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. Soap

    If the GOP ever wants my vote again, they will have to put someone the likes of Eisenhower on their ticket. He was a true Progressive. They chant about Reagan this, and Reagan that, but Reagan was a Regressive, and every Republican since has been as bad or worse.

    March 7, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  2. Fair is Fair

    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.
    --------
    The very same statement was made in 1980. Ask Jimmy how that turned out.

    March 7, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  3. Dean

    All that matters is that some Republican is going to kick Obama's butt all the way back to the hood.

    March 7, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  4. Kimo

    As a former GOP member, 1st voted for Goldwater m 1964, I am amazed at how the party allowed the NEO-CONS to take over. The last two Republicans, Hagel and Snow finally had enough and called it quits. The current crop makes for funny political theater but nothing else.

    March 7, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  5. pat carr

    Rick, take yourself out of the race as well.

    March 7, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  6. JustMe

    I'm not a fan of Romney's but I see him as the lesser of the scary people and if Obama can't get re-elected I'd rather it be Romney than anybody else. The fact of the matter is the only candidate with a darn dropped out in January – Jon Huntsman.

    March 7, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  7. JustMe

    And if Gingrich can stick around and divide the crazy conservative vote any more and help Romney to the nomination then that is fine by me.

    March 7, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  8. WTF-Maine

    Boy I really like Crazy Harry's comment and it deserves to be restated:

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

    I couldn't have said it any better – Thanks Crazy Harry.

    March 7, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  9. cf

    Can all four of them please drop out?

    March 7, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  10. Luke Brown

    Like it or not, Newt is the only one in the field who has actually done anything in public life that has made a difference to Republicans. The GOP takeover of the House in 1994 and its subsequent conservative agenda was all Newt.

    He's earned the right to stay on. Santorum has the pretty boy looks, but Newt has the substance.

    March 7, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  11. Roger

    Gingrich would make a good president. A couple more states and he would be right back in it.

    March 7, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  12. coy4one

    I think that all the current GOP candidates have every reason in the world to stay in the race! The GOP is a mess and the GOP voters need to decide based on each candidate's value. If it goes to the convention to find out whom, then be it! A united GOP is not going to win the general election anyway until the GOP as a whole stops looking at deep pockets and starts to focus on the American people. Not bull like contraceptives, Obamacare, and those issues. Important....yes! Election-winning issues....no! Jobs, economy, and debt reduction are the only things that will get the country back on their feet. When this happens, then...and only then, can you focus on other issues! The GOP candidates don't get this, and probably will not. They would rather focus on “distraction issues” because they don't have an answer to handling the more important problems facing this country. Remember, it was the GOP that got this country into this mess anyway. That's why they won't win in November!

    March 7, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  13. KSC

    Santorum scares me. He is against birth control. He is against against any gov't regulation. Gov't regulation is the reason seatbelts are mandatory in cars. The reason our air isn't thick and grey, such as it is in unregulated cities like Beijing or Cairo (news flash: putting the onus of "responsibility" on corporations doesn't work). It's also the reason there must be ingredient lists and nutritional labels on the foods we eat. Do people realize how vital gov't regulation is to our living in a safe and clean environment? I guess not.

    March 7, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  14. Bill

    I think it's time for all of the GOP candidates to drop out

    March 7, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  15. V in Chicago

    "Santorum has the pretty boy looks, but Newt has the substance."
    ----

    Are you looking at the same Santorum I am? Not pretty at all. And, Newt has substance all right. All of it is around the middle of him! I will all four of them would drop out, but I agree with a previous poster – Romney is the only chance the GOP has and even he won't be able to beat President Obama.

    March 7, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  16. normajean @ verizon ,com

    For months now I have been listening carefully to each of these candidates and some of it is really scary. Newt is intelegent and right up front with his thinking but can't be trusted!.. Romney seems like a nice guy but isn't presidential because he's too big of a money guy to see the people who need help. Santorum is so arrogant about his misguided religious belieifs that he scares me... I can't really see ANY OF THEM!.. Thank heaven there is one straight forward...hard working person that is making every effort to get this country back on its feet. Whether you like him or not , our presiden Obama is getting our country back into working order. There's a long way to go and he's had NO help from the Republicants but it is working and will continue to do so!!!!

    March 7, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  17. Lolo

    They need to push for all of their GOP candidates to drop out. All they have is Larry, Moe, Curly and Shimp running this year. Whichever candidate's name you want to match with the stooges is okay, because each and everyone of them can fit the profile of either stooge. Wake up America, vote Democrat, because these fools will ruin The United States forever. If you want to go back vote GOP, but if you want to move forward VOTE DEMOCRAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You Betcha.

    March 7, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  18. marty

    It's interesting to watch the interaction between Gingrich and Santorum, especially since, as a Freshman Senator, Santorum was one of Gingrich's proteges in his GOPAC. Newt taught Rick quite a few things, especially the use of code words like failed, snob, and many more when attacking the opposition. These two men are two peas in a pod, neither is worthy of the high office they campaign for.

    March 7, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  19. Steve

    Newt,
    Please stay in the race. The money y'all are spending is helping the economy.

    March 7, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  20. aaron

    anyone who thinks that gingrich or santorum will be good for anything is sorely mistaken. those two could not possibly be any worse for this or any country (except santorum for saudi arabia – that is how strict his religous views are). obama is by far the better choice than any of these fools but i would not care if romney becomes president because things would not change that much at all. no one wants change anyway, if they did Ron Paul would be president.

    March 7, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. Adrienne

    Obama is not "from the Hood" he is from Hawaii. Jesus.

    March 7, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  22. The Real Tom Paine

    Fair, Romney is no Reagan.

    March 7, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  23. Anonymous010

    You might as well ask Rush Limbaugh to stop making inappropriate comments. Gingrich will be the LAST candidate to drop out. Even if he was dead last in delegates and even if he lost Georgia, his ego won't let him quit. He'd probably even demand a recount. Gingrich doesn't care what's best for Republicans and he doesn't care what's best for America. He's in this for him.

    March 7, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  24. Adrienne

    Santorum's mother should have held an aspirin between her knees. Just sayin.

    March 7, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. Name Essie

    I really don't care who the GOP nominee will be...President Obama will be re-elected! He is a great leader & just need the help from a better (Democratic) Congress, then things can start getting done there in Washington! ~I believe the GOP hates Obama because they know he can clean up Washington, and they can't stand for a black man to beat them at their game! OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    March 7, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
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