Santorum Laughs Off Late-Night Endorsement of Romney

Tuesday, 08 May 2012 11:15 PM

By Paul Scicchitano

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Former GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum told comedian Jay Leno tonight that he had a perfectly valid reason for waiting until the middle of the night to endorse former rival Mitt Romney in an email to his supporters.

“I would have thought you would be in bed at 11:00 at night,” Leno joked in an episode of NBC’s “The Tonight Show” that was set to air on Tuesday at 11:30 p.m. “No, no. We have seven kids. So we don't sleep,” Santorum countered.

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But the late-night host pressed, “Now, why in the middle of the night? It seems kind of tepid, doesn't it?”

The former Pennsylvania senator said he met with Romney only on Friday and wanted his supporters to have the news first thing in the morning.

“I think we just needed some time. It was a rough-and-tumble campaign,” Santorum acknowledged. “I can't say that it would have been an easy thing the next day to turn around and say, "Let's just go forward." It was tough, and so I wanted an opportunity to, sort of, think about it a little bit and the family to think about it because this is not — I don't do things on my own.”

Santorum said his wife, Karen, played a big part in his decision to endorse Romney as did his family and supporters. “I had some concerns, and I voiced some of the things that I thought were important for us,” he said of his meeting with the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.

“If we were going to be successful in this general election, that he would take the cudgel and run with it. I felt comfortable after that meeting,” Santorum explained. “And over the weekend, I worked on it, and we decided to put it out late at night so it would be, sort of, the first thing people would see in the morning.”



Leno didn’t give up that easily.

“It’s kind of buried,” the comedian pointed out. “There were 16 paragraphs, and it was the 13th paragraph, ‘Oh, by the way, this Mitt Romney fellow, he's running for president.’"

Santorum countered that he had to make the case with his supporters as to why they should now rally behind the former Massachusetts governor.

Leno also pressed Santorum on his social views, including his views against contraception, pornography, and gay marriage.

“To me, Republicans used to be about strong defense, strong fiscal policy,” said Leno, who took exception to some of Santorum’s positions. “Why pornography? These all seem like minor things that really are just diversions.”

Santorum stressed that there’s more to a society than its economy. “The culture matters,” he insisted. “Look at every great civilization. They don't fail because a foreign power overtakes them, although, ultimately, a foreign power destroys them. But they were destroyed before the foreign power took them over. They were failing. They were failing as a culture. The economy, yeah, it's important, but the culture is what holds people together.”

On the issue of contraception, Santorum said he would never support an outright ban though he personally is opposed to it as a practicing Catholic. “My religious beliefs says contraception is wrong, and, therefore, my wife and I don't believe in that. But I would never impose that on anybody else. I've never voted to stop contraception,” he said.

Leno quipped: “So a gay couple smoking with contraceptive would be the worst thing.”

Santorum played along.

“Oh, my gosh,” the former presidential hopeful replied. ”Heaven forbid.”



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