Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna: Rick Santorum's "Disgraceful" Tactics Show Which Team He's Really On

Press Conference

By:  Mike Turner Samuel Olens Tom Luna Mead Treadwell
Date: Feb. 29, 2012
Location: Boston, MA

"A primary is a process for a party to pick its own nominee. And in order for this to be a fair process, it's necessary that the process have integrity and for a candidate for the Republican nominee for president to use tactics that would draw questions to the integrity of our process, it's just disgraceful. So I look at this and when you think about it a couple of weeks ago, Rick Santorum told the whole nation that he chose to compromise his principles and values in order to be a team player. Well now apparently he's decided to play for the other team." --Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna

Gov. John Sununu, Bay Buchanan, Rep. Mike Turner, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, Attorney General Olens, and Superintendent Tom Luna
"No More Dirty Tricks" Press Conference Call
February 29, 2012

Highlights From The "No More Dirty Tricks" Press Conference Call:

GOV. JOHN SUNUNU: "Thank you very much. Yes, we finished Arizona and Michigan with two great wins for Governor Romney, and now we want to review what happened there and prepare ourselves as we head in to Super Tuesday. Obviously we did learn a lot about those two elections. One of the things we learned is what Rick Santorum did with the robo calls encouraging Democrats to come in and do mischief and mess up the Republican primary. He did that even though three weeks ago he said that he did not think it was appropriate for Democrats to come in and do that. And so, if I may borrow a phrase from Santorum I think what he did makes me feel like throwing up, and unlike Santorum I am not going to regret what I just did. The fact that he made the commitment three weeks ago then changed though is very typical of Rick Santorum talking about principle, and then compromising on principle whenever there is a personal benefit. He likes to talk about being able to cut spending and he falls in love with earmarks. He did the same thing with issues like right to work. He did the same thing with education where he talked about principle and then took one for the team. And the fact of the matter is that his support for Arlen Specter, who ended up voting for Sotomayor is once more talking about principle and then caving in on principle, and taking personal benefit, whether it's political benefit or whatever out of the process. I think it is a disgrace that Senator Santorum stands there and in effect stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Michael Moore. He takes the suggestion for what he recommended be done out of the Democratic National Committee playbook. He is supporting, when he does that, the extreme left-wing of the Democratic Party, and he is screwing up the Republican process where Republicans ought to be entitled to have Republican voters select our nominee. I think Santorum ought to be ashamed of himself, and I do really think that he is showing his true colors in that process."

FORMER US TREASURER BAY BUCHANAN: "Thank you. You know it is interesting to me is that Rick Santorum didn't take this action until he recognized that the Republican voters of Michigan were about to reject him. That they had looked at him, given him a close look out there as he campaigned hard, and they had decided they were going with Mitt Romney. When he realized he was falling beyond he couldn't make the sell by just talking about himself and his own policies. He made an outrageous--he reacted outrageously. Basically what he said is look I'm going get rejected, so I am going to go over here and talk to the Democrats. And I am going to give them a reason to vote for me, not because of who I am and what I stand for, but because the damage that I can do to the Republican Party, and how I can help the Democrats if they just came out and voted for me. Basically asking them to wreak havoc, and to throw the primary--to throw the Republican primary towards somebody who wasn't the Republican choice and then, as an explanation, as a defense for this, he had the audacity to suggest this is what Ronald Reagan did. Ronald Reagan never took a position against what he believed for, what he believed. And because his message, a conservative message, an economic conservative message, reached out and touched working men and women, and Democratic working men and women came to us. That is nothing like what is being suggested here, nothing like what Rick Santorum did. He basically abandoned his own principles and suggested that a pro-union position why people should vote for Santorum, not because of his positions, but because it could wreak havoc on our primary. So this is offensive, it is a fraudulent defense that he makes when he calls on Ronald Reagan, and indeed, this would be, Ronald Reagan himself would have objected to any kind of suggestion along these lines if any of us had recommended it to him."

GEORGIA ATTORNEY GENERAL SAM OLENS: "What's very interesting is Governor Romney won among Republicans 48 to 37, by nine points last night in Michigan, while Senator Santorum won big with Democrats 53 to 17. Interestingly enough, Senator Santorum also won big among those who oppose the Tea Party, and he won big with folks that describe themselves as liberal. Now, one needs to take a step back and wonder why you're running for president. And if you're running for president to be the conservative voice, you don't overtly seek union, liberal voters when you're campaign has then been become desperate. So, by definition, I think that the Governor showed tremendous fortitude last night, won big in Michigan despite having been down a lot just seven days earlier. And as we look at his record, it's clear when you look at the exit polls, people are interested in electability and in experience and that's where Governor Romney shines the most."

OHIO REP. MIKE TURNER: "Last night, we saw that Rick Santorum cheated, but he couldn't cheat enough to win. He cheated by asking people who would never vote for him for president to vote for him in the Republican primary. I believe that he should agree to give back a percentage of the delegates that he won in the Republican primary with Democrat votes that would never support him for president. Clearly though, even though he cheated, Romney won with the overwhelming support. People turned to his record of experience; his proven leadership; they know that we need to rein in spending in Washington; they know that we need to get this economy moving, that we need be able to produce jobs and in the areas like Ohio--where I'm from--where people are hurting and know they need this economy moving forward, they chose Romney because of his record of experience."

ALASKA LT. GOV. MEAD TREADWELL: "Yeah, they say politics sometimes makes for strange bedfellows. I think Senator Santorum really chose strange bedfellows in the Michigan primary. And his strategy to invite Democrats into the GOP race can backfire again because their goal is to see the least electable GOP nominee and Santorum is it. I know that Americans want a candidate who stands for more jobs, less debt, smaller government and that's Governor Romney, who can actually pull a wide tent, bring together economic issues and social issues and help bring this country together. But it's just very, very sad, that in our state, we're coming up as a caucus next week. There is a chance for Democrats to participate if they register Republican that evening and I sure hope we don't see this strategy in our state."

IDAHO SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION TOM LUNA: "A primary is a process for a party to pick its own nominee. And in order for this to be a fair process, it's necessary that the process have integrity and for a candidate for the Republican nominee for president to use tactics that would draw questions to the integrity of our process, it's just disgraceful. So I look at this and when you think about it a couple of weeks ago, Rick Santorum told the whole nation that he chose to compromise his principles and values in order to be a team player. Well now apparently he's decided to play for the other team. Now, Rick Santorum is being used by Obama. And if he knows it, then shame on him. If he doesn't know it, then he's just naïve."