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.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

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. roscoe

    I think it is just the opposite of caring for himself more than the country. He can see that in a Romney vs Obama election, the country loses if Romney wins. Quite rare these days to see someone pick country over political party.

    March 23, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  2. BK

    Maybe he should consider using a teleprompter so he can keep himself from saying such obviously stupid things.

    March 23, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  3. Anders Perillo

    Talk about your political career suicide. After far too many gaffes already, that one ought to just about finish you, Ricky. Now be a good little boy, sit down, and shut up so the adults can talk.

    March 23, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  4. Slightly Left of Center

    Is that his son standing just behind him? Doesn't he look thrilled? Maybe that's the face of indoctrination....

    March 23, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  5. MR FRASER

    TOO BAD, You are TOO late. What were YOU thinking? You have lost my vote

    March 23, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  6. Republican 51

    Mr. Santorum, you have no temperament to be president. Your vanity, your huge ego and your narcissism disqualify you. We need a president with character, aplomb and talent. You have none of that. You should get out of the race immediately and apologize to all Republicans for your comments -full of hate- against Governor Romney.

    March 23, 2012 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  7. RedInDenver

    What a load of crap. What does: "we may as well stay with what we have [Obama] instead of taking a risk [with Romney]" mean to YOU? Next, we'll be hearing "it all depends on what the definition of 'is' is" ....

    JUST SHUT UP for heaven's sake! what is that expression .... something about: when you find yourself in a hole, STOP DIGGING.

    March 23, 2012 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  8. mon

    Did he give Romney any leniency when he said "I could care less about the poor" but really meant he wanted to focus on the middle class? But now when he feels his words were misinterpreted, it's "absurd".

    March 23, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  9. george of the jungle

    the truest thing ol rick has said. Yup lets just keep president Obama. Sure better than the repo clowns running.

    March 23, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  10. Tyler Durden

    rick is a twerp. his fans are nut bags. but this comment was misconstrued.

    March 23, 2012 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  11. truthsayer221

    Ricky is done, a victim of his own vanity and stupidity.

    March 23, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  12. bob

    Who is the flip flopper now

    March 23, 2012 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  13. Matador527

    So it's just about what the meaning of "we" is.....

    March 23, 2012 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  14. blessedgeek

    We should stick with Obama.

    March 23, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  15. Bootstomper

    Republican Party,Are you kidding me?

    March 23, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  16. julien vergara

    Talking so much is not good. It shows what you really feel. This is not republican or democrats. This become personal

    March 23, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  17. Mulyark

    Santorum screwed the pooch and has lost all national party support. If he wants to keep spending himself into poverty to prove he could have been a contender, so be it. Mitt Romney will carry the criminal prosecution of Obama.

    March 23, 2012 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  18. Michael

    Sorry, dude. You blew it. In the accusations you made against Romney, you proved that YOU will say anything for a headline. If you want to be considered presidential, you need to act presidential.

    March 23, 2012 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  19. TrulyFeral

    Don't work yourself into a froth Rick....

    March 23, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  20. Getting Interested

    To Rick Santorum's God: Please make him the Rep nominee. Please make him the Rep nominee. Please make him the Rep nominee...

    March 23, 2012 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  21. 60minuteman

    " "we may as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk" with Romney."

    The first time Santorum has said something that makes sense.

    March 23, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  22. Mike Buck

    It is true... a lot of things that are said are not worth talking about and this is one of them. I however, am not looking forward to a new world theocracy under the leadership of Rick Santorum.

    March 23, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  23. mascmen7

    Loose lips Santorum has torpedoed his ship which is sinking. To even suggest we should re-elect a Kenyan born, Russian communist educated Obama is sheer madness by Santorum's lips which he needs to seal. In Russia they would put Santorum out of his misery.

    March 23, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  24. labman57

    When spin-doctoring is a daily requirement when you're on the campaign trail - demonstrating a lack of preparation and self-discipline, this doesn't speak well for your ability to serve as Commander in Chief.

    March 24, 2012 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  25. joanne

    Santorum is full of himself. He has been on all his buddies talk shows today making a lame attempt of explaing away
    his remarks. He says he said "WE" and not "HE". How lame. Needless to say his buddies Shawn and Mark gave him the usual pass.

    March 24, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6