July 31st, 2012
06:31 PM ET
2 years ago

Santorum defends Romney's trip, expects convention speaking slot

(CNN) - Former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania defended Mitt Romney's recent overseas trip for its overall strength Tuesday and stated he expected to receive a speaking slot at the upcoming Republican National Convention.

Interviewed by CNN's senior correspondent Joe Johns on "The Situation Room," Santorum put aside their bitter Republican primary battles to laud Romney's support of U.S. allies.

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"I think the long-term take from this is one that we can go out and made the differentiation between what a world under Mitt Romney and a Republican administration would be versus the tattered relationships that we have with some of out best and longest and strongest allies," Santorum said, criticizing what he says is Obama's lack of support for key allies, including Great Britain, Israel and Poland-the three countries Romney visited on his week-long foreign tour.

Asked to weigh in on Romney's 'culture' comments he made at a fund-raiser in Jerusalem, which sparked criticism from top Palestinian leaders, Santorum not only supported Romney's remarks but made clear his own view on the issue.

Romney, speaking to a group of high-dollar donors earlier this week, said higher personal wealth among citizens in Israel was an indication that the country was accomplishing something its neighbors, namely the Palestinians, were not.

Of the comment, Santorum said, "Well, I would just say that, you know, the facts are the facts."

"The facts that the Israelis have a dynamic marketplace, they've put together just like we did in this country based upon our values, based upon our culture, we put together laws that allow for freedom that allow for people to be able to reap the fruits of their labor, for equality, and people would be able to go out and prosper," said Santorum.

He continued, "And I think what you've seen in the Palestinian authority is not that. You see a society that is based on a very different set of values and structures and is not as successful. I think that's the point he was trying to make."

Romney, however, has since clarified his remarks saying that his comments were not criticizing the Palestinians. Romney instead blamed the media for focusing on the topic rather than more important issues facing American citizens.

Santorum confirmed that he has not been asked to speak at this August's Republican National Convention, though he's certain that invitation will come and he will play a major role.

"I have no doubt that we'll have some role at the convention. And as you they haven't announced any speakers other than Chris Christie as the keynote. I will do my best to be helpful in the cause," said Santorum.

As mentioned by Santorum in the interview, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been reportedly slotted to speak at the convention in a headline role, although, the Republican National Committee tells CNN that no announcement have been made regarding convention speakers.

Santorum also defended the candidate on not releasing more of his tax returns - a walk-back from previous demands made in January during the primary season where he hounded the candidate to release more returns. Romney has released his 2010 tax returns and an estimate for 2011.

But now Santorum says that Romney has released what's required and he would not weigh in on the politics of the matter. Santorum then pivoted to what he called a double-standard regarding the pressure Romney has received to release his taxes and the lack of transparency overall from the Obama administration.

Of the possibility of Romney-Santorum ticket and whether the Republican feels slighted that he has not been mentioned as a possible VP pick, Santorum said he has, in fact, been vetted–but informally.

With a laugh, the former candidate says the Romney campaign knows everything there is to know about him and his campaign, a by-product of the contentious primary season wherein the dueling campaigns unleashed harsh rhetoric against the other in hopes of reigning in front-runner status.

"I think they know more about me than just anybody. And, you know, look, when you're in the ring and slugging away, they know everything about us," said Santorum.

Despite this support, Santorum has not always been such a gracious surrogate of the presumptive nominee. Throughout the primary season Santorum said Romney would be "the worst Republican in the country to put against Barack Obama."

Asked in a June interview with CNN's John King if he now "trusts" the presumptive GOP nominee Santorum said, "Well, I trust him more than I do Barack Obama."

Santorum suspended his campaign in April, ceding control of the Republican race to Romney.

– CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report

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soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. enuff

    Did he say that with a straight face?

    July 31, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  2. roseshelly07@gmail.com

    Palin is a excellent candidate for Ramney, two of them together are more entertaining.

    August 1, 2012 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  3. Lmb

    Don't hold your breath while waiting for a speaking slot, Rick!

    August 1, 2012 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  4. Melo-D

    Santorum knows nothing of facts. The guy is as clueless as Bachmann. The only reason is wasn't laughed off the GOP stage is because the field was so weak this year.

    August 1, 2012 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  5. dubya.

    Romney is hated everywhere

    August 1, 2012 05:03 am at 5:03 am |
  6. GI Joe

    Too funny. Romney praised Poland - he didn't even google Poland or he would have known that they have socialized medicine (like our medicare), and their unemployment is right at 12%. He THINKS THAT IS GOOD?

    Maybe he was just pandering to the wealthy in that country like he panders to the wealthy everywhere he goes. Little people don't matter to him at all.

    August 1, 2012 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
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