Santorum Says He’ll Support GOP Nominee

Mar 23, 2012 1:47pm
gty rick santorum dm 120104 wblog Santorum Says Hell Support GOP Nominee

(Image Credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

WEST MONROE, La.  – Rick Santorum said today that he would support whoever the Republican nominee is in the general election, just one day after he suggested the country might be better off with President Obama in office than with an “etch a sketch” candidate.

“I’m for defeating Barack Obama and I’m going to support whoever wins the Republican primary to beat Barack Obama and that’s the number one issue,” Santorum said today. “But we’re not going to beat Barack Obama with someone who has on the biggest issues of the day, the same position as Barack Obama.”

During a speech in San Antonio, Texas, on Thursday, Santorum suggested that voters might be better off with Obama than taking a chance on an “etch a sketch candidate of the future,” a clear reference to his Republican rival Mitt Romney.

The Romney campaign pounced on his comments with a statement from the former Massachusetts governor saying that Santorum implied he would prefer to have Obama in office than a Republican, which Santorum insists he did not mean.

“I didn’t say that. I mean look, how many times have you guys heard me say this, that we have to have a clear choice. You guys should do some reporting instead of just reporting what Governor Romney feeds you,” Santorum told reporters.

“I mean I’ve said repeatedly that we need a choice, that we can’t have a decision between Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee… I’ve said repeatedly and will continue to say I’ll vote for whoever the Republican nominee is…  But we can’t have someone who agrees with him on some of the biggest issues of the day. And that’s the problem with Governor Romney.”

Santorum repeatedly pointed to the “etch a sketch” branding of Romney, arguing that “whatever race he has to run and whatever group he’s in front of, that’s who he’s for. we cant have a candidate like that and expect to get the people of America excited about it. We see it time and time again on some many important issues. There’s no core, there’s no set of convictions.”

Despite Santorum’s walk back of the comment, the Romney campaign continues to point to Santorum’s suggestion as evidence that he is wavering on conservative principles.

“Senator Santorum is going off the rails. His ridiculous suggestion that four more years of Barack Obama is better than electing a Republican  demonstrates his lack of commitment to conservative principles. Senator Santorum is not only embarrassing himself with his ill-advised comments, he’s damaging the conservative movement. In the future, he should think before he speaks,” said Ryan Williams, spokesman for Romney.

On the second anniversary of the signing of President Obama’s healthcare plan, Santorum called it a “horribly unpopular bill” and was not surprised Obama did not reference it in his Rose Garden speech this morning.

“It robs people of their economic freedom and forces them to do things that are against their own religious beliefs. It is systematically driven up healthcare costs and slowing down the economy and creating unemployment. It’s a disastrous bill that happens to be patterned after another disastrous bill which is Romneycare. It’s one of the reasons that we need to have a candidate in this race who isn’t for government run medicine, isn’t for taxpayer funded abortions, isn’t for imposing government’s role on free people and their decision whether to, what healthcare to buy,” Santorum said.

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