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. comprof

    Santorum makes too many political gaffs. Up until the least 3 weeks I preferred him over Romney and Gingrich over both.. However, it has reached a point that I think he and Gingrich both need to get out of the race. At this point I think it is only their ego keeping them in the race. They are just helping Obama and anyone is a better choice than him.

    March 23, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  2. Sid Prejean

    When you say something really dumb, people notice. Calling their reaction "absurd" and "ridiculous" is the common tactic of dopes. This is clearly the same Rick Santorum we resoundingly fired six years ago.

    March 23, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  3. Marlee

    I am not pleased with the GOP and I have considered voting for Obama and that's no joke.

    March 23, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  4. Carol

    Honestly, this is not even close to the most absurd thing that Reverend Sanitorium has said. The list is just too absurb to type.

    March 23, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  5. Hank

    Santorum = Team Obama MVP!!!

    March 23, 2012 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  6. I-Rock

    I'm the first person to post here. That means I rock! Seriously people. If you post a comment here thinking anyone will give a crap about what you have you say, you're a moron. Nobody cares about your stupid opinions on an internet forum so before you make a single comment, think about what I just said.

    March 23, 2012 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  7. td40

    Totally grasping at straws now. Hilarious.

    March 23, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  8. Burt

    Hmmmmmm, It he was suppose to clear up his comment with these remarks, he failed. It still sounds petty, stupid, shallow, jealous, insecure, self-righteous, and inconsistent. Romney's gaffs have been poor wording when taken in context. However, Ricks gaffs are far more revealing about his character and ideology. Rick, it is surprising that you are still in the race and that otherwise intelligent and good people still support you and your campaign.

    March 23, 2012 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  9. John

    Sounds like he flipped the etch a sketch himself.

    March 23, 2012 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  10. chuck weidemann

    Come on Rick take one for the team....vote Obama....vote for a better America.

    March 23, 2012 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  11. enuff

    First rule of public speaking: If you don't mean what you say, DON'T SAY IT!

    March 23, 2012 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  12. jdd

    He did not say that he would vote for Romney. He did not clarify anything.

    March 23, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  13. Cindy

    This campaign can't end soon enough. It has gotten on America's nerves as much as Sarah Palin has.

    March 23, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  14. David

    Come on Louisiana! Santorum is done. Hold your nose if you have to, but it's time to end this fiasco. IT'S OVER! Please, vote Romney tomorrow and let's let the guy start getting ready for Obama. Like it or not, that's just the truth.

    March 23, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  15. Bobbi

    Worse loose mouth than Biden's.

    March 23, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  16. jdd

    Sorry my mistake he did say he would vote for Romney. This was not a clarification was a reversal.

    March 23, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  17. rhumba

    Yep. He's getting dumber and dumber.

    March 23, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  18. ItsJo

    Mr.Santorum, as I'm from Pa. I must say, that You were out of line with that remark. The idea of ANY Republican is to oust Obama. You said in '08 that Romney was a "good conservative republican"....now, you say the opposite. Why do you think you should be trusted with this kind of rhetoric? Also, your voting record being brought up about voting issues
    that were NOT very Conservative, you offered: "sometimes you have to vote with the team"....whose team? We need a candidate that can BEAT Obama, and frankly I think you have too much, "vote baggage, too far right and Obama will just jump all over that"....Sorry, but I can't stand with you, as we have to have a person who CAN beat Obama.

    March 23, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  19. Hickory Ridge

    Neil Cavuto, Neil Cavuto That was the show, Go to Fox News and get the full, story, not a hacked up version.

    March 23, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  20. Ted, Redondo Beach, California

    No amount of clarifications can redress the idiocy of Mr. Santorum's remark.
    And he must think us stupid enough to believe that, when he says, "we" he does not include himself among the "we."

    March 23, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  21. TomK

    Ricky, I think it is time for you to fold your tent and head on back to your cushy corporate job and leave politics to someone who thinks before he speaks. You have led the GOP cannibalization and now it would appear you are biting off your own foot.

    March 23, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  22. mmercier

    How can we miss Richard, if he will not go away.

    That line was stolen from one Howard Carr.

    March 23, 2012 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  23. bshinkle

    Uh, Rick. You said it. It wasn't taken out of context.

    You hate Romney so much that you'd rather Obama get re-elected than Romney win.

    Too friggin hilarious.

    March 23, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  24. Randy, San Francisco

    What is truly laughable and absurd is the constant back trackiing and explaining his campaign has had to do. It is gettting a little tiresome.

    March 23, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  25. tellitlikeitis

    No way can I or my family support Santorum now. Sorry to my fellow Republicans but there was nothing about his original statement that I misunderstood. I watched a leat 10 times to make sure. He has been a sore loser and most if not all the negativity is coming from Santorum. It’s now a three way race in my household. Not even sure could Vote for him in the general election, I also will never Cast a ballot for the current president.

    March 23, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
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