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. vrolick

    Its funny that someone who lost by being extremist is all of a sudden all knowing about how to wind by being extremist.
    I don't get this whole people want stuff argument. We have public programs that most have taken advantage or help protect us , like schools and roads and help during disasters and a giant military just to name a few. Seems like everything that these conservative extremists want to cut out are things that they think they will never use. Republicans have a moment to take back their party from the extremists, lets hope they succeed.

    November 10, 2012 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  2. KewlJoJo

    Did Saintorum have any ideas on why he lost in the primary?

    November 10, 2012 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  3. Harrry Baxter

    If Romney campaigned on what he really believed, he would have lost by 20 points. If Santorum was the nominee and did the same, he would have lost by 30 points.

    November 10, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  4. Roy

    Romney lost because the 47% voted against him.

    November 10, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  5. Claire

    Rick Santorum - the policies that made this country great, the policies that CREATED the middle class in the USA, were the policies of FDR, which Obama well knows. Once you get to a population this size, it's impossible to "small government" your way through. Unless the US splits into several countries, which, let's face it, seems to be possible if not probable.

    November 10, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  6. Joe The Plumber

    Sounds like Santorum is still in denial. How arrogant to think the poor stupid electorate didnt understand the issues. it would never occur to him that they did understand and that is why the GOP got their butt kicked.

    November 10, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  7. Seriously

    It is fundamentalist like Santorum that make the republican party have to go on the defensive... because of all the ignorant and backward statements and gaffs that they make.

    November 10, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  8. Fladabosco

    Romney lost because Americans are tired of the lies. We saw Romney being extremely conservative during the primaries then turn middle of the road at the end. We heard him say he thought 47% of the US are lazy moochers then he handled that very poorly. And we are tired of the religious right both sounding like idiots then winning elections. We in the middle are tired of the war on drugs (that kills many more people than the drugs) and the real wars of the last 10 years. We are tired of the banks ripping everybody off. And we are very tired of the GOP candidates always claiming to lower taxes and spending and debt, but when they get into office they spend and spend and spend.

    November 10, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  9. An Observer

    Romney lost because the majoity of the American voters didn't buy what he was selling. Simple!

    November 10, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  10. Steven Colo

    Unbelievable. After Santorum lost to Romney, partly because the GOP members couldn't see a crazy like Santorum as having a shot, in an election that saw marijuana legalized in two states, gay marriage allowed, and the election of a lesbian Senator, this clown says that the solution would have been for Romney to appear more conservative.

    Let me try to explain this to you so your feeble intellect can understand it, Rick: Romney. Won. The. Conservative. Vote. But. Lost. The. Election.

    November 10, 2012 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  11. Nadia

    Santorum, you will never be President! Your conservative views are just as worst as Romney who he was following the orders of bigotry.

    November 10, 2012 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  12. Michele

    Well, if anyone is an expert on losing it's Santorum. He's such a loser on so many levels.

    November 10, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  13. Maria

    What Santorum and the rest of these GOP clowns don't get is the country is changing, we don't live in a bubble anymore. We cannot be feared into believing garbage anymore. And it will take 4 – 5 more elections until the GOP completely dies off (literally) or they say "oh now I get it."

    November 10, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  14. lgny

    Santorum is the next of a long line of Republican radicals who blame Romney for the loss: "If he had been a truer conservative, we would have won easily!"

    Until they learn that the populace wants moderate centrist candidates - not radicals out to reshape the nation to fit their views - they will continue to drift toward irrelevance.

    Moderates recognize that success comes from balancing polar opposites. Both radical capitalism and radical socialism are bad governance models. A stable society mixes bits from both.

    November 10, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  15. bph

    When the repubs start representing all of the states that elected them and not just one person with a questionable agenda(GROVER NORQUIST), and rich people, then perhaps they can run the country instead on ruining the country............Reagan, Bush Sr. and Clinton raised taxes and we did fine, W came along and pandered to the Norquist and ultra right and we've been going down hill since..............THINK about it people

    November 10, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  16. Curt

    What a joke, one loser trying to explain why another loser lost. Mitt lost because people didn't trust him with all his lies and flip flops. There's too many extreme members of the republican party. The sooner people like Santorum, Trump, Palin, Guiliani, Beck and others learn to keep their extreme opinions to themselves, the sooner the republican party can make a comeback. I think the majority of people are fed up with the hatred and lies.

    November 10, 2012 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  17. ItSoNlYmE

    Ricky, you just don't get it. And like most radical right wing nut cases, you don't *get* that you don't get it. Mitt lost because the GOP's ideas (and I'm being generous in calling them that) don't appeal to most Americans. They don't appeal to hardly *ANY* American who isn't white, gun owning, male, and over 55 years old. Demographics are why Mitt lost. When your ideas don't appeal to minorities (who are the majority), women, and young people, there's no way you're going to win. When someone asks if the dope from your party who made the stone age rape comments won his race, and you have ask "which one?", you're in serious trouble. And you guys are in serious trouble.

    November 10, 2012 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  18. gango

    Cannot let taxes go up. Leave defense spending alone. Sounds like Rick Santorum is in no mood to compromise for the good of the country.

    November 10, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  19. Joe - Wilmington, DE

    Romney lost because of all the nasty baggage (like Santorum, Rove, Aiken, etc...) that comes with the Republican party these days.

    This post by: A professional scientist who has worked and paid taxes for 27 years and has never taken a dimes-worth of government assistance.

    November 10, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  20. Rik

    SanItorium giving his opinion??!! Man!

    November 10, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  21. Thomas E. Shafovaloff

    Another Republican extremist who thinks he knows something and found out how little he actually did – hence where he is now – gall to make pronouncements after his missteps! The fact that media pays attention is alarming! We are looking for great leadership all the time – to elect to lead the country. Not this one.
    Thomas E. Shafovaloff

    November 10, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  22. Ozzie

    You need to go home, Ricky. Your narrow-minded, righteous, intolerant perspective is what the country rejected on Tuesday. A maturing America sent a message to your immaturity.

    November 10, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  23. teo

    Well said 1nsite. Republicans must wake up and join 21st century if they hope to have a prayer in the future. I think they are in shock at the extent of their loss and should stop watching Fox News.

    November 10, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  24. ST

    Romney didn't lose because of defense. The man was not honest. We all knew that he was a millioner, what was wrong to show that he paid his taxes as required in the passed years even if we could have known, what exactly money he possesses? If he didn't pay taxes, why should people trust him and put him forward that he was the person to rectify things especially taxes. He betrayed his party, otherwise they could had nominated someone else who was honest and trustworthy!

    November 10, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  25. tom

    Republicans problem....Stop telling people how to live and mind there own damn business....Gay marriage, Abortion and so on..

    November 10, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
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