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. Romney is not My Hero

    "I have always said I would never vote for President Obama, are you kidding me? What do you think I am doing this for? Because I like Barack Obama?" --- He knows that he loves the President. Come on Ricky boy – let it out already.

    OBAMA 2012!

    March 23, 2012 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  2. architect424

    My question is: with all of the hate that the right is piling onto the current president, how is the eventual nominee going to be able to sit down and hold a civil debate with the president this fall without it degenerating into a bunch of name-calling? Santorum is by far the worst for this (although they are all guilty), as can be seen by his comments here and in other instances (such as calling the president a snob).

    March 23, 2012 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  3. Justin

    Santorum yesterday said, "You win by giving people a choice. You win by giving people the opportunity to see a different vision for our country, not someone who's just going to be a little different than the person in there. If they're going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk of what may be the Etch A Sketch candidate for the future."

    Now he says, " I was saying the people may not vote for someone they don't see as different."

    That's not what he originally "was saying" at all. I guess it depends on what the definition of We is. He seems to think it's exclusive of himself. The dictionary (and the rest of humanity) defines we as: Used by a speaker to refer to himself or herself and one or more other people considered together.

    Sorry, Ricky. No one is manufacturing a story here. You brought this all on yourself.

    March 23, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  4. dan hamman

    santorum, cannot open his mouth without slamming romney- he is a poor loser.....he seems so bitter all the time.

    unhappy people make very poor leaders..... he could never manage the united states of america..

    March 23, 2012 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  5. 40 acres

    So when I said we I didn't mean we I meant you but I didn't really mean you because you should not vote for Obama and I would never vote for Obama so when I said what I said I didn't really mean it. Though if you vote for Romney you might as well vote for Obama because they are the same....at least I can't see any difference but I don't really mean you should vote for Obama but I would never vote for Romney.

    March 23, 2012 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  6. normajean @ verizon ,com

    I don't doubt for a minute that he said just what is quoted....We have seen more than once that this man can't talk without a foot in his mouth. I shudder at the thought that he is even this close to the presidency. Can't you just see him in a serious discussion with a foreign leader about world affairs.??? It's scary!!!!!

    March 23, 2012 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  7. ELH

    Does he really think that the Liberals will not play his statement over and over if he doesn't win the nomination? thissingle statement did one thing for sure, it alienated serious conservatives from voting if Mitt wins the nomination. Is that truly good for the GOP?

    March 23, 2012 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  8. daniel bryant

    Too little too late....America has vetted you and found you lacking...u have. Completely lost focus and have demonstrably shown you're ill tempered and lack presidential barring.

    March 23, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  9. Blossom89

    Actually he was right, I'll be sticking with Obama over ANY of the pitiful GOP candidates who are now running!!!

    March 23, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  10. Candy Taylor

    Yeah this is the guy we want talking to other countries. He will "mis-speak' and start WW III. God help us if this zealot gets elected!

    March 23, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  11. Larry L

    Santorum won't get the nomination so this choice is real for him. I suppose he'd prefer a white, libral/moderate/conservative/pro-abortion/anti-abortion/ Mormon to a moderate, progressive Christian black man. Both Santorum and Romney clain to believe the Earth to be less than 6000 years old... So they have a fear of science in common.

    I would be so ashamed to be a Republican after watching the Clown Car roll along...

    March 23, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  12. John

    Too late now for clarification Rick. The damage is done. You just shot yourself in the foot. I'm done with you.

    March 23, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  13. Lev

    Rick Santorum is a loser. A sore loser at that. I am so exhausted by his whining about everything. Mr. clairvoyant (sp?) should just go back to lobbying and giving high priced speeches...maybe open up a megachurch somewhere and really make the big bucks.

    March 23, 2012 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  14. Squigman

    As long as it's not you, or Mitt in the White House. That's all that matters.

    March 23, 2012 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  15. FIZZ

    Santorum is as passive aggressive as Huckabee was....nasty men using the guise of Christianity for self benefit.

    March 23, 2012 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  16. Pedrons

    Rick sir! you have nothing to apologize for!! because thats the truth!! speaking as a liberal !why vote for a half baked A Sketch liberal when you have the real deal?.

    March 23, 2012 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  17. AZ-Independent

    Flip-flopper! At any rate you were right.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    March 23, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  18. fitley

    As long as a the goobers believe him that's all that matters.

    March 23, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  19. Janie

    A classic case of the old open mouth insert foot scenario. Oh well the campaign was winding down anyway. But it is sad to see it end in such a carelessly- stupid way. Unfortunately, this blunder might be remembered for a long time.

    March 23, 2012 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  20. NMDave

    Hey St. Rick I heard what you said loud and clear and I almost "threw up" to think you would say that about a Republican that is on his way to getting our nomination for President. Look at all the party endorsements Romney is getting along with the popular vote and delegates. You have no credibility and your record of liberal voting while in the Senate is there for all to see, as Ron Paul so clearly stated "You are a Fake". Jeb said it well 'It's time to rally behind Romney" not tear him down. Please go back to PA and see if you can win a Senate seat again.

    March 23, 2012 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  21. JOE B

    Like most conservatives I will not vote for ROmney no matter what. His religion believes that you can become a GOd. This was the very reason Eve was kicked out of Eden because she wanted to become a godd and they also believe you can have as many wives as you like which contradicts our beliefs that a man for one woman. There's much more but this is a sampling why no solid chrristian will vote Rommmney. Words were purposely spelled incorrectly to prevent deletion.

    March 23, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  22. Vic

    So I have seen his interview with Neil Cavuto. He was on the defensive and as usual, angry as always. What struck me was he clearly said that if you are going to vote for Romney, might as well vote for Obama because you dont know what you are gonna get with the etchy sketchy Romney and then he shifted the blame on the Media distorting his own words and accused Romney for distorting as well when in fact, Romney is just responding to his attacks and the media is quoting him using his own words. So he said those words and if you ask him, gets defensive and blames the Media and Romney! What an immature petulant SOB! Who is he kidding? Santo is toast even if he wins LA tom. He is done!

    March 23, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  23. Peter

    So I guess you don't enough decency to stick to what you said, so why should we think you are different but a flat out flip flopper just like Mitt??

    How is that for being absurdly stupid on your part. Are you kidding me?

    March 23, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  24. allens

    he is a liar and a fool. he is not a good christian or presidential material. he complains how the others are always saying this when they meant that and change their stories. he should look at himself first. he is disgusting

    March 23, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  25. Fishsnot

    Best thing for Santorum to do now is resign for the running. This sore candidate IS NOT PRESIDENTIAL TIMBER.

    March 23, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
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