Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 27, 2014

Rick Santorum Endorses Mitt Romney

Rick Santorum Endorses Mitt Romney

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It happened while many on the East Coast slept — and you had look hard to find the key passage — but late Monday evening Rick Santorum formally endorsed Mitt Romney for president.

In an email to supporters that hit around 11 p.m., the former Pennsylvania Senator backed his one-time rival for the GOP presidential nomination, saying the race against President Barack Obama was too important for him to stand on the sidelines. Santorum’s backing, clear and unmistakable, was delivered about a month after he dropped out of the primary and essentially delivered the nomination to Romney, a former Massachusetts governor.

But like one of Santorum’s trademark long, meandering campaign stump speeches, the Senator’s email took awhile before finally getting to the punchline, expending 879 words before finally writing: “Above all else, we both agree that President Obama must be defeated. The task will not be easy. 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.”

Santorum and Romney met privately Friday in Pittsburgh for the first time since the Senator abandoned his presidential bid in early April. Santorum in his email said the subject of an endorsement did not arise. But the Senator said he made his positions clear to Romney on several key issues, including whom the governor should hire to staff his general election campaign. Mike Biundo, who served as Santorum’s national campaign manager, has already been hired by the Romney campaign to run conservative outreach.

A few interesting passages from Santorum’s long endorsement email:

  • “… I felt that it was completely impossible for me to even consider an endorsement until after a meeting to discuss issues critical to those of us who often feel our voices are not heard by the establishment: social conservatives, tea-party supporters, lower and middle income working families …”
  • “… During our meeting I felt a deep responsibility to assess Governor Romney’s commitment to addressing the issues most important to conservatives, as well his commitment to ensuring our appropriate representation in a Romney administration. The family and its foundational role in America’s economic success, a central point of our campaign, was discussed at length. I was impressed with the Governor’s deep understanding of this connection and his commitment to economic policies that preserve and strengthen families …”
  • “… As it is often said, “personnel is policy.” I strongly encouraged Governor Romney as he builds out his campaign staff and advisors that he add more conservative leaders as an integral part of his team. And you can be sure that I will work with the Governor to help him in this task to ensure he has a strong team that will support him in his conservative policy initiatives …”

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