Skip to comments.Santorum eager for Romney to grant him role at Republican convention
Posted on 08/06/2012 8:44:20 PM PDT by Qbert
Rick Santorum is organizing an event at this months Republican National Convention to rally conservatives in support of presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney, a key Santorum aide has told The Hill.
But Santorum has not yet received any promise from the Romney team, even in private, that he will be asked to deliver an address from the podium in Tampa.
The former Pennsylvania senators long-time senior strategist, John Brabender, warned that conservatives would be quite disturbed if they felt that Santorum was not accorded the prominence they believe he deserves at the quadrennial gathering.
One of Santorums key strengths is galvanizing the support of conservatives within the party, Brabender added. To have him front and center would seem strategically like the right thing to do. The event in support of Romney has been put together by Santorum on his own, according to Brabender, making it a more personal endeavor than an appearance by the former senator under the aegis of another group.
The event is scheduled to take place on the afternoon of Wednesday, Aug. 29, the day before Romney is set to officially become the Republican Partys presidential nominee.
With the event, Santorum is trying to bury any remaining ill-feeling from the hard-fought primary in which he was Romneys most tenacious opponent. Santorum endorsed Romney in an email to supporters in May, about one month after suspending his bid.
The question of how to deal with Santorum and other erstwhile rivals, such as former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), is a tricky one in general for the Romney team.
But it is particularly acute in Santorums case. He displayed a deeper support then the other contenders in winning 11 contests during primary season. His forceful social conservatism makes him beloved among GOP grassroots supporters even as it also risks limiting his appeal to moderate, independent voters.
For Romney, the conundrum is how to pay due respect to Santorum and his supporters without pushing him into the spotlight to the point where he becomes a distraction. For Santorum, the dilemma is how to display loyalty to Romney while protecting his own staunchly conservative identity.
Hes never going to be in the inner circle, but [the Romney team has] to deal with him somewhat gingerly, because of his connection to the Tea Party people and the social conservatives, said Terry Madonna, a professor of public affairs at Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania. You have to treat him delicately, but I would be stunned if you are listening to him on Monday or Tuesday at 9 oclock at night.
Were such a scenario to unfold, it might echo Pat Buchanans infamous prime-time address to the 1992 Republican convention. Buchanans fierce oration, which has become known as the culture war speech, included the assertion that there is a religious war going on in this country and culminated in a plea for conservatives to take back our cities and take back our culture and take back our country.
The speech was rapturously received in the convention hall, but even some Republicans feared that it alienated swing voters.
I will do anything to help the Republican Party make social issues the main focus of their convention, Democratic strategist Chris Lehane said with a laugh.
On occasions in the past where this had happened, he argued, the Republican Party was talking to maybe 20 percent of the country and not connecting with the other 80 percent and absolutely not connecting at all with the 5 percent who were going to determine the outcome of the election.
Brabender, for his part, argued that Santorum demonstrated an appeal during the primaries that transcended that of past insurgent candidates like Buchanan, and instead resembled Ronald Reagan in his quest for the presidency.
Even if Santorum is allotted a speaking slot of some kind at the convention, he might prefer not to emphasize his social views alone. Advisers including Brabender and his former campaign communications director Hogan Gidley believe that Santorum was unfairly pigeonholed during the primaries because of his professions of religious faith.
Gidley said that while Santorum is never going to relinquish nor should he relinquish his social views, more of the real Rick is going to come out as time passes.
In June, Santorum founded a new PAC, Patriot Voices, which Brabender said already has about 350,000 members who have signed a pledge stating their support for its principles. Through the PAC, Santorum has also endorsed a number of candidates for office, including two House hopefuls and one Senate aspirant last Friday alone.
Santorums endorsements were for Martha Zoller in Georgias 9th district, Nancy Cassis in Michigans 11th district and Wil Cardon in Arizonas Senate race.
The PAC could also serve as a vehicle through which Santorum might make early preparations for a 2016 presidential run, should Romney lose in November.
His aides are, predictably, vague but far from downbeat about such a prospect.
I dont know where his heads at now, said Gidley. Ricks smart: Hes not going to rule something out only to have to reverse that later. Gidley, who previously worked for former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.), said that both men were guided in their choices by prayer.
