The bankruptcies that you will see will surely come when a Republican gets to the White House and starts cutting the life-line of most all Americans, their entitlement to what they have paid into during their working years that they now have a full right to obtain during their golden retirement years! With Republicans, you can just kiss that money good-bye as they reallocate it to their rich constituents! Is that what you want and can afford to have happen to Your Money? You be the judge.

    February 8, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  6. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Anonymous
    "Over 60 MILLION Catholics in the USA ... get a clue."
    I must have missed the data where they voted in droves during these past few primary states. My mistake
    ============================================================================
    No problem, you make a lot of mistakes in your postings. Let me try to explain this so you can understand it. Please read it reeeeaaaallllll ssssllllooowwww.

    While the Catholic church is the current target, the base issue deals with freedom of religion. Evangelicals participate a LOT in the primaries. OK? Now please read it over and over until you fully understand it.

    February 8, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  7. beevee

    Mr. Santorum can also take an aggressive stand by painting him Mitt'the hypocrit" Romney for his political pandering. This is turning out to be uglier by the day.

    February 8, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  8. Woman In California

    The Real Tom Paine

    Can we call him the Prince of Mittens? He is rather like Prince Charles: socially awkward, with no real job and desperately trying to convince people he has something relevant to say.

    That paragragh sir just about sums Willard up. No truer words have EVER been spoken thus far.

    February 8, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    "I guess it is impossible for leftists to understand that government trampling on religion and forcing a religion to violate its teachings is a HUGE transgression. It has ZERO to do with whether Catholics actually practice it."
    ================================================

    ..........................? ! ?

    February 8, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  10. FactCheck

    "Truth" wrote: Evangelicals participate a LOT in the primaries
    --------
    Like the 4% of the state population (number of votes divided by number of registered voters) that voted in the Missouri primaries?? Or maybe the 1.3% of the state population that voted in the Colorado primaries??? Or better yet, the 0.9% (yup, that's right) of the state population that voted in the Minnesota primary?? Yeah, good luck with.

    February 8, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @Woman in California: Sickening isn't it? ALL OF IT. Why can't people see that Romney used to walk into a room and people would walk out of it a couple of years ago. What makes him all of a sudden so viable now? HE IS OBSCENELY WEALTHY. Romney is the poster child for the Koch brothers, and all the other wealthy puppet masters that are hellbent on gaining the reigns to our government. Who else but someone as wealthy as them could better look after their interests, put in place legislation to preserve and increase their wealth, and make sure that the tax codes and all pertinent loopholes benefit them at the expense of people that Romney wouldn't recognized if he stepped on them: the middle class.
    Of course they want Obama out. He is the ONLY person standing between them and our complete eradication as a middle class as a country.
    Obama 2012. Seriously America.

    February 8, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  12. The Real Tom Paine

    Whether or not they are observant is completely relevant, Truth. What is an even greater transgression to Americans is whether they are being directly compelled to do something: people were far more concerned over SOPA than they are about this. Religion, and how you practice it, is a personal choice, and the reputation of the Catholic Church has been tarnished enough by its inability and unwillingness to properly police their clergy.This is a minor issue: its the Catholic hierarchy that is getting ina froth because they are trying to reassert their leadership after generations of losing members. This will not significantly effect the election because Americans don't want anyone, church or government, telling them what they should do. GOP policies in this area ignore women's health, and I would have thought the backlash on the Komen Foundation would have amply demonstrated that, even for you.

    February 8, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    "While the Catholic church is the current target, the base issue deals with freedom of religion. Evangelicals participate a LOT in the primaries. OK? Now please read it over and over until you fully understand it."

    Yawn.

    February 8, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  14. Max.

    QUIT ROMNEY

    It's time

    Romney is getting very negative vibes from the conservative party. The clear message is that he does not share conservative values nor reflect republicans ideals

    It's time for Romney to quit. I mean he's been running for the nomination over five years now and is still not attractive as a conservative presidential candidate? He is just not the one to represent the party...It's just time for Romney to QUIT! The sooner, the better for the rest of us.

