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. Squigman

    I'll bet when the hand shaking stopped, both counted their fingers. A good example of when two crooks meet.

    July 31, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  2. Jane

    I'm torn. On the one hand, Romney and Santorum in the White House would pretty much spell the end of the civilized world as we know it. On the other hand, picking Santorum would guarantee Romney wouldn't win – – pretty sure the voters with a brain in their head and a heart in their chest still outnumber the ignorant, narrowminded, xenophobic, wildly hypocritical sheep suffering from low to no self esteem in our country. At least I pray this is true....

    July 31, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  3. DRAKE MALLARD

    Rick Santorum is the anti-gay, anti-abortion anti-womyn, anti-science. Who is running on these social issues. Never mind health reform or jobs. Or anything important or non-discriminatory, for that matter. He does not understand that there is a Separation of church and state.the federal endorsement of a deity or religion violates the united states constitution

    July 31, 2012 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  4. Former Republican, now an Independent

    This merely shows that Santorum will sell out what he believes for a price. The entire GOP knows this trip has been a "boondoggle" from the beginning. Every campaign donor should demand their money back due to funding this vacation for the Romney's.

    July 31, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  5. DRAKE MALLARD

    Santorum: "Romney 'worst Republican in the country' to put up against Obama"

    July 31, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  6. Darryl

    Rick Santorum is a physcopath and it makes me wonder how he got elected to such a high level goverment job. He really is a sick man with his vision of life and the things he has said. It amazes me people like him and a few others like Bachmann ect are allowed to create and promote a society that inspires Hate and violence and use the word of GOD while doing so.

    July 31, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  7. Thomas

    I just hope he wears theta cute tradmark sweater !

    Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum should stop thinking with his ego and go home and learn how to be a Father.
    There more to parenting then just having 6 kids .

    July 31, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  8. California Gary

    After the way Romney steamrolled him in the primaries, I'm really surprised that Santorum is willing to say one kind word about the man. Right about now, I would think Santorum and Gingrich both would be out there saying "told you so"......

    July 31, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  9. Bill

    Maybe they can line up Chuck Norris and Ted Nugent too.

    July 31, 2012 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  10. Russ

    If Republicans are smart they won't be letting this radical right winger speak anywhere. Do they not realize why he didn't win the nomination? Do they not remember what Palin and Bachmann did for them last year? Like help them lose the election.

    July 31, 2012 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  11. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Sure... Why not? Support the worst Republican candidate ever... The clown that trashed you in the primaries. Maybe Mitt will show YOU his taxes!

    July 31, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  12. PJ

    "Santorum defends Romney's trip, expects convention speaking slot"
    ***'
    Best headline today. Sold his soul for a speaking slot. Way to go Sanctimonious. This is one Convention I look
    forward to missing.

    July 31, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  13. GonzoinHouston

    Rick's entire program is to position himself as "next in line" in 2016. If Romney wins in 2012 it would push Snatorum's shot back to 2020, so he would just as soon see Romney lose. Which loss he may contribute to if his speech at the convention, which Romney MUST give him, is only a tepid endorsement.

    July 31, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  14. Grading Romney on a curve

    Santorum who?

    July 31, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  15. John the Historian

    Santorum the extreme right-winged Catholic aligned with the non-christian mormon cult follower. What a joke they both are. Santorum going to his Catholic purgatory and Willard going to the planet kolob after the November election.

    July 31, 2012 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  16. Has Mittens "RETROACTIVELY RETIRED" as the GOVERNOR of MA back to before he signed ROMNEYCARE???

    "the tattered relationships that we have with some of out best and longest and strongest allies,"

    Doofus must have been watching FOX and missed the Brits coronation of Mittens as "Mitt the Twit" by one of our "strongest allies" including his Anglo-Saxon heritage.

    Not good optics for a man feeling entitled to be the "leader" of the free world.

    Hard for ANYONE to look up to a "leader" that is dubbed "Mitt the Twit" on the international stage. Who would ever take him seriously?

    Mittens was just missing the helmet and tank for props, but the effect is the same. He looked ridiculous.

    And Robme's case will be bolstered SSSOOOO much by this mental midget light weight saying "good job Mit", you 'betcha!

    July 31, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  17. Udumaga ijomanta

    It is amazing that the strength of hostility, out weighs common sense. What is at stake here.? Or egos. Rick is fully aware more than most ,how unsitutable mitt Romney is .As a young AMerican my out look is futurist ,enough of his entitled mentality and more of the unity that encompasses us.

    July 31, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  18. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Not a ringing endorsement from the sound of it...

    July 31, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  19. GI Joe

    Oh Lord – a sermon from AnOTHER hypocrit. Maybe he'll go for a lapdance in the secure tent instead.

    They ARE setting up a tent for lapdancers so they can secure it with secret service people that our taxes pay. Go figure.

    July 31, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  20. CRAIG

    How unusual....a far right radical Republican defending Romney. How very unusual.

    July 31, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  21. capri winton

    I am for romney/santorum ticket

    July 31, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  22. The Elephant In The Room

    Can`t wait to see Rick` rousing endorsement of "The Absolute WORST CANDIDATE" the Republican party could pick.

    I hope Team Obama has the commercial with his remarks already made and that they run it right after he gives his speech at the convention. Then the voice over says "Mitt Romney will say anything . . . take any position . . . to get elected; and APPARENTLY, so will Rick Santorum. Don`t fall for the revisionist hype"!

    Democrats, take the gloves OFF! Run this ad.

    July 31, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  23. John

    Mr. Santorum was not reading the same news reports I was about Mr. Romney's visit overseas.

    July 31, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  24. dreamer96

    Can you say open GOP convention....Mitt Romney could only get 25% of the GOP to vote for him when nobody else was on the ballet..Mitt only took in 95,000 votes for all of New York State....

    July 31, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  25. migeli

    The Israelis have a very successful culture allright.If I could start a country and get billions of dollars in U.S. aid I could start a very successful culture myself.

    July 31, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
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