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. chief

    santorum / kirk cameron 2012 ... at the end newt will have more votes than santorum

    March 7, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  2. indyreader

    Rick isn't Presidential material. He isn't Vice-Presidential, either. Heck, he's not parking-garage-attendant-ial. Stay in your church, Ricky. Newt – I know you're not technically stupid, as measured by IQ, but you're sure believing in a big stupid lot of stupidity by continuing your stupid campaign. Romney – I don't know what to believe out of all the mass of indefinite things that come out of your mouth. Ron Paul – you're like an uncle. An admittedly batty one, who I would generally like, but who I also probably wouldn't seriously vote for. Any one of yez – when you tote up the issues and the experience and the platforms and the plans and the *real* efforts to get the economy pumped up further and to govern for EVERYone, not just the mob,... sorry, Obama's still ahead.

    March 7, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  3. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    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.
    ====================================================================

    Gets my vote too. Romney and the RNC should have a treasure trove of Obama video and sound from the last 3 years. From it they shoul dbe able to construct a great collage of Obama in his own words and deeds (usually in direction contradiction). Mr I-Vote-Present now has a record of failure and broken promises made worse by his massive spending and debt.

    March 7, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  4. jay

    Mitt is the only one with a shot to beat obama, however small it may be. The republican party really shat out some crappy candidates this time around...

    March 7, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  5. GonzoinHouston

    Newt will stay in and sweep most of the southern states, then head to the convention and Make A Deal. Even if Romney clinches the nomination before the convention, there is still plenty for Newt to gain in the back rooms. And if he doesn't get a good enough deal, he can go back to those states, which are all red, and use his influence to divide the party, thereby sinking Romney. Payback, as the saying goes,,,,,,

    March 7, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  6. Norm

    Seriously...the amount of money these people are wasting on these non-electable candidates.
    This really shows the 1% have so much money they don't know what to do with it.
    Did you hear?
    Mrs.Romney doesn't consider herself "wealthy".
    How out of touch are these clowns.

    March 7, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  7. DoubeW

    No, no, let Gingrich stay in the race! And invite Sarah to join in! And Alf Landon! And Judge Crater! Let's have more clowns to this dog-and-pony show, not less! The longer they keep denouncing and backstabbing each other, the better it is for all the rest of us!

    March 7, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  8. mannycl

    That's Gingrich choice and right to stay in the race. However should Santorum win the nomination then the Obama will win handily. I am Republican and wouldn't vote for a right winger religious wacko that only represent the worst of our party.

    March 7, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  9. Jake

    but he won TWO WHOLE STATES! and Sarah Palin endorsed him!

    March 7, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  10. WHO AND WHEN......

    It is up to the Voters to decide who and when a Candidate should drop-out...so far half the States are yet to hold their primaries....democracy before anything else......we urge Newt to be steadfast and forge ahead.....!

    March 7, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  11. J

    Santorum would have only won Ohio with Gingrich AND Ron Paul out of the race. Learn to do the math Ricky.

    March 7, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  12. trick

    All CNN commentator they get pay TO BE BIAS 150% negative AGAIN ROMNEY because Obama tell them what to do. what ashamed even FOX nothing different look like they r closet bigotry thats make us wanna vomit so bias unbelievable.

    CNN was awful in their coverage of Mitt Romney. The Women on CNN need to go EVEN SOME MAN too . They were just terrible and a lot of us CNN watchers were very upset with the coverage, It went beyond Bias.

    March 7, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  13. Nitehawk1950

    I believe Santorum already knows he can't possibly win the nomination but will continue to annoy the American people with his self-centered arrogance. He probably is thinking about all the money he stands to make on the Christian Conservative circuit so it would behoove him to stay in the political spotlight as long as possible. Monetary Greed and Religous Intolerance of anyone who differes from the status quo, two traits that have come to represent the true Conservative position in this country. The GOP can hardlyfind agreement within their own ranks much less with anyone of an idependant or democratic mindset. How do they honestly think they can lead or even serve this country with those traits.

    March 7, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  14. Joshua Ludd

    Aww, but if Gingrich drops out it will silence the voice of his billionaire in the political process, which as we all know is what is really important and vital to democracy... spending by billionaires with no regard for how the majority of voters feel.

    March 7, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  15. nru

    All good democrats should support this and vote for Rick in their caucus/primary elections. Easy candidate for Obama to whup

    March 7, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  16. Big B

    Newt will not sweep Southern States!! Rick will win KS also... Newt put that pride in a box and exit. Funny thing is that people want to attack Rick on his social beliefs but Obama stands for nothing. Obama can not say one thing he has done for America in the last 3 years. Romney is just a white Obama and will never get conservatives to follow him.

    March 7, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  17. 4 More Years!!!

    Hey "Truth and Nothing But the Truth"!!! You've gone dizzy from all the spinning!!! Obama's campaign marketing people will have a field day shredding Mittens with all the fodder he has generated by simply opening his mouth!!!

    March 7, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  18. Greg

    Palin just endorsed Gingrich. That proves he's really out of step with us "real Americans!"

    March 7, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  19. paul

    Listening to Newt's speech last night in Ga. you would think he is a shoo in for winning the primary. According to him and the 100 or so that showed for his victory celebration, he is the only one with any ideas and after everyone has counted him out, he will win.

    March 7, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  20. MEL

    the ppp poll was almost 100% accurate,but the rasmussen poll was way off,it only shows you how the rassmussen poll is a flat out outliar.

    March 7, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  21. KC Yankee

    If Newt has Herman Cain's endorsement AND Sara Palin's what more could the electorate need? He's toast all right, but he's just the kind of guy that would enjoy wreaking a lot of havoc all across the South piling up the ignorant vote. After all, it will help him sell books.

    March 7, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  22. idealistic in NM

    Sorry guys, none of you will be beating Obama in November. Obama is vulnerable, but this GOP crowd has no chance to beat him.

    March 7, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  23. Crazy Harry

    Maybe they all should exit and apologize to the country for thinking any of them could/should be president.

    March 7, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  24. billy

    Yep it is time for Newt to pack it in as he is just muddying the water now with ZERO chance!

    March 7, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  25. Senor Ed

    I wonder what Newt is getting to stay in the race? I'm pretty sure the Republicon establishment would much rather have Mittens win.

    March 7, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
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