Santorum: Would vote for Obama ‘over my dead body’
March 23rd, 2012
05:55 PM ET
2 years ago

Santorum: Would vote for Obama ‘over my dead body’

(CNN) – Rick Santorum lamented Friday that his now-controversial words were distorted when he said the previous day Americans "may as well" stick with President Barack Obama this fall than take a "risk" electing Republican rival Mitt Romney.

“Over my dead body would I vote for Barack Obama,” he said when campaigning in Pineville, La.

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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" with Romney.

Santorum argued that when he used the word "we" in his comment, he was referring to the general public. But he said people mistook his remark to mean that he personally would vote for Obama over Romney.

"No, I was saying the people may not vote for someone they don't see as different," Santorum said.

Santorum's rivals quickly seized on his comment Thursday, characterizing it as a major gaffe for the candidate.

Romney's team, for example, accused Santorum of caring more about himself than the country.

“Everyone knows full well my passion about defeating Barack Obama,” he said on Friday. “And yet we see this ridiculous canard that is trying to be perpetrated by the Romney campaign, that somehow or another I would vote for Barack Obama.”

Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich's campaign sent a letter to the Republican National Committee requesting the party chairman urge all GOP presidential candidates pledge to back the eventual nominee.

Pushing back, the former Pennsylvania senator released a statement earlier Friday saying he would "never" vote for Obama.

He described the uproar over his comment as “absurd,” "laughable," and a "made-up story" in a Friday afternoon phone interview with Fox News.

- CNN Political Reporter Shannon Travis contributed to this report.

Also see:

Romney primary tactics insufficient for general election, Gingrich says

Romney pens op-ed to mark 'Obamacare' anniversary

Santorum doesn't let up on Etch A Sketch attack

DeMint calls for GOP assessment of race, praises Romney


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama • Rick Santorum
soundoff (139 Responses)
  1. Justin

    Santorum is a tool. Shut your yapper already you hick.

    March 24, 2012 04:17 am at 4:17 am |
  2. tokencode

    Look at the weasel back-track..... I think 90% of the US would rather have Omomma than Iyatolla Santorum

    March 24, 2012 04:21 am at 4:21 am |
  3. very disappointed

    please bow out and take the other two candidates with you. you are all damaging the cause and giving Obama an advantage.

    March 24, 2012 05:18 am at 5:18 am |
  4. Scott

    But perhaps, like the advisor to the McCain/Palin campaign, you would find your own candidate so unpalatable that you couldn't vote at all.

    March 24, 2012 05:18 am at 5:18 am |
  5. AZWarrior

    Rick, like all far right religious zealots, folds up like a bad burrito under pressure. He is not to be trusted with the nuclear button. He might just think God wants him to use it.

    March 24, 2012 05:44 am at 5:44 am |
  6. Jerry

    "Rick Santorum lamented Friday that his now-controversial words were distorted when he said the previous day Americans "may as well" stick with President Barack Obama this fall than take a "risk" electing Republican rival Mitt Romney."

    But, that is exactly what he said. This man is the REAL RINO. His comments are "brownie" points for our clueless/misguided/divisive president. I am shocked that some Republicans are still supporting his presidential bid.

    FYI. This comment is coming from a life-long Democrat.

    March 24, 2012 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  7. Ron Russell

    Poor little Ricky!. No one recognizes his genius so all he can can do is cast aspersions at his opponenets – equate them with Obama – be the spolied little catholic kid he always was. Lash out at all us plebians and denigrate all his oppponents. He isn't even a man yet – just a spoiled little boy who isn't getting his way. That's why they dumped him in PA as Senator. If he ever grows up he may amount to something – not President – but something. Maybe Mayor of Pittsburg.

    March 24, 2012 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  8. Oscar

    "over my dead body"? I suspect Chicago will have quite a few dead bodies voting for Obama (again) this year.

    March 24, 2012 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  9. Jim

    Yeah, I kind of took it to mean that Rick would vote for Obama instead of Romney. It was pretty clear that he was agreeing with what he thought the American would do if Romney were the Nominee. It was poorly thought out, clearly his passion was misdirected at the time. You need to think before you speak. Or use a teleprompter... When this process first started, everyone was fairly amicable, it has spiraled into a personal vendetta for Newt and Rick. I share most of their politics, but I dont share their vitriol for Romney. I just think that gaffes like this (and it was clearly a gaffe) are borne out of frustration. Rick is clearly irritated – or at least that is how he is being portrayed, Like he is some kind of victim. We dont need that, we need a leader, not one who is acting as if he is under seige. I hope good people will pull together. I didnt start out for Mitt, but he has won the day, and he, like Rick, Newt, Michelle, Ron, Herman... wereare all very decent and wonderful people. I was excited when we started out with all these great candidates, now we are at each others throats. its getting to be time where we either stand up and fight this presidentcurrent occupier of the white house with all our might, or take our toys and go home. I for one, will be fighting the REAL enemy. The Marxist Obama. Dont go telling me that Romney is a Marxist. That is just a childish rant.

    March 24, 2012 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  10. Jim in Georgia

    The only way "people" wouldn't see there was a difference between Obama and Ritt Money would be if they were blind as Steve Wonder...

    March 24, 2012 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  11. Auntie Rose from Iowa

    Mr Santorum said what was reported -– he now tries to say it was distorted by the Romney campaign. The only distortin here is in Santroum's childish boorish behavior -– Mr Santorum should leave the race before he completely ends his career in public service. Rumors in PA are circulating in PA that when Santorum loses the nomination, he will announce he is switching parties and will run as a Democratic candidate in 2016.

    March 24, 2012 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  12. GOP Observer

    Santorum is going to follow in Arlen Spector's footsteps and switch parties -–he can then go play with his etch a sketch toy with the real chameleon in DC - President (I'll never raise the debt limit) Obama

    March 24, 2012 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  13. Andrew

    Ya know...this double talkin' lyin' POS can't even act like a man and admit he screwed up...Now he complains the media twisted his words?? He blames everybody for his own stupidity and lack of character. Just like all religious whackos..They point the finger and accuse anybody of their own sins and yet are so transparant in their lies and actions..pathetic morons.

    March 24, 2012 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  14. makemydaypunk

    Santorum needs to get-out of this nomination process – because Mitt Romney WILL be the GOP nominee!! Case closed!!! Santorum and Gingrich are both becoming an embarrassment to the Republican party!!

    March 24, 2012 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
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