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. Fla Pete

    Santorum is doing what McCain did on Bush,so you republicans quit whinning or stop playing the game.Neither one are going to defeat Obama because women ,minorities,seniors are sick of the same old story line.Obama a Muslim,he's an alien,a socialist,he pushes kids to college,how dare he.He's not for tax brakes for the 1%ers,he's for helping women with health care,he's for seniors and SocialSecurity,Medicare,he's for green energy,he's for the 99%ers.O my God ,can this president be REAL,for the middle class too!And all this while fighting with problematic republicans bent on destroying our way of life.Now republican advisers are going to the lab to create a super candidate because the others are clowns.They know they're in trouble,Obama for 2012,good luck....

    February 28, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  2. Valentina

    This is the guy that will do anything for "the team" – right, for the Democratic team. But the sad part about this is that he did this in the wee hours before election hoping that the press won't have enough time to catch him on his flip-flop. This is a very dangerous man: conniving, manipulative, calculating, scheming, someone that American people SHOULD NOT trust. I am disgusted by this guy – and this is coming from a fiscal and social conservative woman.

    February 28, 2012 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  3. MrLiberty

    Given that the democrats will not have a candidate to vote for that supports ending the wars, ending the Patriot Act, restoring civil liberties, ending the racist drug war, restoring sound money so everyone can be prosperous again, etc. it would only be reasonable that they would want to vote for a candidate that supports these sound american values – Ron Paul. Why Rick "frothy" thinks they would ever want to vote for him is a mystery. Ron Paul 2012.

    February 28, 2012 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  4. rhumba

    I don't remember Santorum complaining about it when Rush Limbaugh spearheaded "Operation Chaos." Hurts when the tables are turned on you, huh, Ricky?

    February 28, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  5. Gregson

    The Absentee Ballots cast in the Michigan GOP Primary give a 60% edge to Romney with only 20% of the ballots cast going to Santorum.

    The Drudge Report is saying that the turn-out in the Michigan primary is light, with little evidence of Democrats reporting to polls to skew results in favor of Santorum – Advantage Mitt Romney!
     
    In addition, with Romney taking Arizona with "it's winner take all" delegate count – tonight's results will invariably extend Mitt Romney's lead in delegates!

    With Rasmussen reporting that Mitt Romney is now leading Obama by 45% to 43% in their Poll yesterday of probable voters – it appears that Obama's short-lived bounce in the Polls is over!

    Romney 2012 – America Restored! 

    February 28, 2012 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  6. Sharon

    This is not the only state that allows people to change party and vote in the primary. Sometimes we do that just because we want a say in what is happening. I registered Democrat in TX for years and voted Republican. I knew the Dems would win so I wanted someone I liked. The reverse is true now. I register and vote Republican now. This activity will probably happen in Texas too.

    February 28, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  7. Santorum wants it all

    Santorum clearly is envious of Romney. He wants his front-runner status and now he's challenging him on the flip-flop...

    February 28, 2012 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  8. Scott J

    In my state (UT) the repub primary is closed because a few years ago Dems crossed to line to vote for the weaker candidate and he won the primary and lost the general so the Dems won easily. I am not registered in either party but allowed to vote in the primary for a democrat where I voted Hillary knowing full well that Obama was going to take us down the drain if he won. sadly Obama won my state and my predictions in 2004 presidential election when I told my wife that Obama would be the next president after Bushes second term. Santorum is taking one for his team!

    February 28, 2012 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  9. Jerry Thomas

    Is Santorum a republican or democrat? Apparently he is a democrat. Ron Paul was right....Santorum is a phony (fraud). I guess he is Arlen Specter the 2nd (Specter was one of only 3 republicans that voted for Obamacare). Santorum has serious ethical issues.

    February 28, 2012 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  10. Coolheaded

    Flip flopping much, Rick?

    February 28, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  11. CerpherJoe

    Drudge! Give it up dude!

    Romney people SOUGHT an open primary in Michigan. That's the bigger story.

