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. Citizen

    The notion that if only Romney had stayed on "offense" unabashedly declaring the conservative agenda as the true path for the best interest of the country rings hollow. Romney could have communicated better – well so could have Obama. Collectively, we have given the President more time to work on the problems at hand. How will doubling down on the traditional conservative agenda address the hopes and needs of America – everyone together – Haven't we just had women , african americans and hispanics tell us that they matter?

    November 10, 2012 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  2. Brad

    Romney lost because he spent more time talking about telling people what he was going to make them do with their bodies and in the bedroom and less time telling them how he was going to fix the economy. People want the personal freedom to do what they want in their own lives without the govt telling them no. The Reps need to spend less time on gay marriage and abortion and more time on economy and jobs.

    November 10, 2012 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  3. some guy in New Hampshire

    Jeez, Mr. Senator Who Lost His Senate Re-election Bid by 19 Points: proudly espousing beliefs in hard right positions didn't exactly run the table for the right wing last Tuesday. The current incarnation of the GOP isn't conservative, it's reactionary - and there aren't enough reactionaries in the US to support a major political party.

    November 10, 2012 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  4. UncleBenny

    "Romney, in my opinion, didn't do was go out and vigorously defend the beliefs that he said he espoused "

    And which beliefs were those? The problem with Romney is that it was impossible to know WHAT he believed. His "beliefs" seemed to change every time his audience changed. Will the real Mitt Romney please stand up?

    November 10, 2012 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  5. Aaron

    A growing MAJORITY of Americans reject the very beliefs ex-Senator Santorum is referring to. We don't like socially regressive and divisive policies. If the Republicans Party wants to recover, they need to embrace a platform of strong fiscal restraint coupled with a socially progressive agenda. The party must largely abandon the religious right and move on. We need "Rockefeller Republicans" not extremists.

    November 10, 2012 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  6. Jt_flyer

    Haven't the American people taught this irrelevant man anything?

    WHEN ALL YOU HAVE IS A HAMMER, EVERYTHING ELSE LOOKS LIKE A NAIL.

    Go away Santorum. Go far away. You're ruining your party. But you don't care. You have your own personal agenda.

    November 10, 2012 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  7. Rickirs

    Romney didn't play defense when be beat Ricky and all the other candidates. And he didn't play defense against Obama with a $500 million war chest and getting 45% of the American vote. Maybe the real story is that in the final analysis Romney was no different than Ricky in his electability – right wing extremist having no relevance to the majority of th US.

    November 10, 2012 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  8. WillB

    It won't happen but it could be a lot of fun to read: Santorum explains why Santorum is a loser (yeah I know Palin says he's a knuckle dragging Neadrathal as well but that only explains part of his problem).

    November 10, 2012 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  9. michael

    these conservatives still think that its the delivery of the message that is flawed that they need to be more aggressive in its explanation and delivery. its really just the message that smells and most people with common sense and a brain continue to rejects THE MESSAGE. fyi it doesnt help that santorum is a nut job

    November 10, 2012 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  10. GI Joe

    We all should have voted for romney because the wealthy need to keep receivng their freebies, corporations (with billions in profits) need those subsidies, and we should never be allowed to have freedom of, for, or from religion.

    We're all dumber than republicans.

    NOT!!!!!

    Boy, that Santorum is really a genius isn't he? ha ha h ha ha ha ha ha ha

    November 10, 2012 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  11. 40acres

    Rick is in denial. The Romney campaign was on defense most of the time because of something Romney or someone else in the Republican party had said or done......they couldn't just ignore those things. And they never went on offense because they had no plays in their playbook except "i'm better than THAT guy". The American people wanted to know why and he couldn't tell them.

    November 10, 2012 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  12. Paul

    The Republicans lost because they are out of touch with reality.

    November 10, 2012 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  13. Freebie Beebie

    He lost because I can get moe free stuff from Obama!! He is the free stuff King of the World!!!

    November 10, 2012 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  14. Dave - Phx

    No Santorum you lost because you are a bunch of whack jobs whose only god is money.

    November 10, 2012 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  15. mark

    The man has no beliefs . Except money for himself

    November 10, 2012 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  16. Capn Kirk

    Its not unusual for the #2 guy to be the next candidate running four years later. Romney and his positions were too conservative and the right for us in 2012, so Mr Santorum is giving us a good indication the Dems can win again in 2016

    November 10, 2012 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  17. Hall for Obama

    He lost because he lied alot alot. He must learn to love every one no matter what color they are, he will not be white only president he will be every one president women too.

    November 10, 2012 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  18. Sid

    Santorum is not giving the full answer. THe problem is the fiscal conservatives felt they had to embrace the evangelical vote and did so by making these idiotic claims against abortion and gay marraige. Obama's team played up those aspects very well in the GE and won on the backs of it. It's time for Republicans to get the hell out of people's personal lives and play to their strengths.

    November 10, 2012 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  19. David In NC

    I voted for Obama and I do not rely on the feds for anything. It is easy to persuade the uneducated to believe that all of their problems are the result of the poor and needy.Very few small business will be affected by this tax increase. These tax rates are the same rates that we had before Bush and we had a booming economy and the largest budget surplus in the history of our country. Facts don't lie. The republicans will continue to sell their snake oil and sadly some still believe in it.

    November 10, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  20. Felipe

    This guy is still in deep Denial. If they continue like this they will fail again in the next election. I really hope the republican party reinvents itself and alligns better to the realities of the world so next election we have a better candidate and more options to consider when casting our vote

    November 10, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  21. jw

    If the republicans want my vote back. they need to get rid of these goofy policys, grover n...and run sensable people. who want to build a stronger middle class and modern nation that works together for all classes of people .

    November 10, 2012 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  22. Pavoter

    Santorum always know best. That's why he got kicked out of PA. Keep him around and there is no hope for the GOP !

    November 10, 2012 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  23. Strategic Bob

    as ever, Rick Santorum has shown that he just does not get it. The radical right, fundamentalist religious nuts do not offer America what it wants or needs. We need rational, effective and fiscally responsible governance provided by government that sticks to the right issues. Government has no business getting into anyone's bedroom, unless there is a real crime going on in there – rape, child abuse, and so forth, but what consenting adults do in private is nobody's business. We need to collect enough in taxes to pay for the goods and services that the nation needs from the public sector. The "don't tax but spend like drunken sailors" Republicans are insane on this point. But ifthe Republicans can't come to their senses, then let them slide into irrelevance. They won't be the first political party to end up on the trash heap of history. Actually, that can't come soon enough.

    November 10, 2012 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  24. Lucinda

    Romney and Ryan were always saying, "We have a plan".......HOWEVER, they would not go into that "plan". They just expected the voters to go blindly along with "their plan". If you want my vote, TELL ME ALL OF YOUR PLAN. Do not expect me to just buy a pig in a poke. Romney should have been more forthcoming. He also was so awkward when trying to appear "just a regular guy". He came across as a phony and that is what he IS. As for Ryan? He always has a smirk on his face that I would like to remove. I have heard many other people say this too, so it is not just me.

    November 10, 2012 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  25. jim atmad

    This is great news. The longer Republicans keep refusing to take an honest look at why they lost, the better for the Dems.

    The reason Mitt Romney and all of those Republican Senate candidates lost wasn't because we didn't understand what they really stood for.

    The GOP suffered these massive defeats because we DO understand what they stand for.

    November 10, 2012 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
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