Last Updated:July 22 @ 06:57 pm

Santorum: Might as well have Obama over Romney

By Will Weissert

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Thursday said Republicans should give President Barack Obama another term if Santorum isn't the GOP nominee and for a second day compared rival Mitt Romney to an Etch A Sketch toy.

Santorum reiterated an argument he has made before: The former Massachusetts governor is not conservative enough to offer voters a clear choice in the fall election and that only he can provide that contrast.

"You win by giving people a choice," Santorum said during a campaign stop in Texas. "You win by giving people the opportunity to see a different vision for our country, not someone who's just going to be a little different than the person in there."

Santorum added: "If they're going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk of what may be the Etch A Sketch candidate for the future."

Santorum was referencing Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom's comment Wednesday that "everything changes" for the fall campaign. "It's almost like an Etch A Sketch," he said on CNN. "You can kind of shake it up and we start all over again."

The remark reignited criticism of Romney as the type of politician who will say or do anything to win.

Romney, who made no public appearances Thursday, issued a statement expressing disappointment "that Rick Santorum would rather have Barack Obama as president than a Republican."

"This election is more important than any one person. It is about the future of America," he said. "Any of the Republicans running would be better than President Obama and his record of failure."

Rival Newt Gingrich tweeted: "Rick Santorum is dead wrong. Any GOP nominee will be better than Obama."

During his speech to employees of USAA, a San Antonio-based insurance and financial services firm, Santorum briefly held up an Etch A Sketch and said his positions don't change like etchings on the toy, which are erased with a shake. He could be seen fiddling with the toy's knobs in the intervals between questions from audience members.

Addressing reporters afterward, Santorum lit into Romney for saying "I'm going to run as a conservative."

"He didn't say `I am a conservative.' He said `I'm going to run as a conservative.' So what do you do, you just sort of decide what you're going to be for the elections?" Santorum asked. "No one can accuse me of that. People say, `Well, you can't win because of that.' No, I will win because of it."

Santorum said his brand of political authenticity will play well in Texas because "people are looking for someone who is real, someone they can relate to, not someone who can get in front of an audience and say whatever they want."

The Texas primary has been pushed to May 29 because of litigation over redistricting maps drawn by the Republican-dominated state Legislature. Santorum said he expects to win Saturday's primary in Louisiana and added, "The race will not be over when Texas comes around."

"You'll have the opportunity here, in the state of Texas, to speak very loudly about what kind of leader you want in this country," he said.

Santorum said he speaks with Texas Gov. Rick Perry before scheduled campaign stops in the state. Perry sought the GOP nomination but left the race in January and endorsed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

"This is an important state for us," Santorum said. "I've already spent a lot of time, I've already done a lot of campaign events in Texas. More than anybody else, I suspect."

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Santorum Endorsed Romney in 2008

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Santorum: Might as well have Obama over Romney, 4.0 out of 10 based on 13 ratings





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32 Comments

  1. cinbadComment by cinbad
    March 23, 2012 @ 8:31 am

    There you have it. If you think Obama has been whining for the past 3 years, just get a “President Santorum” in the White House. We’ll go into greater debt providing the WIC with facial tissue to wipe up his snarling, sniveling spittle. Santorum is NO LEADER and we don’t need a re-do of that in the WH.

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    • galexComment by galex
      March 23, 2012 @ 11:14 am

      Rick Santorum is not the first to have made a statement like this. In fact George Soros made the remark that there would be little difference between Romney or Obama as president.

      Santorum is just calling out the facts as he sees them. Just one of the things I appreciate about him.

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      Rating: 2.8/5 (22 votes cast)
    • agent007Comment by agent007
      March 23, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

      Santorum shows us that he himself is exactly that which he accuses others to be: A politician who will lie and distort the facts to gain power!

      Dangerous, stupid, and totally out of line!

      At least Gingrich had the decency to correct Santorum about this idiotic statement!

      Yes, Romney is trying to navigate towards right of centre, instead of all the way to the right!
      And THAT is exactly what will make him more likely to win in November than Rick or Newt!

      And then we can leave it up to House and Senate (hopefully both in hands of conservatives) to push for conservative policy IF it would turn out that Romney doesn’t push enough for that himself! Remember people, getting things accomplished in Washington requires not just a President!

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    • agent007Comment by agent007
      March 23, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

      The fact that Santorum has basically elected to just campaign anti-Romney right now, instead of admitting that they both have mainly similar ideas regarding economy and the way forward for the nation, shows that he is not a great leader, and instead is just hell-bent on gaining power for himself.

