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. tim

    what, mitt romney getting mean and nasty with people who are threatening him....NO...nothing new there..

    February 8, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  2. Fair is Fair

    @ Truth –

    I've tried to explain the Social Security thing before... it fell on deaf ears. Deep down, I think they know it – they just choose not to worry about it. After all, mommy & daddy government will be there to take care of them, right? Yeah, right...

    Meanwhile, what they don't – and refuse to – accept is that Medicare is in far, far worse shape. Oh well... sucks I guess. Especially if they haven't prepared for retirement.

    February 8, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  3. Ken Andrews

    Thanks to the "Citizens United" decision by the GOP majority on the Supreme Court, we will have to endure more and more hate on the airways. Our political system has been high jacked by the Corporations. Romney says Corporations are people and people are nothing! He is so "out of touch" that he doesn't even know the area code of any poor people.

    February 8, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  4. Youre Right

    Terry baby, you've Hit the Nail Right On the Head about the Middle-Class and the Poor with Romney!! Kudos on that keen observation!

    February 8, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  5. Buster Bloodvessel

    None of these guys can win. They should cut their losses and quit.

    February 8, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  6. tstorm

    Santorum's win shows how in shambles the Republican party candidates are. Half the candidates are so conservative that they'd do away with the interstate highway system and drag America back to the horse and buggy age. The other half of Republicans want to destroy wha'ts left of the middle class and just have country of very poor and very, very rich. No thanks to either. I'll vote for Obama.

    February 8, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  7. refman sees

    Romney is a now you see him.....now you don't. He is the flip flooper who appears to be genuine. He is the businessman who appears to be on the people's side. Oh, he is the shark that attacks anyone in his way! Plans to help our country get out of debt? Pull yourselfs up by your boot straps like Romeny and get to work. The poor have a way to stay poor and the rich have a way to stay rich, so Romney is going to work for the middle class by....oh, there are no middle class jobs anymore! Oh well, Romeny really loves the white House and all of his friends like to come and visit him. Its good to be the big man!!!!!!!!

    February 8, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  8. macbil

    ROMNEY'S IN TROUBLE AND HE HAS NO ONE TO BLAME BUT HIMSELF:
    -Flip flopper on issues (more than any politician I've ever seen)
    -Out-of-touch rich guy comments
    -Beats up GOP rivals with tons of money, but doesn't offer anything positive instead
    -I'm guessing is a tax cheat because why else would you have Swiss and Cayman Island bank accounts (there's a reason having accounts in those places has the reputation they do)
    -Seems weirdly robotic and not comfortable when "pressing the flesh" at rallies

    February 8, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  9. Doug in NYC

    I've crossed party lines before in the past and voted for a republican, I'd be perfectly willing to do it again this time however, I have heard no ideas from any of the candidates on how to move this country forward at a faster pace. All I hear is the same old "Lower taxes on the rich", "Repeal Government oversight" etc. These are the same policies that got us into this mess and have driven the debt up to the moon.

    I have no problem with Santorums religious beliefs, I respect that he has them. But I do have a problem with any political figure forceing those beliefs on us. I have no problem with same sex marrage, it doesn't affect me, I have no problem with contraception, abortion, Planned Parenthood. Again, don't force your views on me and I won't force mine on you. Simple, live and let live.

    It just seems the republicans want smaller government for corporations and larger government for the private lives of the citizens, this is all they have to run on.

    Unless you come up with new solutions and compare and contrast yourselfs to President Obama without using sound bites and calling names, I will continue to ignore you and vote for the person that IS moving this country forward without the republicans help, the current President. This current GOP field offers no solutions, only sound bites and uneducated rhetoric.

    February 8, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  10. Obama's Snake Oil on Sale - Git yur lies and deceit here!!

    The Real Tom Paine - The government is bankrupt, truth, because of the worthless tax cuts the GOP has rammed through
    =========================================================================================
    Yes, yes, we've heard it all before.... It's the government's money, not ours. The government's endless appetite for turtle bridges MUST be met. If you could just get 80% of everything we make, then we'd be able to save ALL the turtles. Yes, utopia awaits when we all work for the government and give it all of our earnings, so that Comrade Obama may decide who is worthy of food stamps and free healthcare and who is not.

    I wonder why there are no rich socialist societies on the planet when it is this easy? Or is socialism only possible when funded by a very successful capitalist system? Hmmmm.....

    February 8, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  11. Woman In California

    @ George B Taylor Sr
    I suggest you sober up – and try to elect in Nov. 2012 a person who understands where we are headed and someone with the courage to try and turn this mess around.

