(CNN) – There was no press conference, no television cameras, no reporters and it didn't even arrive when the sun was up.
Instead, Rick Santorum's endorsement of presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney came in paragraph 13 in an email to supporters at approximately 11 p.m. Monday night.
– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
"We both agree that President Obama must be defeated. The task will not be easy. It will require all hands on deck if our nominee is to be victorious," Santorum wrote. "Governor Romney will be that nominee and he has my endorsement and support to win this the most critical election of our lifetime."
With that, Santorum became the latest former rival to back Romney and the latest former rival to do so in a lukewarm fashion. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich offered a far from ringing endorsement of Romney during a press conference last week, during which he painted the frontrunner as a positive alternative to President Barack Obama.
Santorum said he waited to make an endorsement until he could meet with Romney in person. The two met privately Friday in Pittsburgh.
"I felt that it was completely impossible for me to even consider an endorsement until after a meeting to discuss issues critical to those of us who often feel our voices are not heard by the establishment: social conservatives, tea-party supporters, lower and middle income working families," Santorum wrote.
However, he did not say whether he planned to join Romney on the stump before the November election.
Santorum enjoyed support from more conservative voting blocs as well as members those supportive of the grassroots tea party movement during the primary campaign, which helped him place first in 11 early contest states. In Monday's letter, Santorum said he encouraged Romney to "add more conservative leaders as an integral part of his team."
The former Pennsylvania senator said the contentious 2012 campaign proved he and the former Massachusetts governor "have some differences," but also areas in which they agree, including over the need for smaller government, opposition to abortion and the belief that marriage should be between one man and one woman.
One of the biggest gripes Santorum had on the campaign trail with Romney was the health care law he passed while governor of Massachusetts, but in Monday's note Santorum said he no longer doubts Romney's opposition to the current national health care law.
"While I had concerns about Governor Romney making a case as a candidate about fighting against Obamacare, I have no doubt if elected he will work with a Republican Congress to repeal it and replace it with a bottom up, patient, not government, driven system," Santorum wrote.
Romney expressed "sincere gratitude" for Santorum's endorsement and said his "commitment to conservatism energized millions of Republicans around the country," in a statement released Tuesday.
"Senator Santorum and I share an absolute commitment to that goal, just as we share an absolute commitment to reversing the failing policies of the Obama Administration, from its assault on freedom of conscience to its feckless foreign policy," Romney said.
Soros donates $1 million to liberal super PAC
White House downplays Biden's same-sex marriage remarks
Poll: Romney, Obama dead even in dozen swing states
Ah, what a great endorsement for Romney – hidden in spam. Really tells you how most Republicans are embarrassed by Romney.
Santorum is a sore loser with no character. His endorsement is hollow and insincere.
which reinforces the fact that Romney isn't even liked by his own party! Case closed!
No one knows what goes on behind the closed doors of endorsing. Probably a lot of sucking up to each other.
If Romney loses he can thank the conservative wing of the party for their half harted endorsement; first Newt and now Rick (via email?). I hope he pays them back by running again for 2016.
Now Ricky has joined the pac of those who stand form nothing but possinbly winning at all costs. Was it hard to sell out your principles?
Taking "one for the team" again, Santorum?
Santorum wants Mitt Romney to be "severely conservative". Period.
This endorsement is reminiscent of Bob Dole's 1988 "endorsement" of George H.W. Bush. Publicly-endorsing his bitter rival after being humiliated while thinking "I sure hope you lose so I can come back and run in four years."
Was it one of those BlueMountain email cards?
Classless to the end.
Ouuuu... just in time for summer. A pair of flip-flops!
Well, duh. Who else would he endorse (not that it makes a difference).
"he's the worst republican to run against Obama"......signed Rick Santorum. Expect to see that and all the other neagtive comments about Flippy soon running in Democratic ads
“Pick any other Republican in the country. He (Romney) is the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama,” Santorum said at an evening rally near Racine.
If this is reflective of the enthusiasm for Romney' candidacy from the far right-wing of the Republican party, then there's a party going on at the White House right now.
Doesn't even have the courage to do so in person. Well, at least it wasn't a Tweet!
Why is there no story about Ron Paul's victories in Maine and Nevada over the weekend?
I love these guys, for months, we heard Santorum say why Romney was the most lousy choice... but not that he lost, and quite humiliatingly I might add, he is now all lovey dovey with Mitt. Yeah... let's forget all the reasons you said Mitt shouldn't be president and focus on.... flip flopping your convictions? I know it is just the nature of politics but it's pretty disgusting and is a direct exposure of what the country really means to these guys. Victory at all costs, damn the people.
He was afraid to do it publicly as he though he would throw up and we would know he was lying yet again.
This grudging support is just another example of Santorum's lack of class, judgement or maturity.
Sorry, Mittens.... Santy's just not that into you...
Yah Patients with their bottoms up and the Repukes... Well you get the picture. More cost, less coverage, more doing it to the middle and lower class citizens. Ah but those making over a million or more dollars a year will probably see more tax breaks to pay for any increase in their health costs. Won't see that for the less fortunate.
Yeah he endorsed him what would you expect Romney probably promised him something in return!
Well that was nice, to write Mitt a note before bedtime.