Santorum Suggests Another Obama Term Better than Romney Presidency

Kevin Glass

3/23/2012 6:43:00 AM - Kevin Glass
In a sign of seeming desperation, GOP candidate Rick Santorum suggested on Thursday that another term of President Barack Obama would be preferable to the election of Mitt Romney. The surprising statement came as Santorum was campaigning in the delegate-heavy state of Texas.

Romney's rivals have been attacking his inconsistent conservatism after an advisor stated his positions were like an Etch A Sketch, and Santorum was playing off that theme. "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 in there," Santorum said. "If the're going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of adding a risk of what may be the Etch A Sketch candidate for the future." [Emphasis added.]

Santorum's rivals responded with incredulity that the candidate would prefer Barack Obama over other Republicans.

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."

The Texas primary, where Santorum is campaigning, is a contest that could net the Pennsylvania Republican his biggest haul yet. However, Texas doesn't vote yet for a long time, and Santorum will have to be able to keep his campaign going through then.

The Etch A Sketch moment highlighted what many conservatives are worried about with Romney's underlying philosophy - that he only espouses conservatism when it's convenient. Romney is working behind the scenes to attempt to shore up his conservative support.

Romney privately made the rounds on Capitol Hill on Thursday, meeting a leading conservative senator who has not endorsed him, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, and holding a fund-raiser at a Washington hotel attended by several senators and members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Romney sat down as well with Paul Ryan, the conservative chairman of the House Budget Committee.

DeMint later said that he's "excited about the possibility of [Romney] possibly being our nominee," which is probably exactly what the campaign wants. DeMint has a lot of cachet with conservatives, and if he could get "excited" about Romney, the candidate must be hoping that the rest of the base could do the same.