Good news for Mitt Romney. Rick Santorum is done. Santorum suspended his bid for the presidency on Tuesday, removing the last significant obstacle in Mitt Romney’s now all-but-certain march to the Republican presidential nomination. “We made a decision over the weekend that while this presidential race for us is over for me, and we will suspend our campaign effective today, we are not done fighting,” Santorum said at a press conference in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Tuesday afternoon. Santorum did not endorse Romney in making his announcement Tuesday, though he did vow to fight to defeat President Obama and help Republicans win the Senate in the fall.
This is, obviously, good news for Romney who will be the G.O.P. nominee. It is bad news for evangelical conservatives who loathe both Romney and Obama. What does this mean for Romney? His pick of a running mate is more important than ever. If the G.O.P. remains fractured, Romney has little chance against President Obama in the fall. As I have suggested since this race started, the November election is still the President’s to lose. Santorum was strangely successful. At the start of the presidential campaign, few in political circles would have predicted that a senator who had lost his last race by 17 points, who had no money, no pollster, and few endorsements, would win 11 contests.
That says more about Romney’s weakness though than Santorum’s strength. The former Pennsylvania Senator would have been a disaster as the G.O.P. nominee. Independents and moderates would never vote for Santorum at the top of the ticket but could he help Romney as his running mate? Santorum’s departure was unexpected but it doesn’t change the race much. Mitt Romney had the nomination pretty much in hand. On Sunday, even Newt Gingrich essentially admitted the race was over. By suspending and not ending his campaign Santorum is allowed to keep raising money and he’s allowed to keep his delegates. According to a source at the Republican National Committee, he would lose his delegates if he withdrew completely. Under suspension the fate of the delegates is determined by the individual states, but some are bound to support Santorum for a certain number of ballots until they are released by the campaign so Santorum is still a player…sort of.
So, how would Santorum play as Romney’s running mate? Maybe better than Rick *oops* Perry…maybe not:
With Rick Santorum’s campaign coming to a halt Tuesday in Gettysburg, Pa., POLITICO collected his 10 best quotes from the campaign.
1. “So, everybody has the right to be happy? … So, if you’re not happy unless you’re married to five other people, is that OK?” – Feb. 8, at a New Hampshire college, comparing same-sex marriage to polygamy.
2. “If you haven’t cursed out a New York Times reporter during the presidential campaign, you aren’t a real Republican.” – Fox and Friends, March 26, defending his calling a New York Times reporter’s line of questioning “bullsh—.”
3. “Look, politics is a team sport, folks… I have to admit, I voted for that, it was against the principles I believed in, but you know, when you’re part of the team, sometimes you take one for the team, for the leader, and I made a mistake.” – Mesa, Ariz. on Feb. 22, during the CNN presidential debates.
4. “I do have concerns about women in frontline combat. I think that can be a very compromising situation, where people naturally may do things that may not be in the interests of the mission because of other types of emotions that are involved… it’s probably not in the best interests of men, women or the mission.” – John King USA, Feb. 9, responding to the Pentagon’s decision to allow women to take up more front-line roles.
5. “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money; I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money.” – Sioux City, Iowa, on Jan. 1. (Santorum later insisted he didn’t say the word “black.”)
6. “It’s about some phony ideal, some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology, but no less a theology.” – Ohio Christian Alliance event, Feb. 18, talking about the president’s agenda.
7. “President Obama wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob.” – Troy, Mich., Feb. 25, speaking to a tea party group.
8. “To say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes me want to throw up. What kind of country do we live in where only people of non-faith can come in the public square and make their case? That makes me throw up. And that should make every American [throw up].” – ABC’s “This Week,” Feb. 26, regarding former President John F. Kennedy’s famous 1960 speech advocating for the separation of religion and politics.
9. “One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country.” – Oct. 18, 2011, in an interview with conservative blog CaffinatedThoughts.com.
10. “One of my supporters said this is my Second Amendment vest. The right to bear arms.” – Jan. 10, with CNN’s Erin Burnett, joking about his signature sweater vests.