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. Dan J

    Had it been a general election style robocall, where Santorum highlighted his strengths and why he should be president (not just the republican nominee), then it can be defended as attempting to attract all Americans, not just republicans. That's fine. It wasn't that. Not even close. That makes him a hypocritical sellout sleazebag that clearly puts self before party, and self before country.

    February 29, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  2. DC Johnny

    You liberals once again cry false hypocrisy. The open primary was a done deal – it was going to happen. Once it was already happening, he would be a fool to not try to go after the Democrats willing to vote.

    This is the same ridiculous argument used against Republican governors that accepted stimulus monies after the stimulus was already passed. Their citizens contributed to the federal money being spent, so even if the individual governors disagreed with the policy, that money was either available for the taking.

    You liberals need to wake up and think for yourselves – really think – rather than take the easy way out and scream hypocrisy or racism or whatever other easy avenue is available to you.

    February 29, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  3. Indyswimmer66

    What a "Clown Car!"

    February 29, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  4. ThinkAgain

    The headline should be "Santorum flip-flops in desperate attempt to get votes."

    Or

    "Santorum typical Repub: Flip-flopping to get votes."

    February 29, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  5. ThinkAgain

    @DC Johnny: "You liberals need to wake up and think for yourselves – really think – rather than take the easy way out and scream hypocrisy or racism or whatever other easy avenue is available to you."

    Once again a Republican lackey accuses Democrats of their own failings, specifically, the inability to think for yourself. The Repubs REALLY have that one down pat!

    Obama/Biden 2012

    February 29, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  6. karen

    Hey, I am all in favor of it. When a Texas Billionaire is allowed to donate tons of money to Karl Rove's SuperPac to run ads in Virginia to affect the outcome of a Senate race where he doesn't even live, why can't we, the great unwashed voters, use the only thing we have, our vote, to affect an outcome at the primary level? Sleasy? Sure!. In keeping with the circus that has become our American political system? YOU BET! We little guys are just taking our lousy one vote and our $5 bills and using it at the primary level. Hypocrisy? PLEASE.

    February 29, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  7. karen

    It's the NEW AMERICAN WAY!

    February 29, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  8. Steve

    Oh please Johnny...what a load of apologetic tripe for a candidate who would do or say anything for the vote and cant wait for a theocratic state. Not to mention he would rather we all be mickey mouse, idealized versions of our 1400-1500's selves.

    The man is more than a few bricks short of a load and anyone who says that americas laws should be more in line with Gods laws is just looking to fire up the next crusade or inquisition.

    February 29, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  9. MikeH

    @DC Johnny: How can you defend such a toxic psycho like Santorum? Having your conservative views is fine, but Santorum is clearly anti-constitution. If you want to lay claim to being a loyal American, how can you support this guy?

    February 29, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  10. Rsprings

    Time for Santorum to hang it up. His message is to far right for most of American Republican and independent voters.

    February 29, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  11. ChrisK

    For DC Johnny...

    When it IS hypocrisy or racism, why not call it exactly what it is? Romney said he has played the "crossover" voting game and just before the Michigan primary, said that was "dirty tricks". The article above talks about Santorum's hypocrisy. And as for Gingrich, Mr. (and Mrs.) "Family Values"? Give me a break!

    And the vast majority of so-called "conservatives", be they the fiscal kind or the social kind, simply don't like a black man in the White House. (Herman Cain never really stood a chance, did he?)

    It may appear the easy way out, but the Republican candidates and the Fox talking heads, make it so!

    February 29, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  12. Jerry

    Oh, and PLEASE, don't forget to take Satorum with you!!!

    February 29, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  13. catie

    While Santorum doesnt like open elections. He was clever in capitalizing on it.

    February 29, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  14. Anonymous

    Right on, Karen.

    February 29, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  15. Eagle Eye

    According to what I have read and heard it sound to me like Rick Santorum could be in the pocket of the "Unions" who only vote democratic. Rick Santorum thinks that only Republicians should only vote in Republician Primaries if people want to vote it's their choice to vote the way they want to. As for the "Unions" it sounds like Rick Santorum has sold his soke to the "Unions". Hey Ricky this move is going to come back and bit in the a$$ not now but when it counts.

    February 29, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  16. SCAtheist

    He should start a new group "Liars for Jesus." This guy was born believing his own baloney.

    February 29, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  17. Lefty

    None of these GOP hopefuls are behaving in a very christian-like manner. they are all severely hypocritical.

    February 29, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  18. GI Joe.

    Rick has flipped his lid. Totally out of his mind.

    February 29, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  19. Anonymous

    Gotta love the Rmoneybots' phony poutrage about crossover voting. Rmoney himself encouraged it and benefited from just such tactics in NH yet now he and his neocon 1%er backers cry "unfair!" What a bunch of hypocrites!

    February 29, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  20. nhguy

    rick "sanitoriam" whines about college students being "indoctrinated" and losing thier religion yet does not see that his own religion was the original indoctrinator/brainwasher by forcing 7-year olds to "accept" christianity in the form of confirmation. can i get a witness anyone?

    February 29, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  21. rob

    In reference to the retirement announcement of Olympia Snowe because of too much partisanship and the harshness of the political rhetoric...Quoting right in the article is an example of the hyprocracy of the media:

    "Guy Cecil, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee"........said "If there is one place in the country that is likely to reject the extreme, anti-middle class, divisive Republican agenda it is Maine."

    Enough said.

    February 29, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  22. Phil

    Every 4 years, I want to kill myself between Feb5th and Nov5th. GET IT OVER WITH. I'm tired of seeing their ugly mugs and lying nonsense every 3 seconds. I'd rather watch 75 cars drive around in a circle for 3 hours (NASCAR) than all this political garbage. It's worse than childhood cancer.

    February 29, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  23. dashabq

    What a snob. I think I'm going to throw up now.

    February 29, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  24. flashinpan

    Santorum is done. Romney will be the nominee. Please, please pick Chris Christie as your running mate, and point the ship towards Obama! Will be fun, for sure!

    February 29, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  25. kim

    You look in Santorum's eyes, and you just know he's irrational. Righteous Rick is the greatest danger to individual freedoms this nation has ever seen.

    February 29, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
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