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. Limbaugh is a liberal

    I love the combination of articles: Palin endorses Gngrich... Gingrich asked to quit. LOL

    March 7, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  2. Sharad

    ok. Such shamelessly they expect evangelicals vote for Santorum and non-evangelicals for Romney. Do character, record, policies matter? You can put any phony conservative in place of Santorum and get the votes. This is NOT democracy.

    March 7, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  3. Cynthia

    The facts are very clear. Obama will win decisively against Santorum or Romney. Look at the state polls and you can see this for yourself. He is leading before he haas even campaigned.

    March 7, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  4. ja

    don't you think mitt feel the same about rick

    March 7, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  5. Lee

    Stuart Roy just gave Newt the punch to his ego that will demand he stay in. I like Newt in the process. He is like a cannon ball bouncing down the column of invading red coats.

    March 7, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  6. Cindy

    Gingrich and Paul need to drop out. They are a prime example of politicians only thinking of themselves. It's fracturing the Republican party. Let Santorum and Romney duke it out and lets see who the people, in support of the Republican party, want as their representative. We need to beat Obama before he destroys this country.

    March 7, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  7. WTF-Maine

    Maybe Newt is getting something from Mitt to stay in? Maybe Yes or Maybe Yes!

    March 7, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  8. Cindy

    Gingrich and Paul need to drop out. They are a prime example of politicians only thinking of themselves. It's fracturing the Republican party. Let Santorum and Romney duke it out and lets see who the people, in support of the Republican party, want as their representative

    March 7, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  9. Ron Paul 2012

    The only one making any sense is Paul. None of the others can beat Obama. None of the others will get my vote. So I guess we will be seeing more years with Obama. Most people are too scared to stand on their true beliefs because of what the media feeds them. I on the other hand am not. And for the record Romney is not the lesser of the evils. He is worse. I'm not knocking his fortune. I could care less. It's his values and morals I'm knocking. This country is doomed. This is our last chance to get it right and restore America, but we americans are too blind to fix it. Let's see what show is on the tv or which celebrity killed themselves today but oh who cares about politics. I commend everyone on their beliefs and who they think is the best candidate. Thanks for doing your part and paying attention to how your world is run. I'm not knocking your choice in candidate so don't knock mine.

    March 7, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  10. SuperD

    Baloney over Obama winning the election. Do you not realize he's got millions of voters with "Buyers Remorse"

    He's not getting those votes back. Once it's him and the Republican nominee, watch those polls swing big time.

    March 7, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  11. aaron

    Santorum and Gingrich are both loons, but Gingrich as much right to keep running as Santorum does. It's the same old story as always in the U.S. Santorum's Super PAC has the most money, so the rich are calling the shots. Since they don't have to disclose who's providing the money for the PAC, best guess is the billionaire Koch brothers as usual.

    March 7, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  12. yogi

    And then Santorum may exit, next Romney. Paul? I thought he was already outside. Wish we could go fast forward with this freak show. This really is a severe test to Democratic endurance.
    Obama 2012.

    March 7, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  13. JC

    Gingrich is a buffoon of wide reknown. Even republicans are too smart to jump on his bandwagon.

    March 7, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  14. The Real Tom Paine

    What for, SuperD? Romney has bigger negatives than any other major party nominee at this point in the nominating process, and there is no passion for him. I noticed you would not name him as the man to do the job, just an unnamed Republican nominee.

    March 7, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  15. Tanker

    It says a great deal about how shallow and corrupt the "Social Conservatives" are that Gingrich could even get a share of their vote...

    March 7, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  16. Fair is Fair

    The Real Tom Paine

    Fair, Romney is no Reagan.
    ------
    Tom... we didn't really know who Reagan was or what his presidency would be like at the time, did we?

    March 7, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  17. Bill

    His blustering hubris and promises made to his backers prevent him dropping out without some sort of fanfare or incident. He is simply a spoiler right now without hope of achieving anything constructive for the GOP. I'm surprised Pribus hasn't had a little "sit down" with him by now. Same goes for Paul, but he's more of an avuncular tag-along for that whacko "little house on the prairie" group and has little impact on anything serious.

    March 7, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  18. Zenfire

    Rick Santorum is not the guy to lead this nation to better things. He doesn’t have the experience and knows very little about the economy. Truly, he is a rookie. We can’t afford another rookie in the highest office in the land. We need someone who has been tested in his leadership skills and abilities. That person is not Rick Santorum. If you think about this, you know this to be true.

    March 7, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  19. roscoe

    Maybe Rick should make a back room deal to make Newt his VP if he can win.

    March 7, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  20. skippy1071

    70% of GOP has made it clear that they don't want a nominee like Romney. It's time for Mittens to drop out!

    March 7, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  21. ibuk

    with someone as dumb as Palin backing him, he is doomed and may as well give up now. I wonder if the other candidates told Palin to keep her mouth shut about them.

    March 7, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  22. Paul1st

    Step up and win the nomination on your own merits, Rick. Telling Newt to get out of the race is a blatant attempt to dummy down the competition.

    March 7, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  23. Data Driven

    @Fair,

    We knew who Reagan was. He was a well-known actor before getting into politics. He gave a famous speech at the Goldwater convention in 64. He was a consequential California governor. He ran for President in 76.

    I grant you that we didn't know what a Reagan Presidency would look like. But to say America didn't know who Reagan was is disingenuous. Even if Americans were wary of Reagan's right-wing policies, they warmed to him because he was fundamentally likable, while Carter was a downer.

    Romney is not likable, and say whatever you will about Obama's policies, but Obama is not a downer.

    March 7, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  24. kamila

    santorum, palin or gingrich-- no good folkS. Don't make one more mistake. Elect Romini. We can't offord 4 more years of Obama. He will have no responsibility, no say, do nothing. we need to move forward.

    March 7, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  25. james - St. Paul, MN

    Sadly, Mr. Santorum is at least as narcissistic and untrustworthy as Mr. Gingrich. Neither is qualified to be President, so it really makes no difference whether one or both drop out. America will do just fine without either one of these men.

    March 7, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
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