Gingrich camp to Republicans: Promise you won't vote for Obama
March 23rd, 2012
04:44 PM ET
10 years ago

Gingrich camp to Republicans: Promise you won't vote for Obama

(CNN) - Newt Gingrich is not backing down on rival Rick Santorum, who sparked controversy when he said the country might be better off with President Barack Obama in a second term than with Mitt Romney as president.

In a not-so-veiled swipe at Santorum Friday, Gingrich's chief of staff, Patrick Millsaps, issued a letter to the Republican National Committee, urging its chairman to ask all GOP presidential candidates to pledge their support for the eventual Republican nominee.

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"It is imperative that Republicans unite once the nomination process is complete in order to defeat President Obama. We cannot afford four more years of his leadership," Millsaps said.

Santorum's original comment came Thursday in a San Antonio speech, in which the candidate said Obama and Romney had so few differences that "we may as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk in what may be the Etch A Sketch candidate for the future."

Romney's campaign quickly hit back against the comment, sending out a statement condemning the remark.

"I was disappointed to hear that Rick Santorum would rather have Barack Obama as president than a Republican," Romney said in the statement. "This election is more important than any one person."

On Friday, the former Pennsylvania senator asserted he would "never" vote for Obama over any Republican and to suggest otherwise would be "preposterous."

"I was simply making the point that there is a huge enthusiasm gap around Mitt Romney and it's easy to see why – Romney has sided with Obama on healthcare mandates, cap-and-trade, and the Wall Street bailouts," Santorum said in a statement.

Despite Santorum's statement, Gingrich's campaign continued to keep the remark in the spotlight with its letter to the RNC on Friday.

"Republicans must not lose sight of our ultimate goal in 2012: defeating President Obama in November," the letter stated.

"While we may disagree on which candidate will be the strongest opponent to the President in the general election, we can agree that any of the current Republican candidates would be a better president than Barack Obama."

- CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley contributed to this report.

Also see:

Romney primary tactics insufficient for general election, Gingrich says

Romney pens op-ed to mark 'Obamacare' anniversary

Santorum doesn't let up on Etch A Sketch attack

DeMint calls for GOP assessment of race, praises Romney

Filed under: 2012 • Newt Gingrich • Rick Santorum
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. GI Joe.

    What's he gonna do if they don't? Debate them to death? Lie about them? Promise the moon and 2.50 gasoline?

    OOPS – he's already done those things. Does he think he can dictate to or coerce almost half the country? ha ha ha ha ha

    March 23, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  2. GI Joe.

    By the way – I like Calista's hair better that way – combed over her face.

    March 23, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  3. Artemus

    Me to, if Romney gets nominated , I too will vote for Obama. Romney is PLASTIC, FAKE, NOT REAL, LOOKS LIKE HE TALKING THROUGH GLASS, OR TALKING TO A MIRROR, EVEN SOUNDS FAKEY. We are in bad shape folks. artemus

    March 23, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  4. enkephalin07

    Santorum wasn't really suggesting anyone vote for Obama. He was just suggesting that a vote for Romney was equivalent to a vote for Obama. He said he'd never vote for Obama, and if you're following along with this game, he's really saying he'd never vote for Romney.

    March 23, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  5. Artemus

    The other comment was right also, he is not for any middle class, just money hungry , more he gets the more he wants. He changes things every week , more than Obama ever thought about needing change, we do not need Romney, please vote for someone else.

    March 23, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  6. Thor4

    Who does Gingrich think he is ???? This man's ego is almost as big as his wife's hair style !!!! They are both lacquered to death.
    It is so sad to see such a really sad group of four posing as Whitehouse contenders. There is not one of them who has the intelligence to become head of an iceburg no matter the USA. Romney is under the impression that Bush was the one who actually brought the country out of its economic downfall. Gee – was this man asleep when Bush was doing his dirty work??? Yes he should stick to his etch a sketch and maybe get one each for the other contenders!!!!

