Santorum makes Hard Push for Kansas, But Won’t Call on Gingrich to Quit Race

Mar 7, 2012 7:23pm

LENEXA, KANSAS — Rick Santorum, fresh off a strong Super Tuesday, told reporters here that though he “wanted” Newt Gingrich out of the race, his supporters, not he, had called on the former speaker to drop out.

“I’m not saying I don’t want him to get out. if he wants to get out, I’m all for him getting out. I’m for Mitt Romney getting out. I wish President Obama would just hand me the thing, but that’s not going to happen,” he said.

The pro-Santorum PAC Red, White & Blue this morning called on Gingrich to leave the race so that the conservative-leaning candidates would stop splitting votes.

Santorum, however, insisted he had not coordinated with the group, calling on Gingrich to quit.

“If they’re doing so, they’re not doing so at my knowledge, let’s just put it that way. I’ve been very very clear about my position on this,” he said.

Santorum accused the Romney campaign of bullying him for saying it would take an “act of God” for him to clinch the nomination.

“What won’t they resort to to try to bully their way through this race? If the guy thinks he’s now ordained by God to win, then let’s just have it out.”

Santorum hopes conservative Kansas next week will continue to add to his delegate count. Newt Gingrich announced today he would not compete here, and Mitt Romney canceled an appearance he planned here for Thursday.

Transcript of Santorum Press Availability:

Q Newt Gingrich says he’s not getting out of the race because you’re not a slam dunk. How hard is he making it for you to perform in the primaries?

I think we’re going to win here in Kansas. I feel really good about that, I think we have a great chance of winning in Alabama and Mississippi. I mean, it’s going to be a fight, you’ve heard me say it from the very beginning. People should stay in the race as long as they feel they should stay in the race, and you know, I’m going to stay in the race because were doing really well. We’re winning states, and when we’re not winning we’re finishing second, by and large.

Q But senator, the Romney campaign is saying literally it will take an act of God, that’s a quote from a staffer for you to win it…that they only need to win less than 50 percent…Act of god to win?

What won’t they resort to to try to bully their way through this race? If the guy thinks he’s now ordained by God to win, then let’s just have it out. I feel very, very good that we’re running the race, energizing people with the man vs the machine. They got the machine, they got the insiders and the big money and we’ve got the people. And I like my chances when it’s all said and done if you’ve got the people on your side.

Q Your campaign is calling on Tea Party activists and conservatives to pressure Newt out of the race….Why are you not doing it yourself?

If they’re doing so, they’re not doing so at my knowledge, let’s just put it that way. I’ve been very very clear about my position on this. Are we asking people who are tea party folks to join us? You bet. Do we want them not to support Newt? Yes. We want them to support me. I want Romney voters to support me. I want everyone to support us, that’s what we’re running for. If someone from my campaign is putting out that message, you’re either misinterpreting it, or — it’s certainly not coming from me and I don’t support it. I’ve been very very clear, unequivocal about this?

Q To be clear, you don’t want Newt to get out of the race?

I’m not saying I don’t want him to get out. if he wants to get out, I’m all for him getting out. I’m for Mitt Romney getting out. I wish President Obama would just hand me the thing, but that’s not going to happen. So the idea is let folks decide what they think is best, for getting a conservative, someone that’s going to put this country on the right track elected to president. That’s my objective. That’s why I’m running. That’s why I’m in this race.

“Is Kansas up in the air? Well of course. I think Kansas is going to be a competitive caucus. But we feel good about the energy and the enthusiasm and the volunteers, our offices are humming. We feel very very good that we’re going to do well here. And I think the fact that Speaker Gingrich decided not to compete here probably gives you an indication where conservatives are lining up already in the state. And if you have conservatives behind you in Kansas you’re probably going to do OK.”

SHOWS:
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus