Robo-Wars: Automated phone calls become Michigan primary highlight

Alexa Fee Contributor
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In Michigan’s GOP battle of the robocalls, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is breaking out a key endorsement: former Pennsylvanian Sen Rick Santorum, his main Republican rival.

In 2008, while a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Santorum endorsed Romney for president on Laura Ingraham’s radio show. When comparing Romney to Arizona Senator and eventual nominee John McCain, Santorum called Romney the “only place to go right now” for conservatives.

“This is a guy who really is a conservative, someone we can trust,” Santorum said then.

He went on to call Romney someone “who has developed a passion, who understands why he is a conservative, and understands the issues.”

While Santorum’s endorsement did not help Romney win the GOP nomination in 2008, he is hoping it will help him in 2012. The Romney campaign broke out a robocall in Michigan quoting Santorum’s 2008 endorsement of his presidential bid.

The Detroit Free Press reported that the call begins with a short introduction that is followed with Santorum saying, “If you’re a conservative, there really is only one place to go right now. I would even argue farther than that. If you’re a Republican, if you’re a Republican in the broadest sense, there is only one place to go right now, and that’s Mitt Romney.”

“When [Santorum] came out and endorsed me he said these words: he said he is the ‘clear, conservative candidate,’” Romney said to an Americans for Prosperity conference.

Santorum’s campaign is not happy with this newest robocall. Following Romney’s denouncement of Santorum’s call to Michigan Democrats to vote in the open primary, Santorum appeared on Fox News to accuse the Romney campaign of a “low moment.”

“You mean when he runs a robocall of my voice from four years ago, saying good things about him, that’s not a low moment, and when I run a call basically calling Democrats who are eligible to vote here, [it is],” Santorum said to Fox.

The endorsement in 2008 began with Santorum telling Ingraham that he had hesitated before supporting Romney from the beginning because he doubted Romney’s conservative claims.

“Mitt Romney…I think really just looked up the Republican playbook and said, yeah, I should be for all these things,” he said.

He went on to say that Romney won him over throughout the campaign.

“Conservatism had traditional values and a traditional way of American life, and I think he understands that, it’s not just in his head anymore, it’s in his heart,” Santorum said.

Romney hung on for a narrow victory in the Michigan primary.

Santorum’s robocall to Democrats may be helping him. The Daily Caller reported that Rick Santorum had released a robocall encouraging Michigan Democrats to vote for Santorum in the Tuesday primary. Michael Moore, liberal filmmaker and Michigan native, told Rachel Maddow on Monday, “A lot of my Democratic friends are going to vote for Santorum tomorrow.”

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