    March 23, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  7. Carol

    Gringrich... if you want the GOP to unite, get out of the race now and fully endorse and back up Mitt Romney calling for GOP across the board – liberaterian, moderate, strong "conservatives" to accept and rally around their nominee Mitt Romney. The GOP and you – Gingrich – need to unite with one nominee and one positive message with one goal – to beat Obama. How can you call for the GOP to unite when you yourself can't rally around and support your nominee.

    March 23, 2012 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  8. RINO Bil

    To: Newt Gingrich
    From: A GOP Voter

    Subject: Promise

    If the GOP fields a candidate who I believe is better for the country than Barack Obama, I will vote for that candidate. But I will not vote for a candidate simply because that person is a Republican. The current choice of Republican candidates is not demonstratably better for the country than the guy who is running it now. So the GOP better do something, and do it quick or they will lose my vote ... and that's a promise.

    March 23, 2012 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  9. Romney is not My Hero

    All the GOPers say that the media is twisting their words. So, when he says NOT to vote for Obama, he really means VOTE for Obama. I think I finally understand now.

    Sir – Yes sir! Newter Gangrene, I will be voting for Obama. – OBAMA 2012!

    March 23, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  10. ED FL

    America already knows who they will not vote for,and if you don't already know NEWT that individual is you.Unless the GOP comes up with someone other than the preent choices you folks better star looking at 2020, maybe 2024 0r 2028 if Hillary runs or becomes the Vice president for Obama, you may never ever have another GOP President.

    March 23, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  11. PJ/TX

    How many "pledges" are on the Repub/Tea agenda? This must be #999. With so many pledges coming out of this
    zoo, who has time for the "Pledge of Allegiance"?

    March 23, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  12. mk1

    I will gladly vote for President Obama and encourage everyone that I know to do the same, over any of these guys. I would have to be insane to even consider voting Republican this year.

    March 23, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  13. mk1

    Nick, we would have been in a full blown depression if McCain had been elected, not a doubt in my mind about that. After all, weren't the fundamentals sound around the election last time? I thought so.

    March 23, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  14. A Southern Lady

    Here is what we have in the 2012 election:
    Romney – a man on every side of every issue. Does he still understand who he is?
    Santorum – a religious fanatic that would set women's rights back 50 years. He should run for Pope.
    Newt – once was Republican speaker and his own members kicked him out for dishonest activities. A true family
    man now married to wifey #3. Screamed about the housing market fall while taking hundreds of thousands
    from Freddie as a "historian." Brother!!
    Ron Paul – Everyones kind of crazy uncle.
    Barack Obama – intelligent, educated and a caring human being. The ONLY choice in November.
    Note: Early in the campaign, the R's had perhaps a winning candidate – Jon Huntsman. However he
    was not crazy enough for the religious fanatics and the Tea Party and dropped out. This was
    a total case of the Republicans shooting themselves in the foot.

    March 23, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  15. Just Say No to Flipper

    President Obama is the best Republican President since Ike.

    March 23, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  16. geg

    the only thing romney knows about the middle class is there are to many of them on the highways slowing him down

    March 23, 2012 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  17. Martha in CF

    Sorry Newt. Obama is the only sane one in the bunch!!!!!!!!!!

    Obama/Biden 2012

    March 23, 2012 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  18. ThinkAgain

    I, too, promise to vote Obama/Biden and a straight Democratic ticket.

    And I suggest all Dems, Independents and thinking Republicans do the same. Unless, of course, you want to go back to the failed policies that got us into this mess in the first place!

    March 24, 2012 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  19. ThinkAgain

    I think all GOP voters should make this promise to Newt – and keep it as well as he kept his first two marriage vows ...

    March 24, 2012 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  20. jt1962

    So Newt wants all republicans to be like Rick and cast a "team"vote instead of for our convictions. Well I for one will not vote republican again until the GOP decides to tell Grover to get lost snd agrees to collect taxes to pay for the wars and their medicare drug plan from those who can best afford to pay. Romney's tax rate on $250 million = 13%, really? thats fair?

    March 24, 2012 06:08 am at 6:08 am |
  21. Gina

    7 republicans at my office are voting for President Obama in this election again!

    March 24, 2012 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
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