November 9th, 2012
05:22 PM ET
1 year ago

Romney lost by playing defense, Santorum says

(CNN) - Former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum offered no insight into his own political future in a Friday CNN interview, but did offer his thoughts as to why the Republican nominee lost to President Barack Obama on Tuesday.

"What Mitt Romney, in my opinion, didn't do was go out and vigorously defend the beliefs that he said he espoused and didn't go on the offense," Santorum said in an interview to air Friday on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight." "And when you're playing defense, which is what I believe the campaign was doing and Republicans were doing generally throughout the course of this campaign you're not going to win.

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"He didn't make it about those two fundamentally different visions for America," he said of Obama's re-election campaign, "and I don't think we did a very good job either as Republicans pointing out those fundamental differences and what type of freedom we're talking about."

Santorum ended his White House bid in April as his chances for the party's nomination dwindled. Among what was once a wide field of Republicans, he came closest to defeating Romney for the nomination.

The interview with CNN's Piers Morgan is to air at 9 p.m. ET on Friday.

Also in the interview, Santorum discussed the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus after he acknowledged an extra-marital affair. Santorum said the affair was "very, very disturbing and shows incredibly poor judgment."

"Obviously an extramarital affair that particularly is one that is not known by your spouse or by others is one that can lead you to a position to be compromised, blackmailed and a whole host of other things," the former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania said. "I mean this is a man who has an incredible about of knowledge and secrets and information that we don't want others to find out about, and if someone who would like to do ill to the United States would find that out or maybe even be involved in the planning of this extramarital affair - you don't know.

"The point is this is not something, this is not a vulnerability that you want your head intelligence person to be engaged in and can not be engaged in such things," Santorum continued.

Santorum spoke hours after the top Republican on Capitol Hill and Obama delivered separate public remarks on the approaching so-called "fiscal cliff," a collection of spending cuts and tax increases scheduled to take effect in the new year absent congressional action to cut the federal deficit. Santorum said it is the responsibility of both parties in Washington "to do business" and find a solution.

"We have to deal with this situation - we can not let taxes increase, we can't see these kinds of really damaging defense cuts in such a precipitous amount in a very short period of time," Santorum said. "No, there has to be some sort of agreement worked out, but I don't think Republicans, particularly House Republicans, should be in a position that they're going to just do whatever the president wants."

And he stayed mum on whether or not he would make a second bid for the White House in 2016.

"I don't intend to do anything right now other than spend the little time working to make sure that we don't walk away from the very principles that made our country great," Santorum said, citing projects including his political committee.

Watch Piers Morgan Live weeknights 9 p.m. ET. For the latest from Piers Morgan click here.


Filed under: David Petraeus • Rick Santorum • TV-Piers Morgan
soundoff (121 Responses)
  1. Carol Johnson

    If Santorum was so smart and knows all about the campaign of Romney and yet he lost to Romney, so that makes him much dumber than Romney and yet he wants to tell the world why Romney lost!!!
    Why did he lose to Romney if he is so smart and knows all about the reason Romney lost!!
    He is no different than any Monday morning coach that knows why any team lost on Sunday!!!

    November 10, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  2. mfstout

    It's tough to play offense when you keep changing the playbook.

    November 10, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  3. Martha Fedoriw

    Santorum's opinion matters only to the lunatic right. Add Trump there too. The lunati right will never capture enough votes to stay relevant – so why are we even bothering?
    Let's discuss what matters now – how do we move forward.

    November 10, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  4. Papa

    Santorum is a nut job. Maybe if the GOP had someone running Obama would have been defeated. Just look at who was running. Cain,Paul, Gingrich, Santorum, Bachman to name a few. All of them losers.

    November 10, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  5. ReasonableXX

    So Romney loses because he could not separate himself from the extremists in his party and Santorum's delusion is that he should have been more extreme?

    November 10, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  6. Syed

    Well, now GOP has till 2016 to dig for President Obamas birth certificate and transcript.Sice Mitt can't run any more he can help his buddy Donald to look for what they believed, which part of the reason he lost....

    November 10, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  7. nick

    If Santorum and the Republican Party refuse to see the "real" reasons on why they lost, they will become even more marginalized next go around.
    Theyre base of Evangelicans and white men will not do and by just putting Rubio or Bush for the Hisanic vote alone will fall short.
    But hey keep it up, that way the Dems could finally straighten this county out

    November 10, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  8. waukone

    He lost because a majority of people don't like the republican policies. He lost because no one knew what his real agenda was. He lost because he thought corporations were people and 47% of the population was freeloaders. He lost because he has old policies that haven't worked for 30 years (Tinkle down yellow economics).

    November 10, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  9. Subin

    Santorum was right, during the primaries he said Romney is the worst and the weakest republican maybe he can add karl rove, cheney, Bush etc to make the list of worst republicans look good.

