February 28th, 2012
06:05 PM ET
11 years ago

Michigan mischief: ‘A deal with the devil’

Dearborn Heights, Michigan (CNN) – A longtime liberal radio host asking Democratic listeners to vote for Rick Santorum in Michigan's Republican primary told CNN Tuesday he loves making mischief.

After spending nearly all of his three hour program encouraging Democrats to get out and vote for Santorum Tuesday, Tony Trupiano made no apologies for his behavior.

CNN LIVE: Tune in tonight at 6 p.m. ET for live coverage of the Arizona and Michigan primaries and follow real-time results on CNNPolitics.com, on the CNN apps and on the CNN mobile web site. Follow CNN Politics on Facebook and on Twitter at #cnnelections.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

"Because Rick Santorum is doing as well as he is doing here in the polls, we could actually take some serious delegates away from him [Mitt Romney]," Trupiano said. "What that really does is it gives America a little more time to get to know these candidates. And don't for a minute tell me we haven't learned a lot more about all of them in the last six weeks. What more can we learn six weeks from now?"

It turns out many Democrats in this state don't need a lot of convincing to engage in this kind of strategic voting.

At a polling station in Dearborn Heights, Crystal Larson said her vote for Santorum made her "feel like I made a deal with the devil."

"Voting for Santorum goes against everything I believe in and everything I've ever stood for in my life and to vote for him takes a lot of guts I think," Larson said.

She said she hadn't received any of the robo calls, but heard about the Democratic effort in the media and decided to vote for Santorum at the last minute.

Gary Zulinski, also voting in Dearborn Heights, said, "I was listening and Democrats were asked to us come and I said 'Why not, this is my way of voting.' That's my right. There are so many people who don't exercise that right. This is my way of saying 'Hey, I've had enough.'"

Democratic stagiest Joe DiSano has been on an active campaign to get Democrats out for Santorum in effort to hurt Romney. He recorded a robo call and has sent tens of thousands of e-mails to Democratic voters encouraging them to go to the polls.

"We are turning them out and feel we can provide a massive jolt and scare to the GOP establishment here in the state and in Washington, DC. When we are done they’ll be taking Pepto Bismol by the gallon at the RNC," DiSano told CNN Tuesday.

"If Romney were able to close the deal, a religious fanatic like Rick Santorum would not have a chance in a state like Michigan. And I'm going to do everything I can to make sure Santorum turns out to be the winner tonight," he said.

DiSano said Democratic Party officials aren't encouraging him, but not discouraging him either.

In fact the state's Democratic Party chairman Mark Brewer said his organization wasn't endorsing the effort, but that crossover votes have a long history in the Wolverine State.

Brewer said the effort was not organized by his group, but that similar efforts have been a tradition in Michigan for decades.

Trupiano, who is working with DiSano to target Democrats ahead of Tuesday's primary vote, said the effort could undermine Mitt Romney in his home state.

DiSano said Tuesday he had 14,000 commitments from Democrats to vote for Santorum, all from the robo calls and e-mails he has sent.

"It's not dirty tricks, it's not our official policy," Brewer said. "We think Democrats should nominate Democrats, Republicans should nominate Republicans, but in Michigan there's been almost a tradition of this for 50 years. People have crossed over."

Some in Michigan credit Democrats for delivering Michigan for John McCain in 2000 in effort to hobble George W. Bush, the Republican frontrunner that year.

Seventeen percent of voters who identified themselves as Democrats voted in the 2000 Republican primary. Eighty five percent of those went for John McCain, who won Michigan by little more than 100,000 votes in a surprising victory over Bush.

Brewer added, "We wish they wouldn't do it but it's gonna happen."

Romney's standing in Michigan was already weak, Brewer said.

"The only reason we are talking about this crossover vote is because Romney is so weak. He should be winning this election today hands down," Brewer said.

Trupiano said the Democratic effort was fair, despite the fact that Tuesday's contest is designed for Republicans to choose their nominee.

"I don't care that this is a Republican primary," Trupiano said. "It's an American election."

The radio host also conceded the Michigan Democrats' effort to injure Romney's standing would likely not take down the candidate entirely.

"I don't think we are going to be able to stop him, but we can certainly hurt him," Trupiano said. "I have no problem doing it and I have no problem admitting that."

Response from listeners has already been strong, Trupiano said.

"This morning it's been call after call after call from listeners saying, 'I'm voting for Rick Santorum,'" he said.

Santorum himself caused a stir by recording his own robo call asking Democrats to vote for him.

Ironically, Trupiano said he actually got that call from Santorum.

"It was a robo call but it was in his voice saying, 'Please vote for me tomorrow.'"

"Did you almost fall over?" CNN asked.

"I did fall over. I was like no way!"

Also see:

Romney's special guest: Kid Rock

Romney hits Santorum robo calls as 'new low' in campaign

Gingrich zeroes in on Santorum in the South

Santorum robo call to Democrats: Send a message to Romney

Filed under: 2012 • Michigan • Rick Santorum
soundoff (276 Responses)
  1. Sorensen

    It does not really matter whether Sanatorium or Romney "win". They are both ridiculous losers and both will go down
    in flames.

    February 28, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  2. Tom

    Vote for the worst not just of Idol any more

    February 28, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  3. Wobbly Walker

    how do like it now limbaugh? you are getting a dose of your own medicine. what goes around comes around

    February 28, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
    Limbaugh loves it and encourages it because Santorum is his guy. This will haunt Santorum if he is the nominee because once you get someone to vote it will be easier to go through the motion next time, but it won't be fir Santorum.

    February 28, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  4. Jason

    brsblj is such a genius, we should vote for him. He is so smart and knows what's going on.

    February 28, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  5. clarke

    Wow and Wow. What has it come to.