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      Rating: 4.4/5 (16 votes cast)
    • DaveComment by Dave
      March 23, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

      Like I have been stating all along. Romneynis a RINO! The rest of the GOP field for president are not much better.

      But hey, I am just an independent who has been saying all along I will keep my vote in my pocket if the GOP cannot vet better candidates, choose better candidates, and find real conservatives who live the republican principles in action, not just words.

      Will the REAL Conservative Candidate for President PLEASE stand up?!?!

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    • bna42Comment by bna42
      March 23, 2012 @ 1:50 pm

      “I am just an independent who has been saying all along I will keep my vote in my pocket if the GOP cannot vet better candidates”

      Dave, you are free to “keep your vote in your pocket” as long as you remember that refusing to vote is actually a vote FOR Obama. If you believe in Obama, vote for him, but by all means don’t just stay home because you don’t like the GOP candidates.

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    • Allen SComment by Allen S
      March 23, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

      I also don’t see Santorium as a leader and I wouldn’t want him as president anymore than Romney but will vote for the Republican nominee holding my nose again this time.

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  2. Bob MillerComment by Bob Miller
    March 23, 2012 @ 8:40 am

    Thats right Ricky. If we can’t have you then we’re so stupid we deserve Dear Leader for another 4 years. Someone stick a fork in this whiner. He’s done.

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    • cdrcodyComment by cdrcody
      March 23, 2012 @ 12:29 pm

      Rick just cooked his own goose. I hope he likes it with plum sauce because that’s plum all he is going to get. We don’t need another self centered person in the WH, but it seems that’s all we are getting lately. He lost sight of the real reason for this election, and that is to get rid of Mr. O. I don’t know about the rest of you but I will vote for who ever comes out of the convention.

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      Rating: 4.8/5 (18 votes cast)
  3. Robert MooreComment by Robert Moore
    March 23, 2012 @ 8:56 am

    This is not a gaffe. Santorum is correct that Romney and Obama have identical positions on nearly every issue. Romneycare is the model for Obamacare. Romney and Obama agree that guns belong only in the hands of the government. Both agree on encouraging high gas prices to force down usage. Both openly disparage conventional American faith communities (Catholic and Protestant), yet claim to be part of them. Both like big government, big taxes and big bureaucracies. Both have, at best, a tenuous grip on consistency and truth.

    They differ largely in who they want in the Oval Office.

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    • agent007Comment by agent007
      March 23, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

      “Romney and Obama have identical positions on nearly every issue.”
      Really??? Do you even follow debates or attempt to find out about candidates positions?

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    • DaveComment by Dave
      March 23, 2012 @ 6:56 pm

      Agent007,

      Do you have a tenuous grip on reality?

      There is no remarkable difference between Obama and Romney. None!

      There is no remarkable difference between Gingrich and Santorum when compared with Romney. Ron Paul, I have no idea where to begin, but he was out of my mind when he accepted money from Russia and the Communists. So, really, what is the difference between Romney/Santorum/Gingrich and Obama?

      Please enlighten us mere mortals.

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  4. trains4meComment by trains4me
    March 23, 2012 @ 9:08 am

    and all this in-fighting between Republican candidates will cost this Nation dearly with another “Odumbo” presidency and his masters in the “dummyrat” party. FOR GOD’S SAKE, PEOPLE! WAKE UP AND CHOOSE A REAL REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE!

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  5. steadyComment by steady
    March 23, 2012 @ 9:14 am

    This is an unbelievable comment by Santorum. He is damaging the Republican’s chances of winning. He can’t win, absolutely can’t win because he is a whiney, adolescent, incapable of leading anything. Romney is a competent, reliable conservative. Santorum attacks by dishonesty–twisting words and taking things out-of-context. His behavior is despicable. Romney is the one candidate who can defeat Obama and Obama knows it which is the reason he is so afraid of him and tries to damage him. Santorum is Obama’s greatest ally in all of this. Conservatives need to rally around the candidate who is going to get the nomination and who will, in fact, defeat Obama soundly!

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    • davnkatzComment by davnkatz
      March 23, 2012 @ 11:04 am

      Obama is afraid of Romney??? “Romney is te one candidate who can defeat Obama” – WHA…???

      If all that is TRUE, why is it that the libs, MSM, CINOs and RINOs are all rooting for Romney to win the nomination??? Remember, these are the same ones who gave us McCruddy and guaranteed BHO’s election in 2008.

      Altho Romney and Obummer can somewhat be identified as legislative twins (as per STEADY above), Romney is at least 50% better. At least Romney has demonstrated an ability to change or alter his position when he comes unde enough pressure. AND, he WILL have pressure if conservative regain control of the House AND the Senate as predicted.

