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. Bob

    "Baloney over Obama winning the election"

    Wish in one hand and pee in the other, bub. All but the hard-core stupid are on to the Repukes.

    March 7, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  2. WachetAuf

    Too bad. With Mr. Gingrich's departure, we all may eventually find reason to wonder "what might have been". Mr. Gingrich is far more capable than any other GOP candidate. Neither he nor Mr. Clinton should have been shunned because of their human frailties.

    March 7, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  3. Bob

    "they warmed to him because he was fundamentally likable"

    Just another role he played. He ratted out his fellow actors during the Red Scare. That is not a sign of integrit, niehter was his back door dealings with Iran over the hostages, or his backing of death squads in Central America, or any of his other many crimes and corruptions.

    In other words, Raygun was a pretty piece of trash you people want to worhsip as though he were god.

    Get over it.

    March 7, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  4. Marie MD

    Run sanatorium you will have the wrath of what's her name in AK come down on you. How dare you tell tubby boy he is not worthy of staying in the clown race. Your record is worse than his in congress and we know how well that ended for the newterman.
    @soured, buyer's remorse? Economy is doing better, parents an keep their college age kids in their insurance and, oh yes, he send the Seals to finally kill bin laden. Something the tea baggers still can't swallow (pun intended-think about it)

    March 7, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  5. Ricky Chuter

    Drop yes! Cede to Rick? NO. He should throw all his support to the only real conservative Ron Paul.

    March 7, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  6. Taran

    @Adrienne, Obama was "born" in Hawaii, but lives/is from Chicago (he was senator from illinois before being president and there are resident requirements for senators). And Chicago is full of "hoods."

    March 7, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  7. scmom

    Santorum keeps talking about Satan, just think about it, Satan will be in a disguise so you won't know who he is. Keep watching Mr. Santorum and you will know where he is and who he is.

    March 7, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  8. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Sounds fair. Seeing as how Gingrich called for everyone else to quit before the first Primary or Caucus was held. At least Rick waited until he actually won some delegates before asking Newt to quit.

    March 7, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  9. Wylie-Mike

    If Newt voters won't be going to Santorum, then perhaps Santourm should want him to stay in the race to keep Romeny from getting enough delegates for a clear nomination.

    March 7, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  10. Thomas

    Skippy, you and all of the far right christians in the republican party should just admit you are bigots and move on.

    March 7, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  11. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    I wish they would both drop out.

    March 7, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  12. Gotta Love It

    The only way the Grinch is getting out is if he runs out of money. If he runs out of money Romney will finance his campaign. If Romney runs short of cash, the DNC would probably kick in some, to keep him in.

    March 7, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  13. Mmoore

    It's funny to recall how, when Gingrich was leading in the polls and suggested Santorum should drop out, how offended and angry Santorum was. Sorry Rick, you can't have it both ways. I hope Newt stays in. He'd make a far better leader than Santorum

    March 7, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  14. Robert

    PLEASE keep Gingrich in the race! He will continue to bleed votes away from Santorum and allow Romney to win. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE keep Gingrich in the race!!!!!

    March 7, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  15. Captain Obvious

    The Santorum camp are such Whiners. Go figure as their candidate is the biggest Whinner of them all.

    March 7, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  16. LawrenceAZ

    Santorum aid, "If everyone else dropped out, Rick would have a great chance of getting a majority of the vote."

    ............nah, not even if everybody dropped out! lol!

    March 7, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  17. Fair is Fair

    @ Data Driven –

    I guess the point I was trying to make is that in 1980, we didn't have the benefit of hindsight that we now have regarding Reagain. Agreed, I could have chosen better words.

    HOWEVER... I've said this beaucoup times – Americans vote with their pocketbooks. And right now, that doesn't bode well for Obama. That was the paralell I was trying to make between the two.

    March 7, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  18. Captain Obvious

    Rick needs to stop whinning, like he always does, and try to win the GOP nod on his own merits. At this point in the game, Rick has no one else to blame other than his failure as a campaign manager and leader.

    March 7, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  19. Captain Obvious

    Rick needs to stop complaining, like he always does, and try to win the GOP nod on his own merits. At this point in the game, Rick has no one else to blame other than his failure as a campaign manager and leader.

    March 7, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  20. Captain Obvious

    Santorum needs to win the GOP on his own merits. At this point in the game, Rick has no one else to blame other than his failure as a campaign manager and leader.

    March 7, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  21. Foreverwar

    His exit from the country would be even better.

    March 7, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  22. Jimmy

    Rick Santorum may be the the biggest dbag to ever step into politics in a land full of the biggest dbags known to man, that is pretty dbagish.

    March 7, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  23. Terry

    Actually, it is the GOP Leadership that is begging Gingrich to stay in the race. If it comes down to Romney and Santorum, Romney is in really deep trouble. So, Gingrich stays in, unless Santorum offers to pay Gingrich's Tiffany's Bill.

    March 7, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  24. John H.

    At least Gingrich as won a state. Ron Paul is the one that needs to drop. The man is a joke that can't face reality that the majority don't want him in office.

    March 7, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  25. maggie

    That's really funny. Don't you think he knows what his chances are for nomination? when this is over, he has books to write and more $60,000 speeches to give. Until then, he has many months to make the establishment squirm and tar the daylights out of Santorum and Romney while enjoying himself every step of the way.

    March 7, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
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