    February 28, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  6. Sheila

    Rush encouraged this to mess up the democrats in the last election and called it Operation Chaos. I hated it then and dislike it as much now. It's dirty politics and it stinks! Obama has this sewn up unless there is a brokered convention. No one will vote for any of these clowns and Santorum is just NUTZ – he is a Religious "freak"! There is loving God and being Religious and then there is just "freaky Santorum" who makes it up as he goes along. Yeah some of the Republicans will vote for these nut jobs because they are to silly to understand that keeping a politician out of your life means out of your bedroom and your lifestyle too. Fox News has told so many miss truths to these poor misguided people that they would not know the truth if it hit them on the head! They keep telling people the founding fathers were "christians" like today when in facts they did not believe in the existance of God intervening in day to day lives. They were all "Diests". In fact, Jefferson had a secret bible that he wrote and he cut out ALL of the Miracles and kept only the "moral" facts.

    February 28, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  7. Melinda Wallace

    Ron Paul is so unique that he would challenge the status quo and give Obama a challenge. Former Governor Jon Huntsman is very moderate and could have attracted voters from all political parties. Buddy Roemer has some exceptional ideas on campaign finance reform. Romney is a broken records that bores the heck out of me. Santorum is ridiculous. Gingrich is untrustable. Whatever the Democrats do in Michigan, they can never do as much harm as the Republicans have done to themselves.

    February 28, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  8. Investment Advisor

    Be careful what you wish for Obamaites!

    February 28, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  9. Wowsors

    American politics are such a joke. Jesus.

    February 28, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  10. honeybe

    What a mockery this whole election process has become.

    February 28, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  11. Taran

    I read many more blogs than this one and this one is the only one that has a majority of liberals posting for Obama on it. All the others go the other way with complaints about Obama. I am not so sure that Obama has the re-election in the bag and I think he knows it.

    February 28, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  12. MidWestern Boy

    Mr. OBama has 2012 sewn up no matter who runs on the GOP side. All this does is perpetuate a stupid move, (yes originaly authored by Limbaugh) , and guarantee that it will be used next time around against Dems in their 2016 primary. We will have enough problems digging out from a 15 – 20 trillion debt by 2016, without this crap coming up again. Time to grow up, folks.

    February 28, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  13. Debby

    This will backfire if Santorum is the nominee. He isn't that far behind Obama in the polls and he could just take the Presidency away like Romney would have done.

    February 28, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  14. The Real Tom Paine

    Anders, this is a legally sanctioned part of voting in MI: what part of that do you not understand? I guess you probably think an open primary is an example of Liberal snobs. By the way, did you have a problem with this in NH, when Romney won?

    February 28, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  15. The Real Tom Paine

    Debby, do you really think Santorum or Romney is going to be able to deal with the kinds of attacks that are coming their way after theya re done slicing each other up? Please.

    February 28, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  16. carlos

    DEFEAT THE MITT at all costs......he does not deserve anything...

    February 28, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  17. The Real Tom Paine

    Taran, all that shows is that liberals work and conservatives don't.

    February 28, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    we can provide a massive jolt and scare to the GOP establishment here in the state and in Washington, DC. When we are done they’ll be taking Pepto Bismol by the gallon at the RNC
    Looove it! Go Michigan Democrats!!

    February 28, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  19. Mr. Moderate

    If Rush could spend months waging "Operation Chaos" to prolong the Dem primary process in 2008 and not draw any criticism, then the Republicans have not right to complain this time around.

    February 28, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  20. whodacares

    Dear Debby– If you haven't noticed, polls rely on calling people with land lines. Who has land lines? Old people. There you go.

    February 28, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  21. Tom

    Come on, folks, Rick Santorum is the worst candidate in the history of politics. Even the very conservative Elizabeth Hasselbach (Sp.?), of the "View" thinks he sucks.

    February 28, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  22. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Taran, how nice for you babe. Thanks for sharing but we don't care where you go or what you read the end result is the same: GOP STEREOTYPICAL (you've run this word into the ground, please find a synonym) misrepresentation of the facts, with a healthy dosage of just plain outright lies, and a sprinkling of barely contained hateful contempt.
    Obama 2012.

    February 28, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  23. trick

    • LOOK LIKE SANTORUM WILL BE WIN FRAUD BY DIRTY CHICAGO STYLE TRICK ,open primary rule by union thugs .Santorum pandering to BIGOTS n democrat thugs ...thats show obama FEAR only Romney Everyone DEMOCRATS VOTE SLEAZY SANTORUM IN PRIMARY AND IN GE VOTE ALL FOR con-man OBAMA , Mitt just CALL "SANTORUM CLOSET LIBERAL DEMOCRATS SURROGATE"
    I heard that 400000 democrats have been recruited to vote in Michigan today...is that right? Scary!!ARIZONA ONLY GOP CAN VOTE because NOT run BY UNION THUGS all democrats socialist can vote for santorum now and in the fall GE all for obama and will be SLAUGHTER SANTORUM...2012.

    February 28, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  24. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    We will have enough problems digging out from a 15 – 20 trillion debt by 2016,
    Just think, maybe by then Mittens the Magic Mormon would've learned how to connect with the little people. You can then elect him President and have a Rethug, for a change, "clean up" the "mess" left behind by a Democrat. That would be a nice change of pace. And what with all of Mittens experience in vulture capitalism, and people like "999" Herman Cain, and Pope Santorum to advise him he should clean that deficit up in no time flat.
    Joy to the world! Voila!
    Meanwhile, Obama 2012.

    February 28, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  25. Ed Peters

    Is this a great country or what! Indeed, Mitt the flip-flop should have closed out this primary a long time ago. since he didn't we might as well prolong it and find out more about other candidates. It will also give the late night comedians more material!!!

    February 28, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12