TROY, Mich. - Mitt Romney defended his conservatism today by citting the words of none other than his chief GOP rival, Sen. Rick Santorum, when he endorsed Romney during the 2008 campaign.
"I am a conservative," Romney said at a tea party rally sponsored by Americans for Prosperity. "I can attest for my conservative credentials by quoting someone who endorsed me in my 2008 campaign. Sen. Santorum was kind of enough to say on the Laura Ingraham show, he said Mitt Romney, this is a guy who is really conservative and who we can trust.
"And when he came out and endorsed me he said these words. He said, 'He is the clear conservative candidate.' He's right. I'm the conservative candidate and what we need in the White House is principled, conservative leadership and I'll bring it," Romney said.
Romney also brought up Santorum's support of Sen. Arlen Specter, who in 2009 changed his political affiliation from Republican to Democrat.
"He supported Arlen Specter, remember how he described how he supported Arlen Specter as an effort to get a deal to get some judges approved and then Arlen Specter said there was no such deal and he backed away from that," Romney said. "It was also 1996 when he supported Arlen Specter, by the way, 1996, when Arlen Specter was running for president. Arlen Specter, the only pro-choice candidate we've seen in that race. There were other conservatives running, like Bob Dole. He didn't support them.
"He supported the pro-choice candidate, Arlen Specter," Romney said. "This taking one for the team, that's business as usual in Washington. We have to have principled, conservative leadership and I have demonstrated that through my life and demonstrated it as a governor."
Romney was joined at the rally by his wife, Ann Romney, who has been holding several campaign events on her own on behalf of her husband.
Comfortable behind the microphone, Ann Romney got a good reception when she suggested that she might do better than her husband on stage.
"Maybe I should just do all the talking and let him just stand here and watch me," she said. "I've also decided no more debates. If we're going to do another debate, he's going to sit in the audience and watch me. And that'll be it."