Santorum flips on Dems voting in GOP primaries
February 28th, 2012
04:25 PM ET
2 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. Name: DParke

    Pathetic! Santorum is desperate for votes. He is actually begging votes from Demos after decrying the practice! Unbelievable! HE is the king of the Flip Flop. Romney flipped his stance 20 yrs ago. Santorum flipped his stance from 20 days ago just to win! If he needs Demos to win an election he will never be able to beat Obama!

    February 28, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. sbssue1

    It is astonishing that the Rep Party is allowing Santorum to ruin the party, such as he is. He's a liar and cheat! What's he going to do if he goes to Washington? He will walk all over everyone!

    February 28, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  3. Tim Holt

    What this aricle says maybe true, but I can see him using what system is in play. The other candidates are using the same tactics. I would think.

    February 28, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  4. Rob

    Wow. And you fools are voting for him.
    Ron Paul 2012 or kiss our nation goodbye. And that's the TRUTH.
    Smarts don't it
    ANYTHING but obama though. He's a total LOSER in the General Election it's LOCKED IN BABY!

    February 28, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  5. Republican for Romney

    Rick Santorum is a first class liar. I guess that makes him just another hypoChrisitan.

    February 28, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  6. j

    At least he is looking for LIVE democrats to vote for him and not scouring cemeteries for "voters"

    February 28, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  7. snapper

    Sounds as hough Rick's morals are extremely flexible (as we in PA already knew) except in terms of birth control.

    February 28, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  8. Publius Novus

    So-called "open" primaries are, in a word, ridiculous. Why should non-party members have a say on a party's nominees? Political parties are essentially private organizations–they should be able to regulate their membership, within the bounds of the law. Next up: Protestants and Jews will be allowed to vote for Pope. Boyl Scouts will be allowed to elect Girl Scout leaders. Members of the VFW will vote in open elections for officers of the Rotary Club. Why not?

    That said, Santorum is flip-flopping on this. On the other hand, you have to play by the rules, even if you don't like them and they are stupid.

    February 28, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  9. Liz

    If I had any intention of voting for Santorum, it went down the tube. To bring the democrats on board in a primary is disgusting. And his remark about JFK were uncalled for. He is slime.

    February 28, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  10. sbssue1

    Sooo, you are saying the Democrats like being used by Santorum? I don't think the Dems are that crazy. Vote Obama if you don't like Romney, but certainly don't let Santorum do mind control on you.

    February 28, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  11. Dave Burton

    What a silly article. Santorum plays by the rules that the States make for their primaries. There's nothing at all inconsistent with arguing that the rules should be different, and simultaneously using them to best advantage. Just because Santorum doesn't think States should let Democrats vote in Republican primaries, that doesn't mean he shouldn't seek those Democrat votes in the States that do. Unilateral disarmament is idiotic, and Santorum's no idiot.

    II wish nobody in the world had nuclear weapons, but I sure don't want the USA unilaterally disarming!

    February 28, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  12. VillageViking

    As usual, Santorum says something and does something that is stupid, real stupid. Doesn't he understand that the only reason a Democrat would vote for him is so Obama would not have to run against Romney in the general election? Dumb Rick, REAL DUMB!!!

    February 28, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  13. doug

    Worthless flip flopper.

    February 28, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  14. Hahahaha

    To paraphrase the parrot in Aladdin, what, a Repug lying? i think i'll have a heart attack from not surprise.

    February 28, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  15. Sean

    And the Lord sayeth unto Santorum, go forth and tell Democrats to vote for you in the Michigan primary so that you can gain momentum against Mitt Romney in the Republican nomination process and have a shot to lose by 20% in the general election to Obama. Thanks be to Him (and Mitt Romney for being a loser.)

    February 28, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  16. V in Chicago

    This guy is just pathetic. He is so eager to win, he is coming loose at the seams. Go away Rick. The only vote you will get is the "anybody but Romney" vote and even then, people don't really want you for President.

    February 28, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  17. Hafthor

    Daily Kos Sends Email to 8,500 Michigan Dems to Vote Santorum | The Gateway Pundit

    If Romney wins in Michigan, it will prove that he is the leader. If Santorum wins it proves he is the democrats' choice for a weak Obama opponent.

    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2012/02/daily-kos-sends-email-to-8500-michigan-dems-to-vote-santorum/

    February 28, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  18. BJ

    No one is saying that what he is doing is illegal or against the rules. They are simply pointing out that Rick blasted the type of behavior that he is now embracing and promoting. That's called being a hypocrite.

    And I love those that call Romney the "Establishment" candidate. You do realize that just a week ago Ricky boasted about putting his Party above his conscience when we went around collecting votes for No Child Left Behind. He was a cheerleader and waterboy for the Republican leadership. This led to him voting for things like massive spending increases, funding for Planned Parenthood (and then even more funding for some abstinence program), the Prescription Drug program, etc, etc. Rick IS THE ESTABLISHMENT. What do you think someone who was in the Republican Leadership of the Senate, who served 16 years in Congress, and who after losing in a landslide defeat went out to become a lobbyist is called?

    There is only one candidate that has never held a political office in DC. There are only two candidates who have never lobbied (or peddled influence). There is only one candidate that has spent more than 75% of his adult life working in the private sector. If you want an outsider you choice is really between Mitt Romney and to a lesser degree, Ron Paul.

    February 28, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  19. Independent from FL

    He is a FAKE!!!

    February 28, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  20. alkarrk

    Santorum has destroyed himself. Even if he wins Michigan, everyone will know it was because he got the Dems to vote for him (who obviously know he can't beat Obama). We've reached the bottom of the barrel with Santorum–it is now his turn to come up against Romney and implode. Implode away Rick! Mitt 2012!

    February 28, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  21. connieb

    How dare he tell me who I have to vote for. I have always voted for the person, not the party, and I have voted both Dem and Republican. What a stupid thing for him to say–but that list just keeps getting longer for him. Go away Santorum.

    February 28, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  22. sbssue1

    I blame the Rep Party for this situation; It is ashame they are allowing it to continue, because they are the ones who will lose in the end. I would think they would want someone with higher quality than Santorum in office. Why is the party allowing such action by this individual. If this is the way they conduct business, I vote Democratic as will many of the citizens of this fine country. It's disgusting, what is going on today in Politics.

    February 28, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  23. Durka

    He is opposed to the open primary system, but for him not to take advantage of it is stupid, as is the journalist that wrote this.

    February 28, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  24. Mikey

    "Ron Paul 2012 or kiss our nation goodbye"
    ********************************************************
    I always find Conservatives very entertaining. Where else can you find such hyperbole delivered with complete sincerity? Chicken Little's got nothing on you all. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 28, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  25. Jr

    This is sick and no self respecting conservative should vote for this guy, begging Dems for votes.. sad really..

    February 28, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
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