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. Former Republican, now an Independent

    The real problem for the republican party is, that they only have dead bodies running. Or is the correct term "Dead Heads"?

    March 24, 2012 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  2. once upon a horse

    wow is that a threat or a promise?

    March 24, 2012 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  3. ThinkAgain

    Funny, I have the same feeling about voting for any of these GOP yahoos ...

    March 24, 2012 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  4. Geoffrey Hamilton

    Independents,Moderates, and many Conservatives: Would vote for Santorum over their dead bodies.

    March 24, 2012 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  5. partysstink

    Open mouth incert foot.

    March 24, 2012 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  6. Montana

    Sorry Rick, you lose. You said it and meant it, you are never going to be able to walk this back. You said it and we all knew what you meant. trying to make it sound like everyone got it wrong makes you look pathetic.
    Game over. Get out now before you lose all threads of dignity you still might have left...

    March 24, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  7. Zlul

    So, now Santorum is acting like an etch-a-sketch? Who would of thunked it...

    March 24, 2012 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  8. jbob

    What a stupid comment!. Shows Santrorum has lost sight of the outcome and it's all about HIM now. Not getting my vote anymore.

    March 24, 2012 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  9. duane

    Rick has blown it big time. He is too prone to shoot from the hip–or lip. Pull out and go home, Rick. You've lost lots of us by this irresponsible comment.

    March 24, 2012 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  10. Desmond Sequeira

    Mr "Sanctum Sanctorum", I think it has long been safe to assume that you can be depended on to backtrack on anything you say.

    March 24, 2012 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  11. tcaros

    Santorum is a nincompoop.

    March 24, 2012 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  12. james r.

    It's about time for Ron and Newt, to stop showing lack of judgement, and step off the stage.

    March 24, 2012 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  13. soul leister

    look at santorum spin his own words... "we" know exactly what he said and how he said it... his childish (unpresidential) antics are reason number one not to vote for him... since no one wanted to make him captian then he was openly resigned to taking his bat, ball and go home with his tail between his legs... if he can't win then the other guy shouldn't either... wah wah wah...

    March 24, 2012 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  14. Killdeer

    Sorry Rickie, I just don't see it that way. You have nothing to offer that I am buying into.

    March 24, 2012 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  15. Janet H.

    I know that you think that you believe that you understand what you thought I meant to say, but I'm not sure you realize that whar you thought you heard me to say, was not what I really intentionally ttried to re-clarify.

    March 24, 2012 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  16. nightsong

    It was a slip of sarcasm that was taken by the msm and blown out of proportion. Santorum wants to see obama defeated in 2012 election.

    March 24, 2012 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  17. Steve

    So According to Santorum, this is what he meant to say

    'we the people 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'

    So instead of 'We' meaning 'We the people and Santorum'. It just means We the people without Santorum. So, if I understand him right He would vote For Romney, but the rest of us (the people) might as well stay with what we have (Obama). OK, I feel so much better about him now that he explained that.

    March 24, 2012 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  18. Jane

    "over my dead body"? Well, I'm sure someone in the Romney or Gingrich camp could arrange that, if that was the only way for them to win.....

    March 24, 2012 02:56 am at 2:56 am |
  19. dwech

    Yeah Ricky, you're all religious, and conservative, and right-wing, and righteous, and wear sweater-vests,and have a Hallmark family, and OMG if you were EVER to be seen... I mean even NEAR a black president... that would be so icky and everything! Over my DEAD body I would vote? You're an idiot Santorum. Pennsylvania voted you out for very good reason – please go away, the adults need to talk now.

    March 24, 2012 03:15 am at 3:15 am |
  20. Donaldbain

    Translation: "Over my dead body" = "I won't vote for a black man". It is the same code as Gingrinch's "the difference between night and day" comments. Mean spirited, narrow minded racists.

    March 24, 2012 03:17 am at 3:17 am |
  21. gina

    awe dont like the truth

    March 24, 2012 03:20 am at 3:20 am |
  22. Karl Marx

    "Over my dead body would I vote for Barack Obama,” he said when campaigning in Pineville, La."
    Shouldn't speaking English be mandatory for a candidate?
    Usually, "over my dead body" means some person would have to step over one's dead body to perform an action that the speaker opposes.

    March 24, 2012 03:41 am at 3:41 am |
  23. SnowCypher

    Nice try at walking back the gaffe but considering that he was still mocking Romney for a gaffe by a staff member over an Etch A Sketch, I am not buying his walk back. He took enough heat that he has to walk back his remarks.

    Romney 2012. America needs Mitt now more than ever.

    March 24, 2012 03:42 am at 3:42 am |
  24. Rev Mkell,

    We don't need a President who mis-speaks half the time he opens his mouth! Talking before you think is no way to make people trust your judgement! Do us all a favor and just shut up! Better to say nothing and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt!

    March 24, 2012 03:51 am at 3:51 am |
  25. Rick Blaine

    Too late Ricky, your temperment showed through and you've disqualified yourself. You've become a whiner lately and that latest rant sealed your fate. go home and try to re-win the Senate seat you lost so miserably.

    March 24, 2012 04:12 am at 4:12 am |
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