What Rick Santorum's Lukewarm Endorsement Of Mitt Romney Means

It came at 11 p.m. Monday, in the 13th paragraph of an e-mail to supporters: Rick Santorum’s endorsement of Mitt Romney.

Former Senator Santorum, whose passionate advocacy for conservatism contrasted sharply with Mr. Romney’s more moderate persona, dropped out of the presidential race nearly a month ago, on April 10, ceding the Republican nomination to Romney.

“Above all else, we both agree that President Obama must be defeated,” Santorum wrote Monday. “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.”

To sum up his message: At least Romney is better than Mr. Obama.

Santorum’s tepid nod to Romney “shows his reluctance to be fully on board,” says Terry Madonna, a political scientist at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa. “It shows that he still harbors this concern that Romney isn’t a true conservative."

If Romney wants more out of Santorum, he’s going to have to deliver, says one Republican strategist.

“I think that Santorum knows that Romney’s going to need social conservatives, so right now [Santorum] is a valuable commodity,” says Ford O’Connell, chairman of Civic Forum PAC. What Santorum wants, he adds, is a prime-time speaking slot at the Republican convention in August.

Read more from Linda Feldmann at The Christian Science Monitor

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published this page in In The News 2012-05-08 12:23:00 -0400
Analysis & Political Strategy