Now that former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has bowed out of the GOP presidential race, he is not any more likely to be considered for the No. 2 spot on the Republican ticket this fall because the campaign was just “too nasty,” GOP political strategist Bradley Blakeman tells Newsmax.
“I think Santorum probably is not going to be in line for the VP spot because it’s just been too nasty and contentious,” Blakeman insists in an exclusive interview Tuesday. “I think that he certainly can serve in a Romney administration if they find the right place for him where he can be helpful.”
Blakeman, a professor of public policy, politics and international affairs at Georgetown University who appears regularly on Fox News, also believes that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul are no longer obstacles for Romney.
“There is no Paul or Gingrich to concentrate on. They’re meaningless to him obtaining the nomination,” according to Blakeman, who is also a Newsmax contributor. “The adversary is Barack Obama, and in order to take him down in the election, he’s got to organize now, unify the party, raise money, and hone his policy.”
Before Santorum’s announcement from Gettysburg, Pa., there had been rumors that the candidate might withdraw because of the medical condition of his 3-year-old daughter, Bella. In an email thanking backers for their support Tuesday afternoon, Santorum acknowledged that Bella, who had gone home from the hospital on Monday, is suffering from pneumonia.
“But like her dad, she’s a fighter. It’s in the blood,” Santorum stressed.
Gingrich released a statement noting Santorum’s “remarkable campaign” and pledging that “I am committed to staying in this race all the way to Tampa so that the conservative movement has a real choice.”
But Blakeman was skeptical of Gingrich’s viability and said that Romney has effectively locked up the nomination. “Even though you don’t have any competition, you still have to show up. People have to vote and you have to obtain that number,” Blakeman explained.
The former Massachusetts governor must also try to mend relationships after the bitter primary struggle. “I think Romney needs to be a statesman and concentrate now on putting together an effective national team,” Blakeman said. “At the appropriate time, hopefully Santorum will be able to endorse Romney, but he needs to take the high road — no gloating, no victory laps.”
He added that Santorum’s decision was based in no small part on the very real possibility that he might have lost his home state in the April 24 primary election. “I think it’s the smart thing to do,” said Blakeman. “The handwriting is on the wall that he would most likely lose Pennsylvania, and it would have been, I think, devastating for any political future he would have, to lose Pennsylvania after losing [his Senate seat] so badly in 2006.”
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