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March 23rd, 2012
10:31 AM ET

Santorum rep. tries to clarify Romney vs. Pres. Obama match-up in primary, general election

Rick Santorum Press Secretary Alice Stewart appears on Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien to discuss Santorum's recent comment on the potential choice between Mitt Romney and President Obama – “If they’re going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk with what may be the Etch A Sketch candidate for the future.”

Stewart says, “What he was referring to in the context of a statement was that he's worried that voters will have that feeling. What we need in order for the GOP to win is we need to have a choice. We need a clear vision different from what we currently have. With Mitt Romney, it's the same vision, and it’s one that’s not the right direction for this country. And he was worried that voters would have that feeling. What we have with Mitt Romney is a mirror image of Barack Obama. Both believe in government takeover of health care, cap and trade, Wall Street bailout. We need a candidate as nominee for the Republican party that's a contrast to what we currently have and that's what Rick Santorum is. He wants to, first and foremost, we don't celebrate the second anniversary of Obamacare, we need to have a candidate who will vow to repeal and replace Obamacare. We can't honestly take Mitt Romney's word that he's going to repeal and replace it when he's the one that wrote the model, the prototype in Romneycare."

Stewart continues, “Rick has made it abundantly clear once a nominee is chosen he'll stand behind the nominee and do everything we can to replace Barack Obama. That's what the beauty of the primary process is. It's to have candidates out there with differing messages and also different points of view on key issues. Rick is out there to show the contrast. He's out there to show that he's the only consistent conservative in this race in terms of the key issues that people are concerned with.”

When guest anchor Christine Romans asks for clarification, “During the primary season [Santorum] thinks the choice is Obama over Romney if that's your choice, but when it's the general election, he will say Romney."

Stewart answers, “As I said, Rick has made it clear that once the nominee is chosen, he'll stand behind it. We're confident as the delegate math continues that Rick will be the nominee. We feel we have a clear path to victory in this case. Romney is outspending us in areas 21 to one. He's been running for president for more than six years and he's up against the ropes. He has not energized the base. That's why Rick Santorum is doing so well and his message is resonating with people.”

Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien airs weekday mornings from 7-9am ET on CNN.

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