Santorum flips on Dems voting in GOP primaries
February 28th, 2012
04:25 PM ET
3 years ago

Santorum flips on Dems voting in GOP primaries

Washington (CNN) - As voters headed to the polls in Michigan on Tuesday, Rick Santorum defended a robo call his campaign used in the state urging Democrats to support its candidate as a vote against Mitt Romney.

But just a few weeks ago on a tele-town hall with Minnesota voters, Santorum decried the mere idea of open elections as polluting the entire primary process.

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"We want the activists of the party, the people who make up the backbone of the Republican Party to have a say in who our nominee is as opposed to a bunch of people who don't even identify themselves as Republicans picking our nominee," Santorum told voters on the call held January 29. "I don't like that. I believe that states should only allow Republicans to vote in Republican primaries."

In stark contrast to his campaign's more recent courtship of Democrats, in January Santorum told Democrats that if they wanted to vote for a Republican, they should switch their party affiliation.

"It's the Republican nomination, not the independent nomination or the Democratic nomination," he said on the call. "If you're a Democrat and you want to be a Democrat, then vote in the Democratic primary, not the Republican. If you want to vote in the Republican Party then become one."

At the time, Santorum's main criticism was of Romney's success in the New Hampshire primary, where 53% of Republican primary participants did not identify themselves as Republicans. In the weeks following Romney's win in the Granite State, Santorum repeatedly cited that statistic in arguing that his rival's supporters was out of step with the mainstream GOP electorate. Now Santorum is hoping non-Republicans will help give him the edge in Romney's home state.

Also see:

Romney's special guest: Kid Rock

Romney hits Santorum robo calls as 'new low' in campaign

Gingrich zeroes in on Santorum in the South

Santorum robo call to Democrats: Send a message to Romney


Filed under: 2012 • Michigan • Rick Santorum
soundoff (161 Responses)
  1. Michigan for Mitt

    Mr. Dumas? Is that you again? Arlen Specter called and needs your lovin'

    February 28, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  2. Andrew

    SHOCKER! A Republican taking a hypocritical stance on an issue. Seems that's all Santorum, Romney and Newt do!!!!

    February 28, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  3. Wobbly Walker

    He's been exposed as a flip-flopper for a while now. Oh well, politic happens.

    February 28, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  4. Ed Peters

    Why not. Ricky can't when with the garbage that is coming out of his mouth (blasting Kennedy, etc.), he has no shame. I hope he does win, it will give the media more time to look into what he says and does to show just how big a buffoon he really is...

    February 28, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. SR

    This guy is such trash. Seriously? Dick Santorum needs to just get out of the way already. Democrats collectively laugh and ridicule the party becasue of this goon just like they did Newt the last few months. Dick Santorum is NOT what the country needs going forward. Mitt is in line to oust Obama and this clown is doing nothing but anoying him like a mime who is in your face and follows you wherever you walk.

    February 28, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  6. Namejkane fl

    Hay , st ricky, you and all the rest of the republican freaks are going down in a Dem landslide in Nov. These bafoons don't even belong in government and have done nothing for the country in three years but obstruct moving forward.. time to throw these extremest freaks out of office never to return.

    February 28, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  7. WhereIsPalin

    Different time....different state. What do you want from this guy? Consistency?

    February 28, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  8. Doug

    Yep, sounds about right.. Ricks' true character seems to be showing now..

    February 28, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  9. Rob

    Santorum is a Hypocrite.
    Vote for the man with principles, and a proven record of turning around failing organizations. The US needs that kind of leader. Vote Romney 2012

    February 28, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  10. VoteForRick

    Rick Santorum is the only one who can lead our party to victory, he's the consistent Conservative we've all dreamed of. Go Rick Go!

    February 28, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  11. Eri

    Rick, my fanatic friend, I think you've been spending too much time standing next to Romney (in debates). You may have caught his flip flopping disease. Or perhaps you had it in you all along.
    Obama 2012!

    February 28, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  12. BJ

    Wow. Talk about a flip flop.

    February 28, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  13. Mike

    Well you met Mitt the flip, now meet Santorum the flop. Put them together and you have a game show.

    February 28, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  14. Brian

    He didn't flip you biased CNN reporters. It's called if that's the rules then get the Democrats who are conservative and want to vote for Santorum to do so. Mitt has already done this in at least 2 other states. Nice try CNN to portray Rick as flipping as a way to paint a negative on him. You guys are so predictable it's sickening.

    February 28, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  15. UDoinItWrong

    Oh, Santorum's a tool, you say? Old news...

    February 28, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Of course he flipped. It is stupid that Dems can vote in the Repulican primary but rules are the rules. I think its brilliant that he is using the establishment rules against the establishment candidate. I want a smart president after this experience and this was a smart move.

    February 28, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  17. Will

    If anyone has followed Santorum throughout his political career in Pennsylvania and can remember anything about him, it is that the guy 'flips' on everything. He is not to be trusted as he is as conservative as John McCain and twice as slimy.

    February 28, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. who cares

    Of course he flipped. It is stupid that Dems can vote in the Repulican primary but rules are the rules. I think its brilliant that he is using the establishment rules against the establishment candidate. I want a smart president after this experience and this was a smart move. http://www.savethemoon.net

    February 28, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  19. dave

    all flip floppers poll away,
    Ron Paul win the delagates!
    CNN is a scam of a news agency

    February 28, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  20. skarphace

    One word of caution, Democrats: be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.

    There is always a chance, however small, that Santorum could beat Obama in November. This would be the worst possible outcome for America and such a chance should not be taken, in my opinion.

    A Romney Presidency would be bad for America. A Santorum Presidency would be absolutely disastrous.

    Therefore, I offer a compromise: vote for Ron Paul. Win-win, in my opinion

    February 28, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  21. sbssue1

    Santorum is untruthful, against women's rights and he is showing his TRUE colors. If he takes the ticket I will have to vote for Obama and his family before I could put a lair, and cheat in our office. Guess that's what he learned in church, HUH?

    February 28, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  22. Valentina

    What a piece of dirty no good hypocrite! And with that fake smile plastered to his face he defended his robo-call yesterday and again today? And he claims to have gotten some strong convictions? Puhliz! Republicans SHOULD NOT trust this guy – if the GOP nominates him we are in deep doo-doo.

    February 28, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  23. Bob A

    Once a big labor man always a big labor man. Santorum will pick right up where Obama left off, stealing taxpayer dollars and giving them to communist unions! Vote NO on Santorum!

    February 28, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  24. PitBull

    As the "Flip-Flopper-in -chief" said about the PACs two weeks ago – "Fight fire with Fire" After slamming it a month before!
    Republicans don't flip-flop – they're INTELLIGENT – they ADAPT to the curent sneaky Democrat tricks!

    Democrats = Fail – whine – blame – whine – blame some more – flip- flop – appease enemes – fail some more. ! Bunch of losers.

    February 28, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  25. rgcheek

    There is no reason for Santorum to not use Romney's tactics against him.
    It is only faair to fight fire with fire, so why so much hate directed at Santorum for doing the smart thing here?
    If you dont like Dems voting in GOP primaries then change the rules across the board and stop whining about Rick finally returning fire.
    BTW Romney is a total loser and a fraud. He has no chance against Obama and the GOP racketeers know it.

    February 28, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
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