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."

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

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. iadadman

    Really dumb to publicly call for him to drop out. If anything it will make him more likely to stick it out longer because Newt is nothing if not overly proud. You want him to drop out you meet with him privately and offer him something or other, the old fashion way. Seriously, I'm not talking about a bribe. Santorum's stupid campaign should be dealing with Newt privately talking about all the great things they'll say about him and what a great political ally Rick will be etc once he drops out. These goper campaigns are so terrible, they don't even know how to play the games right.

    March 7, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  2. timeforchg

    Of course he should leave the race! And so should you, Santorum and Paul! How badly do you have to be losing before you bow out?!

    March 7, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  3. urthat

    Turn out the lights Mr. Newt Gingrich, the party is over. Why not concentrate on your moon colony?

    March 7, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  4. vinny

    This is coming from a conservative so its hard for me to admit, but its over for Newt. He is clearly intelligent, and probably the best candidate to handle the mess we are in. But he is unlikeable and cannot win an election. Independants are not voting for him over Obama because the Democrats will wage a tough campaign painting Gingrich as out of touch and semi insanse. Its Mitt Romney or its nothing.

    March 7, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  5. fandancy

    Please don't leve, Newt. Even though you're just an angry side show, I don't want to see the clown show weakened.

    March 7, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  6. streetdude66

    Newt killed it for the GOP during the 90s with his "get Clinton at all costs" strategy. Hes killing it for them now. Same ol same ol. YAWN

    March 7, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  7. Lindsey

    Gingrich, being many things, is not quite that stupid. He knows, if Santorum haughtily doesn't, that Santorum has ZERO chance of beating Obama. For one thing, Independents and women will flee from Santorum in droves in a general. Not to mention Catholics, who ran from him in double digits in Ohio, despite his also being a Catholic, albeit an ultra-conservative Opus Dei kook who wants to transport the country back to the 14th century with himself being the Grand Inquisitor.

    March 7, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  8. Debra Parman

    I voted for Gingrich and wish he could have gotten the nominee for the GOP but he didn't and it is now time for him to give it up.

    March 7, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  9. hawksteel

    It is delusional for Santoum to assume all of Newt's supporters will switch to him should Newt drop out. Santorum's support is basically from the religous bigots. He is no fiscal conservative, known for earmarks and voting for lifting the debt celings multiple times. Newt's supporters like Newt because he has track record being fiscal conservative in congress. He is also experienced as a leader. They also think Newt can debate Obama well. Santorum was vetted badly in the Arizona debate. He was apologetic most of the night, being called fake by Ron Paul and couldn't defend himself.Obama will roast him with his baggages of extreme positions. Romney will make Obama want to hide in a debate on economy, jobs, and deficit. Romney is also well experienced with success records in business, creating jobs, rescuing the Olympics, as well as balancing the budget of MA. These are things Newt's supporters want and Santorum has none. Romney should get most of these supporters. After all, they want a fiscal conservate with great debate skill and with great experience to remove Obama & turn around the country.

    March 7, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    I really don't care which of the GOP candidates win as along as they can find a way to beat Obama. With that being said, Santorum, in spite of his performace, seems the least qualified and capable of running our country. Newt is old school Washington, but has a great mentor. Romney, while conisdered a moderate, would fix the economy. Paul would just make for a good laugh for the next four years. Santorum needs to find his place on PBS as the new Mr. Rogers.

    March 7, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  11. Data Driven

    @Bob,

    I was disagreeing with a conservative poster here. Context would clearly demonstrate I'm a liberal. Reading comprehension: get into it, bub. In any case, what does likability have to do with competence? Reagan and Dubya were both lousy presidents, in my judgment, but to deny their personal likability is just hackery.

    @Fair is Fair,

    I disagree, but fair enough. We'll see how it unfolds.

    March 7, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  12. Stacey

    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.
    -------------------------------------

    LOL! Blacks, Latinos, Women and Gays all outnumber the so-called supporters with buyer's remorse. We know that Romney will only make things much worse for America, starting with the bombing of Iran. Obama will win re-election. It will be close, but he will win just the same. The GOP has alienated far too many Americans, and the GOP will pay dearly for attacking women and minorities. Just wait and see!

    March 7, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  13. noelle

    NEWT AND RICK BOTH NEED TO GET THE HECK OUT OF THIS RACE!
    And so does Mitt!
    RON PAUL NEEDS TO WIN THIS WHOLE THING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 7, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  14. noelle

    NEWT & RICK BOTH NEED to get out of this race And so does Mitt!
    RON PAUL NEEDS TO WIN THIS WHOLE THING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 7, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  15. PTBarnumboy

    I'm hoping The Newster stays in till the bitter end. I think his presence has been good for my mental health as I find myself continually LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 7, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  16. K3Citizen

    Maybe Sarah Palin can give these guys advice on how to be really good quitters.

    March 7, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  17. jack johnson

    Dosen't Newt have more delagates than Santorum?

    March 7, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  18. kevin

    Santorum knows that he can,t win the nomination. The only reason he wants Gingrich out is to get as much delegates as possible and sell them on the convention to Romney in exchange for VP. But so wants Gingrich. So neither of them are going to quit

    March 7, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  19. FRANK - LAS VEGAS

    In reality both little Ricky and Newty should drop out but please don't. The clown show is so great with everyone still in the race, in fact I'd like to see Perry and Cain come back too, now that was a real show of shows! Heck, lets even invite Bachmann back in, she was by far the best comedian of the bunch.

    March 7, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  20. Stan

    But what about the book that he's going to write? You know he's taking notes for his next book and all his campaign rhetoric would make great book chapters. Listen to him.

    March 7, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  21. TC

    noelle you are so wrong Ron Paul doesn't stand a chance I would be very scared if he won this man is out of touch and lives in the pass in which we are no longer in. Vote for Rick!!!!!!!

    March 7, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  22. You'd like that

    But... the GOP has more self-inflicted wounds to deliver. How anyone could support any of them is unknown, but you all keep it up.

    March 7, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  23. Perry P.

    What a wuss statement.... I dont like either of them but, looking at the delegate count, Gingrich isnt that far behind Santorum. I find it unlikely anyway that Gingrich supporters would flock to Santorum...

    March 7, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  24. Perry P.

    Ron Paul = Don Quixote. Time to give up, Paulbots.....

    March 7, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  25. Mike

    You know what, if it wasn't for the fact that half of all Americans are not well educated and, like Sarah Palin, don't read newspapers, there would be no Republican Party. Why do you think Rick Santorum doesn't want kids to go to college and wants them home-schooled? It is called "brain washing" and you can't do that to people with a brain.

    March 7, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11