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. Joe The Plumber

    Ronald Reagan would be the moderate in this race. Reagan would not play duck and cover if asked about Limbaugh – he would have blasted Rush. How did the GOP get soooo far removed from what Reagan stood for?

    March 7, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  2. Randy, San Francisco

    Just say NO, Newt. Keep fighting and running negative ads all the way to the convention. Don't let the GOP/Tea Party establishment dictate your actions.

    March 7, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  3. Joe The Plumber

    He's not getting out – he must settle the score with Romney for the carpet bombing in Iowa.

    March 7, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  4. Ambrose Smith

    B-b-b-b-but he is such a good debater and will out debate Obama! (sarcasm)

    March 7, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  5. Robert

    Santorum,158 delegate /Gingrich,107 delegate and Ron pual,60 delegate , all to gather maybe has as much of the delegate count that Romney has, 404 delegate . so who is winning and Santorum is crying he not winning.

    March 7, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  6. clarke

    AW, Newt just wants to a thorn in everyones side. He is doing a good job and we all have to be good at something.

    March 7, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  7. Fair is Fair

    Hey Santorum... if you do the math, you're going to have to win in the neighborhood of 60% of the remaining delegates to pull out the nomination. It ain't happening. You're a nice guy and all, Rick... but maybe it's time for YOU to get out. Take Newt and Ron Paul with you... mmmmmmkay?

    March 7, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  8. Marcie

    Please Newt, save lives by feeding the hungry and housing the homeless instead of spending your campaign money to run a losing battle!! Perhaps your supporters should get a clue and support a different cause.

    March 7, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  9. Marjee123

    I do believe that if Gingrich and Paul were not in the race Santorum might be even with or maybe ahead of Romney. Didn't they say in an article about a week or so ago that Paul and Romney made a deal so Paul would stay in and take delegates.

    March 7, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  10. Bev

    santorum is not electable i think he should get out

    March 7, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  11. Ferathka

    Nah stay in Newt....I'm enjoying this Farce.

    March 7, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  12. Don

    Gingrich needs to drop out for Santorum to have a chance and make this a real race. His pride is keeping him in.

    March 7, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  13. Data Driven

    Too late, Mr. Roy. Super Tuesday is over, and Romney won Ohio. Ergo, the primary race is over.

    The delicious irony here is that Gingrich truly hates Romney for what Romney did to him in Florida, but by staying in the race, Gingrich has ensured Romney's nomination. Take Gingrich out of the equation last night, and Santorum wins by 5.

    March 7, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  14. Noodle Nose Johnson

    Not once have I heard a cogent argument from the Republicans about why any of their candidates would make a great President. It's always about "beating Obama" and never about what's best for the country. I think that's largely because none of these jokers have a clue or are worth voting for and they know it.

    March 7, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  15. mdpk1

    Rick is unelectable. Get it? do u want OBAMA for next 4 years. Bunch of conservatives have gone mad to go after unelectable candidate. I am one of the conservatives.

    March 7, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  16. Thomas

    NOOOOO!!!! Stay in Newt!

    Comedy gold!!!!

    March 7, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  17. Quercus42

    They should all stay in so we end up with a brokered convention. That surely would be interesting.

    March 7, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  18. Gloria

    Our President Obama is the only sure win! Thank goodness!!

    Obama/Biden 2012

    March 7, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  19. Charlie from the North

    Well Sarah Palin just endorsed him, so it won't be long now.

    March 7, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  20. GotThumbs

    I believe Newt should NOT get out of the race. He should stay in for the long haul. I truly believe he has Leadership abilty that this country needs. I do not subscribe to his religious believe, but I do not think that is a deal breaker, as what the country needs is a leader and not a moral leader. Obama is a nice guy...just as Carter is...but they both can't lead a country. When you get down to the basic requirements of the position....Newt is the guy I think is best. He has REAL ideas about immigration that can be instituted...he has real plans for the economy and a whole lot more. My vote still goes to Newt.

    vote for who you think will be a good leader for the country...not for who's the flavor of the week.

    Best wishes.

    March 7, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  21. asdf

    Surely both Santorum and Newt are unelectable in a general election, but Newt is just standing in the way in the primary. I suspect he's doing this to get back at Santorum for not dropping out back when everyone hadn't yet realized what a jerk Newt is. Either that or he's waiting for someone to agree to put him up for a cabinet position/VP nod. But I doubt he's doing this as some kind of personal vendetta against Romney because Mittens benefits the most by his presence in the race.

    March 7, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  22. phyllis

    This whole bunch is not electable.........they all need to drop out, and go home..........

    I am a Democrat..........so they all are liars, and crazy people to me......

    March 7, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  23. inobetter

    It is unfortunate that the GOP has become synonymous with and is so tied into the Christian Right, that they cannot see beyond their own self-righteous bigotry into the face of a failing USA! Newt is right, pure and simple. He's the one who can tear up Obama in the national debate. Romney's outspend with negative ads strategey is not working now, and most definitely will not work when he goes head to head with a sitting president's war chest in the coming national debate. Santorum is too willing to "Take one for the team" when it's the other team he's taking it for. I'd prefer Ron Paul, but he suffers from the delusion that most American voters are sensible and knowledgeable enough and possess the intestinal fortitude to make the right, rational decisions. He makes too much sense to get elected in what has become an apathetic entitlement society. Newt's "baggage" is all fluff, of real consequence only to those arrogant enough to believe that christian values are what drive our country when, in reality, it is (or at least should be ) human values. Newt is the only one who has the intellectual capacity to debate the fundamental issues of jobs, education, environment and a need to return to a free market society and the playbook to make it happen.

    March 7, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  24. out of step

    It is just funny to think that both these groups think a true conservative could actually win in the general election. Do they want to be known as the candidate that failed by a landslide? Do they want to be remembered along the lines of Modale?

    March 7, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  25. Chris

    Ah, Newtie. That's what you get when you spend all your life pandering to #1.. yourself.. at everyone else's expense. You're left being the only person with that high opinion of yourself – and little else.

    March 7, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
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