Rick Santorum finally offered a formal endorsement for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney late on Monday night. But it was hardly a ringing proclamation of approval for his former rival.
From its timing (after 11 pm on the East Coast) to its form ( an email to supporters posted on his campaign website) to its language (more pointing out his differences with Romney than extolling Romney's virtues) it's a decidedly underwhelming nod to the man who bested him in the Republican primaries.
In his statement, he returns to some of the issues that troubled him about Romney during the campaign — doubts about Romney's "commitment to addressing the issues most important to conservatives," concerns about his ability to make "a case as a candidate about fighting against Obamacare" — before stating that he's more satisfied now with the governor's positions.
Like Newt Gingrich's similarly tepid endorsement, Santorum offers little praise for the party's standard bearer, beyond the belief that he's preferable to four more years of President Obama.
"The primary campaign certainly made it clear that Governor Romney and I have some differences. But there are many significant areas in which we agree," he states.
"Above all else, we both agree that President Obama must be defeated," Santorum says before finally offering up his support in the 13 th paragraph of the 16-paragraph missive.
"It will require all hands on deck if our nominee is to be victorious. Governor Romney will be that nominee and he has my endorsement and support to win this the most critical election of our lifetime."