May 12th, 2012
08:32 AM ET
2 years ago

Santorum to Romney: 'Step up' and use 'potent weapon' of same sex marriage

Washington (CNN) – Rick Santorum is urging Mitt Romney to "step up" and weaponize the issue of same-sex marriage.

"This is a very potent weapon, if you will, for Governor Romney if he's willing to step up and take advantage of a president who is very much out of touch with the values of America," Santorum said in an eye-opening live interview with Arkansas TV station KARK, a CNN affiliate.

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The former presidential candidate made the remarks before appearing at the Benton County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner in the northwest corner of the state Friday night. Santorum's comments also came the night before Romney's speech before the Christian conservative Liberty University in Virginia on Saturday.

Romney's one time rival noted the recent results of a ballot issue in North Carolina where voters approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

"Hopefully Governor Romney will continue to stand tall for his position on this issue and understand how detrimental it would be for society for it to have this changed," Santorum also told the Arkansas station.

"Governor Romney has to talk about his values," he added. "That's the most important thing."

On Wednesday, President Obama stated his support for same-sex marriage in reversal of his stance on the sensitive issue. Following the president's comments, Romney seemed hesitant to take on what he called a "tender" subject, though he did reiterate his view that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

Santorum's remarks also indicate the former Pennsylvania senator is not fully on board Romney's team. After a bitter primary season battle, Santorum endorsed Romney in a lengthy email to his supporters. But Santorum did not actually state his endorsement until the tail end of the message.

When asked whether he would be interested in running as Romney's running mate, Santorum demurred.

"It's one thing you don't campaign for – at least I'm not campaigning for," Santorum said.


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Rick Santorum • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (615 Responses)
  1. johnborg

    It's a very split issue actually: 50-50 give or take a point or two. I think Santorum lives in some neoconservative dream land. Obama is just as much if not more in touch with "average" Americans as he is.

    May 12, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  2. Nick

    Santorum's "America": I've never left a red state, and the northeast corner of the country stops at Pennsylvania. oO

    May 12, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  3. Carla

    If 'Santorum thinks the President is out of touch, he, too, should align himself in that bunch and the rest of Washington. Lots of pots calling kettles black here, no pun intended.

    May 12, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  4. Bruce

    And by doing so Romney would hand control of the rhetoric to Obama. Why would he want to do that? Romney should talk about unifying the country with a commonality of purpose. That would effectively neutralize all the trivial side issues that Obama and the press would use to fill up the headlines/soundbites.

    May 12, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  5. asdf

    Please Mitt, listen to sanitorium, he will sink you for sure.

    May 12, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  6. wes

    WOW! obama out of touch with us? huh? is he kidding? obama looks out for the poor, and the middle class. the repukes dont, all they care about is the elite. and same gender marrage is a "Potent weapon" yes mabe for those of you who lock your self in your house all day and thump your bible and kneel and pray to a candle. but to the regular people its worthless to campaign on that subject.

    May 12, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  7. Jesus

    wwjd? Use the love between two people as a weapon against them? Very Christian of Santorum.

    May 12, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  8. Don R

    If Santorum is "so in touch" with America's values then how come he's the one kissing Romney's butt????
    If America'a values were as Santorum says then he would be the GOP'S main guy. Appearently America didn't think that Santirum had it right because they all left him.

    May 12, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  9. Matt

    What I am hoping for is that all of the hateful mouthpieces for the far right come out of the woodwork and get plenty of airtime during this election. Hopefully then, eyes will be opened as to the extreme hate that these people spew on a regular basis. If you examine the statements that these politicians, preachers, and otherwise narrow-minded folks often make, all you have to do is replace the word "gay" with "black," "Jewish,"Hispanic," etc. It is pure hate, nothing more, nothing less. Having been brought up in the church, it is certainly NOT what I was taught as young person and NOT something that I embrace today. Gay people are real. They are no different than anyone else. And, they are not going away, regardless what these narrow-minded bigots try to do.

    May 12, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  10. Punisher2000

    Despite marriage being a state matter, these GOPers want to use this issue as a campaign subject, when the population is about split on this and they are saying Obama is out of touch? Do their strategists actually do any thinking? Where do these people evolve?

    May 12, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  11. Name s kel

    values??? Mitt with values? From ricky boy? Two of the most out of touch heartless sobs that ever ran for office. Reply repugs ,lets hear the stupid evil lies that you normanly come up with from your heartless ,souless depth.

    May 12, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  12. person

    Santorum is wrong. Romney should leave Obama's statement alone and tread lightly on the issue. Obama shot himself in the foot. Left alone it will fester and bring him down. If Romney digs at it and focuses attention on it, Obama supporters will find a way to heal it.

    May 12, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  13. jim

    Using something as trivial as gay marriage as a means of attacking an opponent smacks of desperation, not something any contender wants to project.

    May 12, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  14. person

    Santorum is wrong. Romney should leave Obama's statement alone and tread lightly on the issue. Obama sh0t himself in the foot. Left alone it will festter and bring him down. If Romney digs at it and focuses attention on it, Obama supporters will find a way to heal it.

    May 12, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  15. zivo24

    Santorum couldn't even get elected by republicans because all he had going for him was his extreme stands on divisive social wedge issues. Now he wants Romney to use his strategy.

    May 12, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  16. gary

    Who's out of touch?

    May 12, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  17. Joe

    Unfortunately Santorum is out of touch with society gays, Blacks, Asians, Mexicanos exists in this world
    Taking cues from a rich and mighty that has 5 children and wears a 70s sweater vest, really...

    May 12, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  18. Wiley

    The GOP must not lose focus on the ECONOMY. Everyday they are not pointing out Obama's economic failures is a day the Obama Crime Family is celebrating. Obama has flip-floped on many issues, gay marriage is just one of them. Stick to the message. The economy-sucks and Obama is inept. Period.

    May 12, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  19. James B.

    Don't listen to Santorum. Not everybody in this country is a Bible thumper. Concentrate on the failed policies of Obama with the economy and foreign policy. Using gay marriage as a weapon is another form of class warfare that we as a people don't need. Leave the class warfare to the Democrats. We, as conservatives, should be above that.

    May 12, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  20. goodhell

    If Mittens endorses Mr. Religous Nutcases' 'potent weapon', he'll only push himself farther from winning.

    May 12, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  21. Matt

    The values of America! Quit telling me what my values are you fascist!

    May 12, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  22. Rooscow

    When will the general public wake up and smell the dog do do? Everything is about "not being in touch with American values" regardless of it's voracity. Just shout it from every mountain top at the top of your lungs and they expect us to believe it. Stop drinking the cool aid.

    May 12, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  23. bcrunner

    Poor Romney! He is trying to move to the center by just repeating his line that he thinks marriage should be between a man and a woman, and then say nothing more, and here comes Santorum pushing him further to the right... This is what happens when you do not show core values.. People will push you and push you... And Satorum is soo wrong when he says this is a "potent weapon". Most of the country actually has evolved over the last 10 years. I have. 10 years ago I would have said no, but I have come to realize how unfair it is and how I am denying other people their rights. Very wrong if we are supposed to live in a country that everyone should have equal rights and equal opportunities to live their lives..

    May 12, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  24. Steve

    Yes, because most of Americans are fundamentalist Christians that want this country to be a theocracy. Please please run on this Mitt.

    May 12, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  25. ML

    Ya got to love it when the losers start giving you advice.

    May 12, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
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