Republicans unite fractured party behind Romney after Santorum's withdrawal
Within hours of Rick Santorum's withdrawal from the presidential race Tuesday, leading Republicans were focused on the difficult task ahead: uniting a fractured party behind Mitt Romney.
Within hours of Rick Santorum's withdrawal from the presidential race Tuesday, leading Republicans were focused on the difficult task ahead: uniting a fractured party behind Mitt Romney. That work got underway in Pennsylvania on Tuesday night shortly before Romney's appearance at the Chester County GOP dinner where the state's junior senator made a plea to members of his party to set aside their loyalties and get behind the former Massachusetts governor. "He can't do this alone. He needs us to help make this happen for him," Patrick J. Toomey said at the party gathering in Mendenhall. "He needs this party, the Republican Party, to unite now, to pull together from all different strands, and different thoughts and different areas of the state and the country - to come together now, to unite behind a man who is so well equipped to handle this job, to win this race.", informs Los Angeles Times. The decision came after Santorum huddled with his family during the weekend as his 3-year-old daughter, Isabella, was hospitalized.
The girl, whom the Santorums call Bella, has a genetic condition called Trisomy 18. She was released from the hospital Monday. "We made a decision over the weekend, that while this presidential race for us is over ... we are not done fighting," he said. Santorum, appearing with his family in Gettysburg, Pa., told supporters that the battle to defeat President Barack Obama would go on, but he pointedly made no mention or endorsement of Romney, whom he had derided as an unworthy standard-bearer for the GOP, says Detroit Free Press. Though Santorum didn't specifically say Tuesday why he was pulling out of the race, polls previewing the April 24 Pennsylvania primary showed that Romney had pulled into a virtual tie with him. A loss in his home state would have destroyed the 53-year-old Santorum's future national aspirations. While Santorum pledged in his 15-minute exit speech to fight on to defeat Obama, he never mentioned Romney, whom he repeatedly referred to in the campaign as "the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama.", reports San Francisco Chronicle. At the same time, he now leads a party that has yet to fully embrace him.
In an election that has been marked by who could emerge as the anti-Romney, the party must now become pro-Romney, whether its base is ready to or not. Republican leaders seemed to greet Santorum's exit with a measure of relief, hoping that the voters can now begin to unite behind Romney. "We were in this strange environment where there was no national Republican leader who could drive the agenda,'' said Mike Dennehy, an adviser to John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign. "Now we have that in Mitt Romney.'', according to Boston.com..