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.
Now that you mention it, I remember being livid about that at the time. Amazing how these guys can lie as easily as they breath.
Immediately following a debate, on the floor below the stage, they interviewed him and he made sure his wife and children were there standing around him. Newt had JUST finished talking about his own record and RS said to the interviewer the exact opposite of what Newt just explained. It was an out and out lie and I thought 'IF' his wife and older kids were paying attention - they heard the lie.
I thought what an BAD example he is to his children! Politics before one's children? You protect your kids from being around liars and explain to them why. That is one house I wouldn't want to live in.
Some of them were in hiding before. They were really Romney supporters but afraid to come out publically for the man so they pretended to be for Santorum. They knew what was up between the two.
That’s some statement!! GO SARAH!
Is this ELEANOR CLIFT from years ago or am I remembering the name wrong?
Deception will come back to haunt them! What you sow you reap, MORE than you sow, LATER than you sow.
Nope, same one, to the left of George McGovern. She must have just been accepted into an Alzheimer’s study and got the actual pill, not the placebo.
LOL! I remember her being old then or maybe she was so mean she looked older to me - so I questioned if this is the same one. Big time lib!
Speaking of old and mean, guess who this is an early photo of?
Now that’s an old picture! Her nose gives her away. I looked her up she 72 - I thought for sure she must be in her 80’s.
No, that’s HELEN THOMAS as a college junior in 1932!! Much older than Eleanor!!
Really? Another blast from the not to distant past!
Man, I thought we wouldn’t have to hear Mr. Union (or of him) again... :/
...and the hookers. Don't forget the hookers...
Satan is most pleased with your work, little toady.
...or their supporters...good luck with that.
I dont want to hear about Sanitarium.
Too conservative for you. I understand you liberals are thrilled with Romney, but don’t even want the conservatives to talk at the convention. Man you guys are nuts.
Santorum MUST have a significant position at the convention as he is next in 2016. I am torn where I don’t want Santorum to have anything to do with Romney, but for his future as President of the United States in 2016, he needs to keep his conservative self out there. God Bless Santorum, his family and the United States of America. Thank God Santorum will save the United States soon.
Santorum-Bachmann in 2016! I pray that happens. Kick Romney to the curb!!! He sucks big time!!!!! Santorum and Bachmann are the most conservative of the group.
Since Santorum was the only one besides Bachmann to show any sense of conservative values and morals, I would say they better have both speak. Of course a Santorum-Bachmann ticket would guarantee us the Presidency in 2016. Our future is in good hands with those two. I am sure that Newt won’t run again. He will be 76 in 2016.
santorum is a big government guy....
he will get his slot...
Yup, the Commies won the cold war. We are now the USSA.