    Unless Mitt's your man.

    February 28, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  12. caleb

    Vote SANTORUM!! The only electable Republican Candidate!!

    February 28, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  13. GWS

    What's scary about this is that the ONLY reason that Democrats are voting for Santorum in the MI primary is to allow what they consider a weaker opponent (Santorum) to face and lose to Obama in the general election. Romney is the stronger candidate in the general election to beat Obama.

    February 28, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  14. Jack

    Did this go against your principles to Rick? Or do you really have any?

    February 28, 2012 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  15. Ellen

    The rules should be changed. Democrats should NOT be voting in the republican primaries. That's just common sense (which is sorely lacking in this country). Since they the rules are staying, it would be stupid not to try to get some democrat voters. I do not see this as a flip flop at all. If this is all you have against him, he must be pretty darn good. Vote for him.

    February 28, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  16. CBS

    According to the quotation, Santorum is asking Democrats who do not intend to vote for Obama (do you think there might be a few of those) to become Republican and choose their candidate. He is not asking them to vote Republican so they can choose the weaker candidate so Obama has a better chance. "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." This does not contradict what he said in Minnesota and prior primaries. Republicans should vote Republican. Undoubtedly this article is written by those Romney (weaker candidate) and Obama sympathizers looking to discredit the serious Republican threat.

    February 28, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  17. Dave

    Say what you will about Romney, but I guarantee you that he would never, ever, remotely consider pandering to liberal democrats for their primary vote. He may run negative ads against his opponents records and positions but you'll never find him jumping to the other side to gather votes. . .never. Santorum clearly has no principles and he's made it crystal clear it's all about "win at all costs". How much do voters need to see before they realize "take one for the team" Santorum and Gingrich are precisely the "Insider Washington Machine Politicians" we're desperately trying to get rid of. If Michael Moore campaigning for his followers to come out today and vote for Santorum doesn't tell you something, then you're hopelessly naive.

    February 28, 2012 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  18. Dan

    "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. "

    What a jack-wagon!

    February 29, 2012 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  19. Cynic

    Santorum is losing because he keeps talking. The more he talks, the more people know about him. And to know him is to hate him. Why do you think he was a ONE-TERM Senator from Pennsylvania?

    He is a religious nut-case, pure and simple. We thought we were done with the likes of Santorum and Gingrich, and back they come, returning like a proverbial "bad penny."

    Mr. Liberty is absolutely right. Democrats used to believe in civil liberty and peace. Now, we have Obama, or "Republican Lite." The Republicans used to believe in small government. Now we have Republicans who want endless war and want to fill our prisons with non-violent offenders engaging in civil disobedience because of some vegetable matter that the government doesn't like. They both FAIL!

    I am a registered Republican, a fiscal and social libertarian.

    Ron Paul is the ONLY candidate I will vote for.

    February 29, 2012 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  20. ramicio

    He's bellyaching because the dems coming over are all just dumping the philosophy of a two party system and voting for the only person with a non-partisan message, Ron Paul.

    February 29, 2012 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  21. Frank from Gilroy

    GOP thinks the Rich are the solution, when they are the problem. GOP mission statement "make the rich richer" and they have.

    February 29, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  22. gregory21

    With this set of clowns, Obama can't loose. Now they're looking for another savior. If Christe was press., with the
    press. schedule, he'd die of a heart attack the first month.

    February 29, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  23. BostonWes

    Santorum is like the anit-christ. Probably is.

    February 29, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  24. Bob in Philly

    Everything with Santorum is about religion. Not my religion or your religion but always and only HIS religion. This guy is exactly what the framers of the Consitiution were concerned about.

    February 29, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  25. beevee

    I think the primaries should be open for everyone not just reps or dems in presidential primaries. The person who gets into the office of president is chief of the country, and it speople irrespective of their party affiliation and not just of the people of his party. In congressional and senetorial candidate elections may be it is important only reps and dem leaning people should be voting in choosing their party candidates.

    February 29, 2012 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
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