      I personally prefer Santorum, but you can bet if Romney gets the nomination the libs will emohasize Rick’s words. FDR used the “don’t change horses in the middle of the stream” (most people today have no idea what that means) to become the ONLY president to be elected for four terms. You can lay odds that the MSM pundits will point out all the similarities between BHO and Romney and ask, “Since they are so much alike, why change? Re-elect Obama.”

      Anyone want to make a bet?

      Before I go, I am a Tea Party Conservative. I worked for and financially supported Michelle before she dropped out. We TPCs have basically turned to Santorum as the MOST CONSERVATIVE candidate remaining. I believe we will support Romney IF he becomes the candidate. After all, something is bett3r than nothing, and reelecting BHO is a big nothing for America.

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    • Allen SComment by Allen S
      March 23, 2012 @ 2:59 pm

      Those “boys” who are running on the GOP ticket need to grow up and support each other and not support the DNC as they are doing running each other down. Do they think they are winning the hearts of the American people? Not mine – it is going to be hard to vote this time but I will.

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  6. CarolComment by Carol
    March 23, 2012 @ 9:36 am

    All I can say all of this scares me to death that we will end up with the same President back into Our White House because I can see all of our freedoms going away sooner than later.

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    • billwvComment by billwv
      March 23, 2012 @ 10:34 am

      I agree. I just read a quote on Facebook by C. H. Spurgeon: [I thought was pretty good] “If the present be dreary, it will soon be over. Oh, but a little while, and we shall be transferred from these seats below to thrones above!” [Something to look forward to!]

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    • newsjunkyComment by newsjunky
      March 23, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

      billwv

      I’ll say — something to look forward to indeed.

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  7. CharlieComment by vietnamvet
    March 23, 2012 @ 11:16 am

    “Rick Santorum on Thursday said Republicans should give President Barack Obama another term if Santorum isn’t the GOP nominee.”

    I objected strongly when backers of Ron Paul started that same litany, and it is equally destructive for Santorum to say it.

    I prefer Santorum to Romney, and I like Gingrich best, but I will vote for any of the three against Obama if he is the nominee.

    Removing Obama is the actual goal of this election, and Mr. Santorum needs to remember that.

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    Rating: 4.9/5 (23 votes cast)
  8. Col.GrampawComment by Col.Grampaw
    March 23, 2012 @ 11:29 am

    Unbelievable! Who writes Santorum’s speeches? Fire him! Obama rather than Romney? He can’t seriously mean that. If he does, then Santorum just lost any consideration on my part unless he, by some miracle, wins the nomination. Hell, I’d vote for Koko the gorilla before I’d vote Obama back in to continue his planned destruction of my country. Come to think about it, maybe Republicans should consider Koko as an alternative should there be a brokered convention. She surely couldn’t do any worse than the present “undocumented worker” who occupies the White House for the next 10 months.

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  9. bna42Comment by bna42
    March 23, 2012 @ 11:44 am

    “. . .”If they’re going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk of what may be. . .”

    I understand political candidates attacking each other and trying to outdo each other, but I think Santorum just crossed the line when he suggested we might as well stay “with the devil we know”.

    In my opinion, Santorum just destroyed ANY hope of his getting the nomination and should suspend his campaign. This election is about anyone but Obama and anything but his policies, and we can’t lose sight of that goal.

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  10. BillzillaComment by Billzilla
    March 23, 2012 @ 1:13 pm

    ABO! Anyone but Obama! Obama must go!

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  11. DaveComment by Dave
    March 23, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

    I am glad another person besides Ron Paul and George Soros is saying the truth about Romney. Romneybis not a good fit for the president of the US.

    Until the GOP wizen up, my vote for 2012 will remain in my pocket.

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  12. jdb121Comment by jdb121
    March 23, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

    Just because you do not win doesn’t mean you aren’t right, and, compromise for the sake of winning is a vice. It may not be whether you win or lose, but how you play the game….but, doesn’t how you play the game really determine whether you win or lose? Were this not so, there wouldn’t be fraud in elections. Who won by defrauding the public???

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  13. whitehat1Comment by whitehat1
    March 23, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

    I find Santorum’s comments despicable.

    Anyone who would vote for this sorry whiner now clearly cannot call themselves a Republican.

    He has never demonstrated any form of leadership, and this shows how low he’s willing to go to serve his own interest, and to Hell with the Country.

    Obama will steamroll over this clown. It’s time for him to get out before he does us any more disservice.

