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Romney Calls Santorum 'Important Voice' in GOP Romney Calls Santorum 'Important Voice' in GOP

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campaign 2012

Romney Calls Santorum 'Important Voice' in GOP

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Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney had reason to be happy after rival Rick Santorum announced on Tuesday he is suspending his campaign, giving Romney a clear shot at the GOP nomination.(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

WILMINGTON, Del. -- After vanquishing the final obstacle to his claim on the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney lauded former rival Rick Santorum as “an important voice in our party,” and said he would like to meet with Santorum soon.

Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, announced in Gettysburg, Pa., on Tuesday afternoon that he is suspending his presidential campaign. He specifically cited family concerns -- he and his wife, Karen, are the parents of seven, including a disabled 3-year-old -- but Santorum’s campaign was also trailing in recent polls and he faced a potentially humiliating loss in his home state later this month.

 

“This has been a good day for me,” Romney said at a factory stop in Wilmington. “Senator Santorum has decided not to proceed with his campaign, and I had the chance to speak with him this morning. We exchanged our thoughts about going forward, and we both have a great deal of interest in seeing the country taken on a very different path.

“He has made an important contribution to the political process, has brought forward issues that he cares very deeply about, and is able to gather a great deal of public support and interest in those issues and in himself. He will continue to have a major role in the Republican Party, and I look forward to his work in helping assure victories for Republicans across the country in November.”

In a written statement earlier in the day, Romney called Santorum “an able and worthy competitor,” and added: “He has proven himself to be an important voice in our party and in the nation. We both recognize that what is most important is putting the failures of the last three years behind us and setting America back on the path to prosperity.”

 

Santorum called Romney earlier in the day to relay the news. According to senior Santorum strategist John Brabender, Romney requested a meeting in the “near future.” 

Romney’s son Matt showed more excitement at the news in a tweet he sent out shortly after the announcement: “Sen Santorum drops out- great dvlpment in the race. my dad’s focus has already been on Pres Obama, but things should heat up even more now.” 

The former Massachusetts governor is currently scheduled to visit four of the five states that will vote next on April 24: Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island. He is also scheduled to address the annual National Rifle Association meeting in St. Louis on Friday. 

There were signs that the campaign may alter a planned seven-figure ad buy in Pennsylvania, which were largely attack ads aimed at Santorum. Turning its focus full-force to the general election, the Romney campaign also announced a new web ad titled “President Obama has Failed Florida Workers,” which seeks to tie the White House to high unemployment rates in the state.

 
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