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Romney wins Santorum endorsement

- The Washington Times - Monday, May 7, 2012

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum endorsed Mitt Romney for president Monday night in an email to supporters, assuring them that he's convinced the former Massachusetts governor with fight for the issues important to social conservatives, tea party members and working families.

Mr. Santorum said he decided to bury the hatchet with Mr. Romney after their 90-minute closed-door meeting last week in Pittsburgh.

"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," Mr. Santorum said.

Mr. Santorum dropped out of the race after going toe-to-toe with Mr. Romney on the campaign trail, where he labeled Mr. Romney a "moderate" and argued that his support of an individual mandate in Massachusetts made him "uniquely disqualified" to run against President Obama.

He also said that Mr. Romney did not have a conservative core.

"He has been on both sides of almost every single issue in the past ten years," Mr. Santorum said in a March interview on "CBS This Morning."

But following thee losses last month, Mr. Santorum was left with little money and little chance of winning the nomination.

Last week, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia ended his bid last week after racking up millions in campaign debt, leaving Texas Rep. Ron Paul as Mr. Romney's sole remaining challenger.

Mr. Paul hasn't won a state yet, though, and Mr. Romney is expected to be named the party's nominee at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., in August.

Since Mr. Santorum dropped out, Mr. Romney has trained his fire at Mr. Obama and worked to consolidate conservative voters' support.

He got a boost last week from Rep. Michele Bachmann, who endorsed him during a campaign stop in Virginia, which is viewed as a key swing state in the presidential election this fall.

Mr. Santorum's endorsement is another step in that direction, and could help Mr. Romney win over conservatives who have been slow to warm to the ex-governor, thanks to his stiff style on the stump, evolving stances on abortion and gun rights and support of the individual insurance mandate in Massachusetts.

"The primary campaign certainly made it clear that Governor Romney and I have some differences. But there are many significant areas in which we agree: the need for lower taxes, smaller government, and a reduction in out-of-control spending," Mr. Santorum said in the email.

"We certainly agree that abortion is wrong and marriage should be between one man and one woman. I am also comfortable with Governor Romney on foreign policy matters, and we share the belief that we can never allow Iran to possess nuclear weapons. And while I had concerns about Governor Romney making a case as a candidate about fighting against Obamacare, I have no doubt if elected he will work with a Republican Congress to repeal it and replace it with a bottom up, patient, not government, driven system."

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