Santorum: Would vote for Obama ‘over my dead body’
March 23rd, 2012
05:55 PM ET
3 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. Malory Archer

    According to the article Santorums rivals circulated the story about the comment, but you KNOW that the usual suspects will flock to this message board to blame and bash the "libruls" and the White House.

    March 23, 2012 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Remember that big insurance and the Kochs have spent over $200 million to overturn affordable health care.

    March 23, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  3. Four and The Door

    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.
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________
    Is Rick Santorum not used to talking in Public yet? This was reckless and stupid. Rick? Go home now. Nice run, but it's time to go home.

    March 23, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  4. concerned citizen

    Santorum's reaction is exactly what tells us he is simply not a presidential or any other serious leadership material. His reaction is very different from Romney's (and even Gingrich's) reaction when it comes to how to deal with gaffes. I don't recall Romney got heated, using the words like "laughable," etc.

    I really liked Santorum early this month regarding the way he handled losses at NH and NC and he cared about his daughter. The only, and critical, problem that hinder Santorum is his temper.

    March 23, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  5. Thomas

    Most old school fiscal conservative educated republicans will vote for Obama .

    I wouldn't be surprised if Reagan was still alive he would as well.

    He was a realest and a kind person .

    March 23, 2012 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  6. B

    Santorum is kind of " Etch a sketch " as Romney is, just start over with comments made before and say- this is what I really meant to say....

    March 23, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  7. Igot Tu

    O Boy loses by 6-8 points regardless of WHO the nominee is.

    Even a trained MONKEY would win (O boy has proved that an untrained monkey is not fit for the office).

    March 23, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  8. True to People

    Santorum, Santorum. It's funny how you liked jumping on the words of Romney's advisor with the lame attempt at the Etch-A-Sketch attack, but suddenly it's not so fun when someone takes your words and paints a picture as well. Bottom line: Don't be a hypocrite and you won't get yourself into these messes. Look at substantive policies and not one-liners.

    March 23, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  9. stevetall

    And who would know more about made-up stories than Rick Santorum and Fox News? Two peas in the same rotten pod.

    March 23, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  10. Dennis

    This is one conservative independent that will never vote for Rick Santorum...................... Everyone is looking for a someone who agrees with them on very issue. That person doesn't exist!!! I am looking for someone who understands what it takes to make a payroll, what it takes to make the private sector viable. I am looking for someone who can show the American People how to make a living not steal it from those who do.

    March 23, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  11. Luke Brown

    Why did he back down? It made sense to me.

    March 23, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  12. SCFAN

    Rick.. and walking around with an Etch a Sketch saying why not to vote for Romeny is any better. In fact Romney didnt even say the word Etch a Sketch it was one of his advisors. So its ok for you to run around and say crap about Romney but as soon as someone uses your own words against you, you call them ridiculous. Your campaign is weak and your logic is vein. Stop wasting the GOP's time. At least Gingrich is postive about having a conservativve in the oval office.

    March 23, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  13. Valentina

    You are done, Mr. Santorum, and there is no turning back for you in the future. You mine is well call it quits as you are becoming a laughing stock of the Republican Party. Pathetic you are for sure.

    March 23, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  14. s

    Why don't we all wake up and come out of the fog? I am a very concerned liberal who realizes that when Romney gets the nomination, he will chose the Latino Dynamo Marco Rubio–Florida– and win with a sweeping majority. THEY ARE GOING TO BE UNBEATABLE–not because of Romney but because Rubio is a very well liked Latino and the Latins will now be electing future representatives including El Presidente.

    March 23, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  15. maf

    Like a fly caught in a spider web!! Can't seem to get it right to get out of it and the more he squirms, the more wrapped up he gets!!!
    Looks like another GOP hopeful is going to bite the dust!

    March 23, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  16. Pander Bear

    Face it Rick, you're a terrible candidate and in ni way shape of form deserve to be anywhere near the White House.

    March 23, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  17. GI Joe.

    But it was shown on tapes (being run over and over) coming out of the horse's mouth - where the rest of the crap is spilled.

    But then, he WILL make a good Fox employee in a month or two.

    March 23, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  18. Ricardo

    Why don't his adviser write down for him what to say every time he has to talk. Santorum is an idiot, moron like Newt is

    March 23, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  19. Bonnie

    Never say never, Senator....

    March 23, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  20. enkephalin07

    I saw his comment as, "I'll scuttle this ship if I can't captain it." It did sound like he'd want his votes thrown away if he wasn't in the general election to receive them.

    March 23, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  21. Woman In California

    I'm sick of ALL these republicans clowns. So sick I find myself making less trips to this website and very seldom do I watch politics anymore. November can't come fast enough.

    Obama 2012 for continued sanity and restoration.

    March 23, 2012 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  22. Miranda

    Now you know what it feels like to jump on something and take it out of context. The only difference is Romney didnt make the Etcher Scetch gaffe...but Santorum certainly made his own!

    March 23, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  23. out of step

    Rick is nothing but a bumbling idiot. He makes fun of the president preparing speaches and reading them. Hmm, wonder why???? I know why he advocates home schooling and no higher education He does not want a nation to grow up and realize that a man with so little wisdom made it so far in a presidential campaign. The only thing he said that makes any sense is what he considers a gaffe now... Obama 2012

    March 23, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  24. Beyond-The-Political-Spectrum.blogspot

    (*gasp*) What that the sound of a flip-flop?

    March 23, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  25. Steven Colo

    Okay, Rick, you tell us what you're still running for. You have no chance to win on delegate count, and the possibility that the GOP Powers That Be will allow you to win a brokered convention is nil. The idea that you're running because you like Obama makes as much sense as anything else.

    March 23, 2012 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
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