Santorum ally calls for Gingrich exit
March 7th, 2012
11:14 AM ET
3 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. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Tom - It doesn't matter. None of these guys is going to beat Obama. And I'm not an Obama fan by any means.
    ===============================================================================
    The batttle has not even started. So be patient and watch how Obama will NOT be able to run from his record and the facts. He will NOT be able to hide behind a billion dollars worth of smoke and mirrors.

    March 7, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. parkmore

    Santorum, what? Something is wrong voting for him

    March 7, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. The REAL Truth

    The REALLY sad part about this is no matter the outcome of the GOP nomination race, there are those who are so blinded by the GOP ideology that they will stand behind their candidate, regardless of whom that is. There isn't a single one left in the race that stands a snowballs chance of winning in Nov. Heck, Cain stood a better chance than these clowns, yet they doggedly trudge on in the hope of winning a losing battle. Maybe that's why the economy is improving, Dow is at it's highest in years, and the right wing has figured out that they have no electable Nov candidate, arriving at the realization that there will be another four years of Obama. Maybe Congress can get something done now.

    March 7, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. jaywing

    Personally, I don't want the Newt to drop out. He adds so much to the slapstick comedy of the GOP race that his dropping out would reduce the race to something simply too sad to watch. However, I am all for Newt dropping off the planet. Newt, it's time to start your moon colony!

    March 7, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    @Truth – Don't worry, pal. Your unique style of diatribes cannot be imitated. We can tell The Truth from The Lies.

    March 7, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  6. james

    a "conservative" alternative? code for an intolerant and intellectually unsophisticated alternative

    March 7, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  7. Carolyn

    I don't understand how the party that claims to be so moral (GOP) can back someone who appears to be so amoral (Newt)

    March 7, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  8. Shared_gum

    Good luck with the approach such as:
    "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,"

    Because Newt is known to respond really well to criticism.

    March 7, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  9. Jay Shapiro

    Nice try Ricky, but there is no way that Mr. "My-Ego-Is-Bigger-Than-All-Of-Yours-Put-Together" is getting off the soapbox until there are no more primaries. Heck, he's got his sugar daddy, his private jets, his little worshipful stepford wife AND the Secret Service. He knows that he's only got a few more months in the spotlight for the entire rest of his life, so he'll milk it as long as he can. And Newt, President Obama thanks you too!

    March 7, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  10. Peace

    It is all about Super PACs life support to the contenders. All of them have made it up to this stage because of PACs. No any contender should tell the other to quit. Let money sort it out. The Supreme Court decided so.

    March 7, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  11. B

    Santoum will also soon be history and the -best of the Worst, Romney, will take over and waste another 100 million spreading his hate messages about Obama who will make him look like the total fool he is in November.

    March 7, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  12. Malory Archer

    Not a whole lot of fun when someone turns the tables on you is it, lies and nothing but lies?

    March 7, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  13. Nitehawk1950

    Gingrich can't exit. God has told him he must stay in til the bitter end and given him a vision with him sitting in the Oval Office. Its his destiny!

    March 7, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  14. happynurse

    he is just embarrassing himself now, although i hope he stays in for the comedic value

    March 7, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  15. jb1963

    This is all for nothing. Obama will win anyway. I cant believe these four want to spend millions to be the loser in November.

    March 7, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  16. steve

    Santorum can't win the general election,he is to much of a CHURCH FREAK. Paul is just plan crazy and Gringrich is like relative you can't stand and hopes goes away. Can you image seeing him naked my god, plastic Barbie must be blind.

    March 7, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  17. markfromdover

    Drop out? But Sarah supports him..aint that enough?

    March 7, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  18. Davis

    Just unreal that this loser Santorum is in this thing. He got whupped for his senate seat. He can't beat BO. The GOP better wake up.

    March 7, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  19. NVa Native

    The record and facts of President Obama's first term will carry him into his second term.
    And all Americans will watch with pleasure as the GOP bubble-boys will cry and whine as four more years of progress and evolution moves right past them!

    March 7, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  20. Ivan Bial

    no Newt please stay in the race.

    the republicans talk about the fallacy of their Big Tent.
    they may have a tent but it's on loan from Ringling Bros circus and Newt is the ring master. Top hat and all.

    March 7, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  21. jaywing

    "Truth and Nothing But..." You are such a comedian. Once the GOP finally settles on a candidate - if they get a candidate, that person's image will be so damaged and beyond repair that our President will only have to kick the bones of the survivor aside to win. The race for the White House is already over. Obama is a "Secretariat" compared to any of the sloppy "clod-hoppers" the GOP can put on their ticket.

    March 7, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  22. Michael

    Newt drop out ???? By golly he has Sarah's support and must go the distance; no matter how irrational it gets !!!

    March 7, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  23. thinkergal

    All the GOP candidates jokes at best. Who cares who is in or out? Their prime function these days seems to be providing humor for late-night TV–something they are all doing very well.

    March 7, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  24. LBAM

    Let the clown show continue.

    March 7, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  25. Fair is Fair

    "The record and facts of President Obama's first term will carry him into his second term."
    --------
    This gets my nomination for the Rod Serling's Direct from the Twilight Zone Comment Award.

    March 7, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
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