    November 10, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  10. Dale

    I'm an independent Republican, and I didn't vote for Romney. Why? Because Romney was planning to hand out tax cuts like free candy, and evaded explaining how he would pay for it (at best - more likely he had no real plan). This is what Bush did when he came in to office - pass tax cuts but no matching spending cuts, and I wasn't going to support that. Other issues that Romney supposedly supported: health care repeal, gun rights, and illegal immigration enforcement. However, as governor here in Massachusetts Romney of course passed the prototype for Obamacare, was proud to sign an 'Assault Weapons Ban' despite the 2nd Amendment, and left 'sanctuary' cities throughout the state for illegal immigrants. No thanks! I'm no Obama fan, but better the devil we know than this ambitious Etch-A-Sketch.

    November 10, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  11. CdnJim

    I hope the President acts like someone who just won a second mandate from the people. The Republicans who want to block any forward movement of the country should be held up to the light of day for the obstructionists they are. Keep the tax cuts on the middle class, and raise taxes on the wealthy. That's what the majoriy of the country wants you to do Mr. President. If the Republicans want to force the country off a cliff, then name them and have them voted out in 2 or 4 years.

    November 10, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  12. LakeRat1

    Romney lost because he had to suck up to mean spirited, religous wack jobs like Santorum, in order to get the nomination. Then, to attempt to win the election, he had to do the etch-a-sketch thing, in order to look like a normal person. Nobody in the GOP could have done it any other way and been successful. He almost pulled it off, except that the necessary inconsistancy was impossible to conceal, and made Romney look like a used car salesman (appologies!).
    If Santorum wanted to explain Ronmey's loss, he should have held up a large picture of himself!
    When will the Reps learn that you can't use extremist religion to herd enough sheep to win elections. At the rate thing are going, I think the Taliban may learn this lesson first!

    November 10, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  13. Ryan

    I would like to note that not every follower of the Christian faith is a far right conservative. I voted for BO (twice) and have been a democrate for many years. While not everything on the Dems view of the world is to my liking or to that of my faith, I don't believe that you can legislate morality and I understand that our nation was founded on freedom OF religion – even if that means no religion, which is of course a religion all its own. The true teachings of Jesus are so far removed from the republican platform that the biggest question of our time should be, what has happened to the moderate republican?

    November 10, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  14. Kim

    Romney lost by losing people like my husband. He's voted Republican for the 36 years I've known him. He's tired of the extremists in his party and hates what it's become. He's a loving Christian, family man, veteran, and this election he voted straight Democrat. He believes not in small government but one that works. The Republicans are done when they lose men like this.

    November 10, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  15. David

    Romney lost because he is not a believable person. Those who watched the two candidates chose the one who seemed genuine and that they believed cared about them. Most rational Americans are tired of the partisan bickering, the attempts to shove religion down our collective throats, the imposition of old white haired mens' opinions on health issues, war mongering, and this belief that taxes are evil. Taxes provide us civilization! If the GOP hadn't spent 4 years being so racist they might have had a chance. I for one am sick of the subtle and not so subtle messages of racial hate for the POTUS.

    November 10, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  16. CedarRapids

    "myviewis

    People were going to vote for Obama regardless of what Gov. Romney did or said, these people wanted to continue getting freebies and see the Bush-era tax cuts come to an end, see small business get higher taxes and see those that make $250K plus pay higher taxes and continue to think that they are getting free insurance with Obamacare."

    Thats why you lost, because you insist on making stupid sweeping generalizations about people.

    November 10, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  17. jordans

    Romney lost because of his past business, dealings, his everchanging belief system, the GOP platform, and because as Rick Santorum himself put it, "the smart people will never be on our side".

    November 10, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  18. philojazz

    "What Mitt Romney, in my opinion, didn't do was go out and vigorously defend the beliefs that he said he espoused and didn't go on the offense," Santorum said in an interview to air Friday on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight.

    Well, Mr Santorum should know about offense, as most of what he said during the primary process was very OFFENSIVE.

    November 10, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  19. thomas

    this is coming from a man that lost his own election in his own state he is totally out in right field and is completely out of touch with America he is only dealing with people who think and believe what he does.
    He is sorounded by people just like him and thinks this is normal he is SO VERY out of touch with the real America it is unbelievable

    November 10, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  20. Michael Q

    Not only did Romney lose the States he was associated in the past: Utah (the Mormon vote), Michigan & Ohio (auto vote), New Hampshire (vacation home), and Massachusetts (health care, job creation, debt and home residence), but also Santorum's home State where Rick was once a somebody leader. I think that says it all for the ideology of the current Conservative GOP Party and their two leading candidates. Don't get me started on the boy-wonder Paul Ryan who couldn't deliver his own home State either! The American Taliban was defeated without a shot being fired, so to speak.

    November 10, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  21. jorge washinsen

    Romney lost because Obama's voting base, by sucking on the welfare system and demanding more, has become a mojority.Just as simple as that.

    November 10, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
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