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  14. memawComment by memaw
    March 23, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

    Statements like this are dangerous. Why doesn’t he just stick to what he would do for the economy if elected instead of saying things like that. If Romney gets the nomination, will people think they might as well vote for Obama and just stay home?

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  15. middlegroundComment by middleground
    March 23, 2012 @ 4:09 pm

    An amazing statement from a Republican candidate, but I always wondered whether Santorum was his own candidate or Obama’s choice of the candidate he wanted to run against. I guess this answers my question. Incidentally, there is a huge difference between Romneycare for a very Liberal and wealthy state like Massachusetts and Obamacare for the nation, and anyone who can’t see this difference hasn’t thought about the difference between state funding and federal funding. If a state can’t get enough in tax revenue or bonding revenue it has to cut programs and costs or hope for an Obama stimulus bailout, whereas the federal government just prints more money and hides their spending as they did with the Fed’s massive printing of trillions.

    I would hope any serious candidate for president would see this massive difference.

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  16. karen13Comment by karen13
    March 23, 2012 @ 4:45 pm

    Now THAT was the most asinine, anti GOP statement ever! Thank you Mr Santorum for showing your true colors. We don’t need to continue to seesaw between far left and far right, and that is why I supported Mitt Romney last election and support him still. Seriously GOPUSA, you need to be a little more unbiased. I continually see posts come in with your far right bent and is derisive to this party. There are many moderate Demos that could be brought in to the fold with Romney and Romney could pair up with a super conservative on his ticket and win! Think about it far right, isn’t it better to do that than allow Obama another 4 years. You will not ever get another chance if he continues on like this. Bring this country back to center, compromises on both sides and lets get America back on her feet!

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  17. prairelivingComment by praireliving
    March 23, 2012 @ 10:39 pm

    I firmly believe that the most important goal is to get Pres. Obama out of the White House. Having said that, I suspect that Mr. Santorum may have said the truth or something very close to it, that Obama and Romney are not all that different and that the voters need a real choice, but not in a very effective or positive way. He may be dead on right that Romney and Obama are too close (think McCain and Obama) in thinking and that the general public will figure it is better to stay with what you know. This would be a critical mistake as I believe Pres. Obama will take his power grab to a new level should he be reelected.

    Unfortunately, Mr. Santorum (as well as Mr. Gingrich) are fighting against not only the other Republican candidates but against the party establishment who are quite clearly Romney fans. They are trying to have their voices heard and be given a chance to earn the nomination while being undermined by the party elite. It makes for a difficult situation and over the top words are sometimes used.

    I suspect, when the dust settles and a nominee is picked…no matter who that is…there will be some hachets buried and these gentlemen will act as such and support the nominee against Pres. Obama. I sure hope so at least.

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  18. Jerome from LaytonComment by Jerome from Layton
    March 23, 2012 @ 11:23 pm

    The tension got to Rick and he let a comment out that he is now trying to drag back. The Democrats have probably made a spot with it to use next September-October. Like the others, Mitt does have some warts but there is a huge difference between him and Obama. Look up Dick Morris’ comparison list; it’s huge.

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  19. JDZComment by JDZ
    March 23, 2012 @ 11:25 pm

    Let’s get a couple of things straight for everyone including the independents who cannot decide who to vote for between Obama and a Republican. The Obama ADMINISTRATION with help from Pelosi and Reid followers are destroying this country. They spend, borrow, and print money and could care less about the huge national debt they have added over 5Trillion dollars to in the last three years. They have forced through Obamacare which is just going to make matters worse. They have not passed a budget in three years and are running at a trillion dollar annual deficit. The economy has been stagnate and the unemployment rate has remained the highest for the longest period of time since the great depression. I could go on and on about the EPA and the DOE and the incoherent national energy policy, etc.

    But, the point being, that liberal politics are undermining our country at every level of government and have now taken it to new levels at the federal level under Obama. We need to kick the Obama ADMINISTRATION…out of Washington…get it? His CZARs have to go. His elitist academic cabinet heads have to go. His junk yard dog, Eric Holder has to go (100 members of Congress have asked him to resign). ETC.

    I would vote for ANYONE but Obama just to get his socialist minions out of our government.

    Come on people, do not opt out and not vote for Romney or whomever gets the nomination because if you do, you would be doing exactly what the Obama campaign and the liberal media are trying to get you to do. The propaganda driven liberal media are working overtime to demoralize Republicans from bothering to vote and to pull independents their way. Before they are done, they will try every trick they can to confuse voters about the Repiblican candidate, etc.

    You really do not believe there are not major differences between Romney and Obama, do you??

    Get serious please.

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