(CNN) – Newt Gingrich is not backing down on rival Rick Santorum, who sparked controversy when he said the country might be better off with President Barack Obama in a second term than with Mitt Romney as president.
In a not-so-veiled swipe at Santorum Friday, Gingrich's chief of staff, Patrick Millsaps, issued a letter to the Republican National Committee, urging its chairman to ask all GOP presidential candidates to pledge their support for the eventual Republican nominee.
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"It is imperative that Republicans unite once the nomination process is complete in order to defeat President Obama. We cannot afford four more years of his leadership," Millsaps said.
Santorum's original comment came Thursday in a San Antonio speech, in which the candidate said Obama and Romney had so few differences that "we may as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk in what may be the Etch A Sketch candidate for the future."
Romney's campaign quickly hit back against the comment, sending out a statement condemning the remark.
"I was disappointed to hear that Rick Santorum would rather have Barack Obama as president than a Republican," Romney said in the statement. "This election is more important than any one person."
On Friday, the former Pennsylvania senator asserted he would "never" vote for Obama over any Republican and to suggest otherwise would be "preposterous."
"I was simply making the point that there is a huge enthusiasm gap around Mitt Romney and it's easy to see why – Romney has sided with Obama on healthcare mandates, cap-and-trade, and the Wall Street bailouts," Santorum said in a statement.
Despite Santorum's statement, Gingrich's campaign continued to keep the remark in the spotlight with its letter to the RNC on Friday.
"Republicans must not lose sight of our ultimate goal in 2012: defeating President Obama in November," the letter stated.
"While we may disagree on which candidate will be the strongest opponent to the President in the general election, we can agree that any of the current Republican candidates would be a better president than Barack Obama."
– CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley contributed to this report.
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What's he gonna do if they don't? Debate them to death? Lie about them? Promise the moon and 2.50 gasoline?
OOPS – he's already done those things. Does he think he can dictate to or coerce almost half the country? ha ha ha ha ha
By the way – I like Calista's hair better that way – combed over her face.
Me to, if Romney gets nominated , I too will vote for Obama. Romney is PLASTIC, FAKE, NOT REAL, LOOKS LIKE HE TALKING THROUGH GLASS, OR TALKING TO A MIRROR, EVEN SOUNDS FAKEY. We are in bad shape folks. artemus
Santorum wasn't really suggesting anyone vote for Obama. He was just suggesting that a vote for Romney was equivalent to a vote for Obama. He said he'd never vote for Obama, and if you're following along with this game, he's really saying he'd never vote for Romney.
The other comment was right also, he is not for any middle class, just money hungry , more he gets the more he wants. He changes things every week , more than Obama ever thought about needing change, we do not need Romney, please vote for someone else.
Who does Gingrich think he is ???? This man's ego is almost as big as his wife's hair style !!!! They are both lacquered to death.
It is so sad to see such a really sad group of four posing as Whitehouse contenders. There is not one of them who has the intelligence to become head of an iceburg no matter the USA. Romney is under the impression that Bush was the one who actually brought the country out of its economic downfall. Gee – was this man asleep when Bush was doing his dirty work??? Yes he should stick to his etch a sketch and maybe get one each for the other contenders!!!!
Gringrich... if you want the GOP to unite, get out of the race now and fully endorse and back up Mitt Romney calling for GOP across the board – liberaterian, moderate, strong "conservatives" to accept and rally around their nominee Mitt Romney. The GOP and you – Gingrich – need to unite with one nominee and one positive message with one goal – to beat Obama. How can you call for the GOP to unite when you yourself can't rally around and support your nominee.
To: Newt Gingrich
From: A GOP Voter
If the GOP fields a candidate who I believe is better for the country than Barack Obama, I will vote for that candidate. But I will not vote for a candidate simply because that person is a Republican. The current choice of Republican candidates is not demonstratably better for the country than the guy who is running it now. So the GOP better do something, and do it quick or they will lose my vote ... and that's a promise.
All the GOPers say that the media is twisting their words. So, when he says NOT to vote for Obama, he really means VOTE for Obama. I think I finally understand now.
Sir – Yes sir! Newter Gangrene, I will be voting for Obama. – OBAMA 2012!
America already knows who they will not vote for,and if you don't already know NEWT that individual is you.Unless the GOP comes up with someone other than the preent choices you folks better star looking at 2020, maybe 2024 0r 2028 if Hillary runs or becomes the Vice president for Obama, you may never ever have another GOP President.
How many "pledges" are on the Repub/Tea agenda? This must be #999. With so many pledges coming out of this
zoo, who has time for the "Pledge of Allegiance"?
I will gladly vote for President Obama and encourage everyone that I know to do the same, over any of these guys. I would have to be insane to even consider voting Republican this year.
Nick, we would have been in a full blown depression if McCain had been elected, not a doubt in my mind about that. After all, weren't the fundamentals sound around the election last time? I thought so.
Here is what we have in the 2012 election:
Romney – a man on every side of every issue. Does he still understand who he is?
Santorum – a religious fanatic that would set women's rights back 50 years. He should run for Pope.
Newt – once was Republican speaker and his own members kicked him out for dishonest activities. A true family
man now married to wifey #3. Screamed about the housing market fall while taking hundreds of thousands
from Freddie as a "historian." Brother!!
Ron Paul – Everyones kind of crazy uncle.
Barack Obama – intelligent, educated and a caring human being. The ONLY choice in November.
Note: Early in the campaign, the R's had perhaps a winning candidate – Jon Huntsman. However he
was not crazy enough for the religious fanatics and the Tea Party and dropped out. This was
a total case of the Republicans shooting themselves in the foot.
President Obama is the best Republican President since Ike.
the only thing romney knows about the middle class is there are to many of them on the highways slowing him down
Sorry Newt. Obama is the only sane one in the bunch!!!!!!!!!!
I, too, promise to vote Obama/Biden and a straight Democratic ticket.
And I suggest all Dems, Independents and thinking Republicans do the same. Unless, of course, you want to go back to the failed policies that got us into this mess in the first place!
I think all GOP voters should make this promise to Newt – and keep it as well as he kept his first two marriage vows ...
So Newt wants all republicans to be like Rick and cast a "team"vote instead of for our convictions. Well I for one will not vote republican again until the GOP decides to tell Grover to get lost snd agrees to collect taxes to pay for the wars and their medicare drug plan from those who can best afford to pay. Romney's tax rate on $250 million = 13%, really? thats fair?
7 republicans at my office are voting for President Obama in this election again!