    I plan to take your advice FULLY and VOTE ONCE AGAIN for President Obama and YOU sir can vote for "the other candidate".

    February 8, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  12. Politicaljunkie

    GOP has to do something to stop this insanity. Tea Party has ruined what I once considered a real and viable alternative to the Democrats. Now it's just a sloppy sad mess.

    February 8, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  13. Brenda

    I think Romney should keep pointing out that Santorum supported him in 2008 and point to the positives that he (Romney) has and his plans for the country if he wins the presidency. It is good to have contrast and be tough on your opponent, but I think we've learned that people are getting fed up with "just" nasty and want to see more positive out of these candidates. Romney needs to focus on what positives HE has to offer and state contrast more minimally.

    February 8, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  14. Gurgi

    The koch brothers own Romney. Soros and Buffet own Obama. So, what's the difference or big deal?

    February 8, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  15. Coldfinger

    Ah, the smell of attack ads in the morning, at noon, in the afternoon and at night. Can we please fast forward to ... say ... October?

    February 8, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  16. CBR

    After listening to a phone with voters from Mitt Romney I realized that he is embellishing his record just a bit. His record as governor of MA is a little less stellar. He also does not say that he returned to MA with the purpose of running for governor even though the sitting governor was going to run herself. He also does not say that he left shortly after Deval Patrick became governor. He was planning his first run for the presidency while he was in his first term. He was a one-term governor. The state was not better off after he left.

    February 8, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  17. from Massachusetts

    Mitt Romney did not hide his money in swiss accounts or the Cayman Island, he has legitimate investments in these places IN ADDITION to his other investments. Every single investment professional will tell you you have to DIVERSIFY your portfolio, Mitt has done this AND he has paid all taxes he was legally required to AND still gave another 14% of his income to charity.

    February 8, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  18. MITT ROMNEY

    If only my campaign had told me not to make that stupid campaign killing comment on the poor! I had it all wrapped up and was getting ready for my fall showdown with Obama but boy, how could I screw up like that? Poor poor poor me! If only I had a little concern for the poor! Gee wiz dant it! Bang bang! Anyone got some Kool-Aid? No, not for me, I'll give it to my opponents! Hahahaha! That's my new strategy from here on!

    February 8, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  19. frespech

    So if Romney is the candidate the Republican choice will be anybody but Mitt vs anybody but Obama.
    This could be a lot of fun.

    February 8, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  20. Fair is Fair

    "So if Romney is the candidate the Republican choice will be anybody but Mitt vs anybody but Obama.
    This could be a lot of fun."
    --------
    Nah, not really. It will be another election where 40% will vote for "only for a democrat", 40% will vote "only for a republican", and the remaining 20% will decide.

    February 8, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  21. CoJo

    I'm really disabpointed in the tea party which back Santorum. Santorum acknowledged he (along with a buch of others) used the ear marks. The only reason he is NOW against ear marks is because he was fired from being a senator. Only John McCain spoke out against the ear marks in the last presidential election, NOT Santorum. Again the Tea Party screwed up and is not consistent

    February 8, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  22. DoctorFen

    1 million registered republicans in Colorado, only 60,000 show up; 1.4 million in Missouri, but only 220,000 vote; about 2 million "perceived" republicans in Minnesota, but only 50,000 vote... doesn't seem like anybody really won

    February 8, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    Obama snake oil asked:

    I wonder why there are no rich socialist societies on the planet when it is this easy?
    ------------------–
    They exist. All of the money is concentrated at the top. I am glad you brought this up. Because I have often pointed out that from the little guy's perspective there is no difference between the situration where you have a government that runs all of the businesses, or a government that is run by the businesses.

    February 8, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  24. from Massachusetts

    For those who disbelieve Mitt's record in Massachusetts, here's a little history lesson. Mitt Romney ran after the sitting Republican governor chose not to. She, Jane Swift, chose not to run because she left the office in a huge fiscal crisis that she didn't know how to fix. She also misused State employees as babysitters and used the State helicopter to fly back and forth to/from Western MA. Mitt came in an turned around the fiscal crisis to leave us with a $2 billion dollar rainy day fund which our now Democrat govenor blew in a couple short years. Our health system may not be perfect but IT IS better than it was an is arguably better than other states have.

    February 8, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  25. yogi

    @ The Real Tom Paine.
    Great posts! Intelligent and spot-on!
    Same for "Dominican mama 4 Obama"
    Obama 2012.

    February 8, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
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