Inside Politics

Romney: Santorum will maintain key role in GOP

Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Mitt Romney in Wilmington, Del. Mitt Romney in Wilmington, Del.

Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney said Tuesday he was surprised by Rick Santorum's departure from the nomination race and that he has yet to turn to matters such as gathering names of possible running mates.

"I do not even have a list," a buoyant Romney told Delaware voters a few hours after Santorum suspended his campaign and cleared the path for Romney's nomination.

"This has been a good day for me," he said.

The world was watching Wilmington, Delaware Tuesday night as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee addressed a crowd of supporters.

Mitt Romney spoke briefly about Rick Santorum's decision to leave the race.

"We both have a great deal of interest in seeing the country taken in a very different path," said Romney.

Even though primary day is two weeks away in Delaware and Pennsylvania, voters we spoke with said it was time for Santorum to bow out.

"I think he did the right thing because he was losing anyway, so i don't think he had much a chance of becoming nominated," said Ben Henderson of West Oak Lane.

"I think it's time for Republicans to get behind one guy and let's have a race," said Joe Maguire of Ambler, Pa.

Political watchers say the intensity of Romney versus President Obama will now increase much sooner than later.

While the president was fundraising in Florida Tuesday, his campaign released a statement saying Romney has promised to return to the same policies that created the economic crisis.

Back in Delaware at a steel and construction company, RC Fabricators, which is led by a female CEO, Romney struck while the iron was hot.

"The real war on women has been the job losses as a result of the obama economy," he said.

A new ABC/Washington Post poll has the president with a seven point lead over Romney.

Saint Joseph's University history professor and political analyst Randall Miller, PhD says now is the time for Romney to restock his war chest.

"This allows him to take the resources he has, get more resources and invest them where he wants to invest them which is of course in the general election and running against Obama," said Miller.

Santorum's announcement in Gettysburg, Pa., didn't include an endorsement of Romney, but the former senator from Pennsylvania said defeating Obama remained a goal.

Romney seemed content to shift slowly into his new role as the largely unencumbered Republican candidate. He made his traditional attacks on President Barack Obama's handling of the economy.

His staff said he will attend scheduled events Wednesday in Rhode Island and Connecticut even though those states - like Delaware - are safely Democratic in presidential elections and therefore not contested in the fall.

Romney said Democrats are wrong to claim the GOP is waging a "war on women." He held Tuesday's speech at a large women-owned plant in Wilmington and said women have lost large numbers of jobs under Obama's administration.

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