Irrespective of whether Santorum mounted any further bids for elected office, Gidley added, Hes not going anywhere.
When it comes to the more pressing matter of his role at the convention, however, Santorum is finding both support and dissent in unpredictable places.
Democratic strategist Paul Begala said in an email to The Hill that Santorum has earned a spot on the podium. Romney ought not insult Santorum and his supporters by excluding him.
But Ed Rollins, who at one point served as campaign manager for Rep. Michele Bachmanns (R-Minn.) presidential bid, said that if he were organizing the convention, I would not have any of the also-rans.
Rollins added: This needs to be Romneys convention. He needs to be the star, which means all these other figures Santorum, Newt Gingrich, whoever have to play very minor roles.
Notice who is NOT begging to speak at the convention?
Santorum’s my guy. He better.
Goodness I hope so.
These things are no longer American political conventions in any real sense. They’re now Soviet-style propaganda shows. Totally scripted down to the last word spoken.
Perfectly suited to the socialists being nominated by the two parties involved.
Paid for by your tax dollars. Even the booze.
Sanitarium has no role . Ron Paul has 12 % of all republicans. If they piss them off, romney looses. I don’t want to hear about Sanitarium. What a joke. WE need to unite to neat the devil obama from Kenya. They better get real in Tampa or we have 4 more years of communism,
Sanitarium has no role . Ron Paul has 12 % of all republicans. If they piss them off, romney looses. I don’t want to hear about Sanitarium. What a joke. WE need to unite to beat the devil obama from Kenya. They better get real in Tampa or we have 4 more years of communism,
You would think they would be begging her to speak about energy and drilling (or anything else for that matter) to get people excited again.
“But Ed Rollins” “said that if he were organizing the convention, I would not have any of the also-rans.”
I despise this man to no end. What an A-hole.
"Santorums my guy. He better."
We really need him out there in PA, OH, MI., and other states.
He cuts right to the chase and speaks to voters in a way that Romney just can't (or won't) do.
ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK: "Sarah Palin is five for five in her Senate picks in this primary season. She will be a force at the Republican Convention whether she does it from the floor or from the parking lot."
BS!! They were working hand-in-hand. Santorum's known as taking one for the team! HAVE RS apologize to NEWT for ALL THE LIES HE ADVERTISED about him!!
For Santorum, the dilemma is how to display loyalty to Romney while protecting his own staunchly conservative identity.
BS!! Check his record and ACTIONS - He is NO staunch conservative.
His forceful social conservatism makes him beloved among GOP grassroots supporters BS!! Grassroots are for SARAH PALIN! And he couldn't shine her shoes! or Newt's either!
Remember folks - believe nothing of what you read and half of what you see. This was put out by Santorum - he wants his halo back even though it is because of him, we have Romney.
He campaigned for Romney in '08 trying to CONVINCE conservatives that Romney was CONSERVATIVE!! and the best thing for America! And it was right after mitt the maggot lost, 'the plan' was devised for this election with his campaign buddy, the one who takes one for the team, Santorum!
We need somebody representing us who stays on the outside, something to hold over Romney's head (if he becomes President) the threat of being primaried by a Tea Party in 2016. For that reason alone I would not be as disappointed if they were to ignore her.
Disappointed in them, yes. But not so much in it happening. Almost predictable.
Yup, basically Santorum was part of the Romney campaign through-out the primaries.
Most of Santorum’s money was spent against Newt. (it was probably Romney’s money in reality and whatever was left over went to Romney)
I did not send Santorum a penny. A penny to Santorum is a penny to Mittens.
At least Lindsey Lighloafers Graham has admitted it was the wrong thing to do.
Little Rick is currying favor from the master of the political plantation. It figures.
Oh, he will get to speak. Money poured into his campaign to divide the conservative votes. Now, he wants his fame.
Check his record and ACTIONS - He is NO staunch conservative.
Well you certainly are a savvy voter.
Certain poster here had over the top threads for Santorum - I told them the deal - they wouldn’t listen - unteachable or deliberate! They must be in hiding now.