    February 8, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  15. Barry Marson

    Willard R-Money knows how to create jobs.. Uhmmm By keeping his money in over seas banks. Of course, people are hired there to maintain those millions. I wonder if he knows what a gallon of Orange juice cost? When was the last time we went to the grocery store himself?
    As for Man on Dog, Rick Catholic Jihadis Sacturion, (yes Sactoriun), you really look like a man who should open up your own church and preach your relijon like a Jim Jones of the 60's. Let me be honest with you. You have no charisma to be president. You are better off preaching your hate for Blacks, Hispanics, gays and contraceptives..

    February 8, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  16. Colorodan

    Let's see Romney enjoys firing the very poor. Do I have that right?

    February 8, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  17. The Real Tom Paine

    OK, Truth, what is his plan, beyond the usual boring nostrums about how people like himself need more money in offshore accounts where it won't get invested? What industries are a priority? What solution for healthcare will he produce so people's premiums won't continue to go up 10-20% a year? He's had 6 years to come up with specific plans, and the only thing he wants to do is reduce the tax burden on people like himself. My income has gone up significantly under Obama, so why should I even consider an elitist, wannabe aristocrat who would rather let an industry go bankrupt than try to lead this country? Please give me an reason, other than your usual snarky personal attacks.

    February 8, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  18. Terry

    Romney has two very large problems; one, he is running out of Mormon Voters, two, conservative voters now realize that he is a "Closet Democrat". The only thing that appears to be conservative about Romney is the fact that all of his money is located in offshore bank accounts in the Cayman Islands and Switzerland. Somewhere along the road to the White House, Romney forgot about the Middle Class and the Poor. Win or lose, Romney is still a multimillionaire who frankly cares less about average folks, and more about the 1% Club.

    February 8, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  19. Charlie from the North

    The GOP/ Tea party: Building tunnel to the 15th century.

    February 8, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  20. Jake

    well THAT will not be difficult, and the more Romney can remind the public how truly awful Santorum is, and the massive hypocrite he and his wife are, the less Obama will have to deal with it.

    February 8, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  21. thes33k3r

    Oh please, please nominate Santorum. It will be one of the worst pummelings in election history when Obama is re-elected in November.

    February 8, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  22. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    "He has a plan, you just don't know how to read I guess."

    Really? Please share the details, because all we've seen is the usual GOBP deathcult nonsense about proven policy failures like tax cuts for the filthy rich (and more taxes on the rest of us) and deregulation. If this is untrue, please enlighten us, O Wise One.

    February 8, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  23. max

    Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Harry Baxter – Mitt has nothing to offer that resembles a plan for our Country.
    =======================================================
    He has a plan, you just don't know how to read I guess.

    But we already have seen 4 years of Obama's "plan". European socialism, trillion dollar deficits, forced government mandates on individual's and religious organzations and bankruptcy. The American people have seen and heard enough of Obama's lies and divisive politics. He's heading back to Chicago come Jan. 2013.

    February 8, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
    ------------------------------------------------
    Above is the perfect example of Mittens problem. No plans for the country. Notice how Truth, blah blah blah has nothing to expand on or to make a convincing case of Mittens plans for the country. Notice the only defense is the name calling of the President....socialist...blah blah blah. As usual nothing but empty rhetoric, name calling and hate...can't wait for the real debates.
    Take note people!
    Take note people!

    February 8, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  24. Greenspam

    Republicans' campaign strategy – vote for me because the other guy is a devil.

    February 8, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  25. richrodarte

    This is perfect!

    Now, Mitt will need to become even more conservative to attract the Bible-thumpers away from Santorum, putting him even farther out of the running for a general election. Go Santorum! I only wish Palin had gotten into the fray and was the GOP nominee. Then, an Obama reelection would have been sealed.

    February 8, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
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