Republicans react to Santorum suspending campaign
April 10th, 2012
04:03 PM ET
3 years ago

Republicans react to Santorum suspending campaign

(CNN) – Leading Republicans responded to news of Rick Santorum suspending his presidential campaign Tuesday, mostly praising the candidate for making the decision that essentially clears the way for Mitt Romney to soon clinch the GOP nomination.

"Today, Senator Santorum has made a commendable decision. He has decided to put his country, party, and desire to defeat President Obama ahead of any personal ambition. I applaud his decision and congratulate him on the campaign he has run," Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, said in a statement.

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The remaining GOP presidential candidates also weighed in, with front-runner Mitt Romney commending the candidate for his 10-month White House bid.

"Senator Santorum is an able and worthy competitor, and I congratulate him on the campaign he ran. He has proven himself to be an important voice in our party and in the nation," Romney said in a statement.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, meanwhile, also congratulated Santorum for his "remarkable campaign" but took the opportunity to appeal to his largely conservative supporters, as well.

"I humbly ask Senator Santorum's supporters to visit Newt.org to review my conservative record and join us as we bring these values to Tampa," Gingrich said in a statement, pledging to stay in the race.

The campaign for Rep. Ron Paul of Texas also promised their candidate would keep marching on in the race and complimented Santorum on his campaign.

"Congratulations to Senator Santorum on running such a spirited campaign. Dr. Paul is now the last – and real – conservative alternative to Mitt Romney," Jesse Benton, Paul's campaign chairman, said in a statement. "We plan to continue running hard, secure delegates, and press the fight for limited, constitutional government in Tampa."

Red, White and Blue Fund, the super PAC supporting Santorum's candidacy, congratulated their candidate and stressed the importance of supporting Republicans in the November election.

"There is a lot at stake in November for our nation. We can do better than Barack Obama. But not only the presidency is at stake," Nick Ryan, the Fund's founder, said in an email. "We also have the opportunity to strengthen the conservative majority in the House of Representatives and to oust the liberal leadership in the Senate."

Former presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who met with Santorum last week in San Antonio, said the former senator had a "tireless and hard-fought campaign."

"We know the toll the process takes on the candidates and their families, as well as the honor of being in the arena fighting to keep America great and strong," Perry said in a statement. "We are keeping their precious Bella in our prayers and we wish Rick, Karen and their family the best in their future together."

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina urged Republicans to rally being Romney as the party's nominee, echoing calls from other GOP heavyweights in recent weeks.

"Now is the time to get behind Mitt Romney as our presidential nominee so that every corner of the Republican Party is united. Our party must aggressively pursue the conservative Democrats and independents needed to ensure Barack Obama is a one-term president. America cannot afford another four years of Barack Obama," the senator said in a statement.

Top social conservative voices also had something to say about Santorum leaving the race.

"Millions of voters flocked to Rick not because he was a Republican, but because he passionately articulated the connection between America's financial greatness and its moral and cultural wholeness," Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said in a statement.

Like Perkins, the Susan B. Anthony List, a major anti-abortion group that doled out more than $500,000 in support of Santorum, also commended the former senator but did not mention Romney in its statement.

"Pro-life voters are a consistent and growing constituency, who proved invaluable to Senator Santorum in state after state throughout the primary elections. We will continue to reach out and mobilize those voters and millions more like them across the country. The political muscle of the pro-life movement will be critical to defeating President Obama in November," Marjorie Dannenfelser, the group's president, said.

Richard Viguerie, chairman of ConservativeHQ.com, expressed disappointment with Santorum's decision but praised the former senator's commitment to conservative values.

Viguerie was part of a meeting Santorum held with conservative leaders last week, in which the option of dropping out was reportedly not on the table at the time.

Pivoting to Romney, Viguerie said in a statement the front-runner spent millions "to drive the conservative candidates from the field" but has work to do in healing "the wounds created by his negative campaigning."

"Romney is seriously behind with committed conservative voters," he added. "To catch up, he must make the case that he merits the support of movement conservatives and that a Romney administration, if elected, can and will produce conservative government."

Also see:

Poll: Nearly three-quarters of Republicans see Romney as nominee

Romney: I speak with Gingrich more than Santorum

Romney campaign pulls negative ad while Santorum halts campaigning


Filed under: 2012 • Republicans • Rick Santorum
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Terence

    Policy:

    "Comments are not pre-screened before they post."

    Page response to post:

    "Your comment is awaiting moderation".

    Is this because I included a link?
    Thanks -

    April 10, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. judy

    ol mitt waas going to cream him in his home state. To bad it was a good show with lots of laughs. Go forward not back to bush policys. Obama 2012 New polls show women are a lot smarter than men They all see what a phoney ol miott is. Come on guys wake up. Obama 2012

    April 10, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. Sorensen

    Mr. Prairiebus as usual got it all wrong. Sanatorium did not put anything in front of his personal ambitions.
    His ideas lost. And would have lost even more in Pensylvania.
    However, Sanatorium at least was an honest man with the guts to say what he meant. As opposed to Prairiebus who
    continues to shoot his dumb mouth off on any subject. And Romney, who does not have any opinions, or rather, any
    opinion that would sound right for the moment. That, of course, never works in the long run. And the long run is
    getting closer and closer.

    April 10, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    ""We're not cutting revenue. We're cutting rates.""

    I do believe that quote from Paul Ryan can be translated as follows:

    "Gov't revenue doesn't go down when you cut tax rates because it magically spurs so much economic activity that it increases the net amount of taxes collected."

    If you believe that, you belong on anti-psychotics to stop your hallucinations. It has NEVER worked that way. EVER. NOT ONCE IN THE HISTORY OF THIS COUNTRY OR ANY OTHER. The GOP/Teatrolls are so full of crap it's a wonder they're not considered public health hazards. Oh wait...I forgot....they're taking care of hazarding the public health with their CouponCare Crapshoot...my boo...

    April 10, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "The wealthy don't really get hit that hard because...well...they are already wealthy. They are doing okay. "

    Actually, during the entire recession, the wealthy have been watching their incomes and wealth continue to grow pretty quickly while everyone else goes to the poorhouse. Moreover, spending on luxury goods that only the very wealthy can afford stayed high...even grew a bit. They're not just "doing okay." THEY ARE LITERALLY PROFITTING FROM THIS RECESSION.

    April 10, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  6. No Way I'll Vote for Romney

    Well I guess it is Santorum's turn in 2016, after President Obama serves hia second turn. That is the system republicans use why bother with a primary when the so called leaders choose who they want.

    April 10, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  7. RINO Bil

    Santorum just did not want be humiliated by losing his home state to Mitt and his machine.

    April 10, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  8. FRANK - LAS VEGAS

    Little Ricky saw that his home state was going to present him another one in the lost column. His home state, you know the same home state that voted him out by 18 points. At least, in a few more days, we won't have to hear his lies any more. Little Ricky told more lies than Bachmann even though they both got the information from the bloggers and then were surprised when they were shown to be 100% wrong. The only question now is, will Newty get little Ricky's votes or will they go to Mittens.

    April 10, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  9. noldinho

    amazing how Republicans are desperate to defeat Obama ...I hope they wait al least four more years ...

    April 10, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. Penobscot

    Not voting for Romney for religious or ideological reasons is a vote for Obama.

    April 10, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |