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. Dennis Freeman

    Couples of things. No one needs to take advice from a loser, and Santorum is but one shining example of why the Tea Party/GOP lost by pushing Romney in the wrong direction during the primaries. He never recovered. But, hey I hope Santorum is their nominee in 2016.

    November 10, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  2. Bessy

    If the Republican Party wants to get their act together they will stop listening to idiots like Rick Santorum, and, Limbaugh, Hannity,O 'Reilly , McCain, Perry, Rove, Palin, etc. The only way they will ever get anywhere is to get rid of these people as their spoke persons.

    November 10, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  3. Kurt

    It's shocking that people like Santorum still believe that by pushing an ultra conservative, tea party led, agenda would in any way appeal to this nation. These guys still don't get it. We've had an election and their ideas lost. This nation is more than rich white guys. If the Republican party doesn't cut off people like Santorum and other extremists, they will continue to lose in elections.

    November 10, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  4. Meemee

    I I think that many Americans associate Republicans with the Tea Party, to the far right religious conservatives and to the nutty people who consider Fox News the only unbiased mainstream media source. The best thing the GOP can do, is distance themselves from these groups. I think that they will attract many more voters.

    November 10, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  5. Murray

    If the Republican party does not put the likes of Santorum and Bachman to the side of the curb with the rest of the evangelical crazies, then they clearly have no right to be governing anyone. Romney capitulated to these fringe lunatics and it could be argued he paid the justifiable price. Extremism(right or left) in anything is dangerous, particularly religion. And unfortunately Christianity has it's own brand. America needs to keep this as far away from politics as it possibly can.
    And Piers Morgan needs to stop giving them air time.

    November 10, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  6. bummed

    Romney was a good man, made the case for change, fought above the fray, and would have made a really, really good president. What a shame. This country has serious problems. We had the guy who could have made the real change we desperately need. For those who have never lived in Greece, Spain, Italy ... no sweat, Europe's coming to you. I shudder to think where we'll be in 2016.

    November 10, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  7. Jules

    There wasn't one person running in the GOP primary, with the exception of Jon Huntsman, that wouldn't have been playing defense. Romney was the biggest flip flopper of them all, to be sure, and that brought a lot of ad material pointing out that Romney was not to be trusted. Until the GOP stops holding their candidates to some far right litmus test they will continue to lose.

    November 10, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  8. Frank Vanis

    Big talk from a small man. A man who was rejected by the people of his own state for being too far to the right and dangerous. Santorum has more in common with the Mullahs of Iran than he has with the average American. The GOP lost because during the election they showed their true face and that face was only white. Perhaps they should remember we are made of all colors and religions not just those who are on the sort list of GOP approval.

    November 10, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  9. SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

    America will never elect another Republican President. NEVER!

    November 10, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  10. mccainin4

    Mr Romney lost because he chose Paul Ryan AND the Republican Party is collapsing. Paul Ryan was an entertaining choice to make, and did the perfect job of signaling Mitt Romney's fiscal bona fides. It was TOO perfect. Paul Ryan never did pass the smile test when you think about compromise and respect towards other's positions. I have said over and over again – if Paul Ryan couldn't bring up Romney's poll numbers BEFORE the convention, Mitt Romney had to dump him in favor of another Vice President and allow Paul Ryan to be Mitt's choice for Speaker of the House. I believe my actual words were along the lines of Paul Ryan leading the budget effort, but, in hindsight, Boehner would have been a better choice as VP candidate and have Paul Ryan ascend to leadership. Besides, it would have been cool to watch Mr Boehner lording it over the Senate after what's happened over the past few years...

    November 10, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  11. SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

    Let this be the beginning of the reign of DEMOCRATS in the White House forever,

    November 10, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  12. JacinJax

    Santorum is like most republicans and are doubling down again. Why don't they just step back take a breath and stop being the party of No. America used to be governed by Statemen now we're stuck with brats having temper tantrums who won't accept that America doesn't want them in charge.

    November 10, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  13. Philip

    Santorum is a complete fool. I have no patience for fools.

    November 10, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  14. Thinking Texan

    let me guess bucko.

    The reason Romney lost is the same reason YOU, Rick Santorum (and your FOX friends Palin, Newt, and Cain) lost.
    Obviously!

    Get with Rove when he returns from Republistan.
    He will be smuggling a gipper dose of reality, and a plump glut of repub repair sauce to fix your soul.

    November 10, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  15. BostonBob

    Many people were fed up with Obama but the Republican Party blew this big time by pushing daddy warbucks on us.

    Seriously – a plutocrat with the baggage that Romney had? He had no chance of winning once people understood who and what he was.

    November 10, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  16. jennifer in Houston

    Romney lost because the country did not want a "severe" conservative. Amazing that folk like Santorum can't comprehend that there are not enough people who subscribe to "right wing" politics. Let's hope Santorum runs again it will be another victory for democrats. Of course if Boehner, Cantor and the other right wing slime in the House continue to block progress and cause us to slip back in recession the Republicans will be out for a generation.

    November 10, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  17. mccainin4

    The fact that both mainstream political parties are suffering (and the GOP is collapsing) from the rise in independent and No-Party-Affilliation really show why we had a choice in current leadership vs single-minded groupthink. I have been locked out of voting in primary elections from day 1 because the wacky visions of BOTH parties are unattractive. Open up the primaries and allow independents or opposite party members help decide what WE COLLECTIVELY WANT in a leader. But only allow people to vote ONE ticket – GOP, democrats, libertarians, green party, etc, etc, on & on.

    By the way, back in 2008, John McCain & Barack Obama – there were no bad choices. Couldn't say as much about the choice in 2004 & 2000.

    November 10, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  18. Tatem

    Romney lost because A) He's a Republican. B) He wanted to get rid of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 which makes it possible for women to "earn" the same pay as men for the same "work" they do in any industry. C) The Republican's have gone so "wack on crack" with the religious right wing nuts...that any American would run for the hills just to get away from them. Go Obama! Keep on rock'n the free world!

    November 10, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  19. Jeff O'Dette

    Go away. There is not a person on this earth who cares what you have to say.

    November 10, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  20. lloyd roberts

    Santorum says, "we had to tell what type of freedom we're talking about". That's the point. If you are a true limited government conservative which Santorum is not, you are talking about all freedoms. With fake born again conservatives like Santorum, it's certain freedoms? Like what, letting church's stay tax free when the are politically active. What, the freedom to have religions decide out laws. The freedom that only white men can grant freedom to everyone eles. If you're a true conservative, all freedoms are involved. Moron

    November 10, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  21. Santex

    Should Mr Santorum decide to run again perhaps he will achieve the same level of support that he gave. Ooops, that wouldn't be so good now would it?

    November 10, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  22. Anonymous

    Republicans keep talking like you're talking now and there won't be a Grand Old Party in 2016. One assumes that both Dems and Gopers will be putting white candidates on the ticket in 2016. And funny how it works out, but the same people who voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012 will once again be voting in 2016. All these "freebie" insults you all think are so hilarious now won't be forgotten. And all those other white people who either sat home and didn't vote or voted for the other guy simply because Obama wasn't white enough for them? They'll be voting Democratic again.

    November 10, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  23. annieL

    Obama won because most Americans are realists. They know that our economic system is stacked against them and that only the government can level the playing field. They know you can work two jobs and still not get ahead. They know you can work for a company for 25 years and still get laid off. They know that everything they've worked for can disappear if they get seriously ill or injured and don't have insurance with guaranteed benefits. They know they can't send their children to college, save enough for retirement and care for elderly parents without some help. Republicans' answer to all the realities of working people's lives was tax cuts, repeal Obamacare, and start your own business. Thank goodness "real" Americans said that's not good enough.

    November 10, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  24. SokrMom

    Believe me, Romney and way too many other Republican candidates, pundits and voters said a great deal that was highly OFFENSIVE!

    November 10, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  25. essmeier

    These people still don't get it. They think the problem is poor messaging, when the real problem is that people don't like their poor message.

    November 10, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
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