Santorum ally calls for Gingrich exit
March 7th, 2012
11:14 AM ET
2 years ago

Santorum ally calls for Gingrich exit

(CNN) – The super PAC which has spent millions in support of Rick Santorum came out Wednesday morning with a sharp admonition for Newt Gingrich: it's time to drop out.

"Based on his electoral performance last night and his out-of-step record, it is time for Newt Gingrich to exit the Republican nominating process," Stuart Roy, a Red, White, and Blue Fund advisor, said, adding that Gingrich's "campaign is an obvious non-starter."

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The group argued in a press release that Santorum, former senator from Pennsylvania, and Gingrich, former House speaker, are splitting the support of social conservatives.

"With Gingrich exiting the race it would be a true head-to-head race and conservatives would be able to make a choice between a consistent conservative in Rick Santorum or Mitt Romney," Roy said. "For instance, with Gingrich out of the race Santorum would have won both Ohio and Michigan.

"Newt has become a hindrance to a conservative alternative," he added.

This call is a turn of the tables upon Gingrich, who in January cited the same reason in arguing for the exit of Santorum and then-candidate Rick Perry. Perry, the Texas governor, did suspend his campaign ahead of the South Carolina primary, and endorsed Gingrich, who also has the backing of one-time candidate and businessman Herman Cain.

"So I am respectful that Rick has every right to run as long as he feels that's what he should do, but from the stand point of the conservative movement, consolidating into a Gingrich candidacy would in fact virtually guarantee a victory on Saturday," Gingrich told reporters in mid-January. "And I'd be delighted if either Perry or Santorum wanted to do that."

He said "any vote toward Perry or Santorum, in effect is a vote to allow Romney to become the nominee."

But Gingrich - who has won only in South Carolina and his home state of Georgia – trails Santorum in the delegate count. Santorum added three states to his belt Tuesday night, making a total of seven state wins.

Gingrich said in a Wednesday radio interview that he had not won his home state on Tuesday, "I'd have gotten out of the race this morning." But getting out, he said on "Bill Bennett's Morning in America," would not be wise because he is not convinced of Santorum's electability.

"If I thought he was a slam dunk to beat Romney and to beat Obama, I would really consider getting out," Gingrich added. "I think each of the three candidates has strengths and weaknesses and I think this is a very healthy."

Santorum adviser John Brabender said Tuesday night that Santorum "is the only candidate who can beat Mitt Romney," but stopped short of calling for Gingrich's exit.

"We're not gonna call on anyone to drop out but. . . we are calling on conservatives and tea party supporters to rally," he said.

On Wednesday morning, Santorum's press secretary, Alice Stewart, told CNN's Soledad O'Brien that Tuesday was a "tremendous victory for our campaign."

- CNN Senior Producer Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.

Also see:

Palin votes for Gingrich

'Joe the Plumber' wins GOP primary in Ohio

In battle of incumbents, Kucinich loses House seat in Ohio

Palin on open convention: Anything is possible


Filed under: 2012 • Newt Gingrich • Rick Santorum
soundoff (260 Responses)
  1. NoKidding

    Ha Ha! "You should get out of the race so I can win!". BRILLIANT!

    March 7, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  2. TJeff1776

    Looking at the candidate thing from EVERY angle, IF anything was to be done about Romney's roll then it should have done long ago........methinks some of Santorum's advisors should be fired. Santorum had the bucks for Ohio, BUT didn't spend it.
    Scrutinizing the whole playing field NOW- its too late. Santorum would have to possess extraordinary luck. Right now, his stance on combining Church and State opened Pandora's box and lots of people are running scared of him.

    March 7, 2012 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  3. Jesucrisco

    Gingrich is just dividing the conservative vote. He doesn't have a prayer.

    March 7, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  4. ctguy591

    if the parasites like gingrich and paul would get out of the way, santorum would take the nomination for sure,
    why? nobody likes romney !!!!

    March 8, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  5. Wes Scott

    While these Republicans are beating each other none of them can or will beat Obama in November. If they had any pride at all, then the GOP would be embarrassed by what they are showing the American people and the world. They are offering us three disgraces and a looney to tackle real world problems. I will hold my nose and vote for Obama even though I really cannot stand the guy and think that he has been an abject failure on several key issues on which he campaigned. The GOP alternative is just too unthinkable.

    March 8, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  6. DavidE7

    Gingrich should stay in. Neither can catch Romney, but together they can deny him the nomination. If Romney does not get it before the convention, he is toast and anything can happen. Gingrich' are Santorum's support is overlapping but not identical. Together they get more delegates than either one alone.

    March 8, 2012 03:38 am at 3:38 am |
  7. Anonymous

    why does the gop act like they can't see how we spent so much on war and lost so many lives in them when they got us into these wars. they need to look in the mirror and fix themselves they're all mouth and shaft the regular people.

    March 8, 2012 03:38 am at 3:38 am |
  8. Barry

    Where is Newt on the 'standings'? NOWHERE! In order for the republican party to get 'united' behind 1 candidate, these guys should 'bow' out! Republicans that are still loyal to Newt, are 'wasting' their vote, AND he is equally irresponsible for allowing this 'fracture' to deepen! Newt has had his 'shot', hasn't done very well, so I think he should 'step aside' and 'free' up his people to vote for a candidate that HAS a chance of winning! Loyalty is great thing!, but missplaced loyalty is a foolish waste of a vote!

    March 8, 2012 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  9. Baylor Alum

    Santorum wants the dominant Taliban wing of the GOP all to himself, which he would get if he could just elbow Newt out of the way. I once was a proud volunteer for the Republican party, several decades ago, and it sickens me to watch it veer so far to the extreme right and become the radical hate group that it now is.

    March 8, 2012 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  10. Dan

    Santorum is the one that is out of step.

    March 8, 2012 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
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