Santorum, Cruz and Trump Agree: Romney Blew 2012

The trio of conservatives trashed Romney in Iowa.

Mitt Romney, shown speaking on Nov. 5, 2012, in Manchester, N.H., blew it during the 2012 election, some Republicans say.

Mitt Romney, shown speaking on Nov. 5, 2012, in Manchester, N.H., blew it during the 2012 election, some Republicans say.

By SHARE

Both Santorum and Cruz were sure to play up their social conservative street cred – against abortion, anti-gay marriage, pro-border security, anti-amnesty, pro-gun rights – earning them easy applause lines from the crowd eagerly awaiting the red meat.

Santorum supplemented his populist economic message with the social conservative role he's most known for, calling on conservatives to take a lesson from the liberal movement who "lives and breathes their values."

"I don't agree with the establishment Republicans that we have to change our policies to be more like Democrats, but we do need to change our tactics to be like them," Santorum said. "There's twice as many conservatives than liberals ... yet, this country continues to go in their direction. Why? Because they work harder at it."

For Cruz, the mission of the moment is to defund the Affordable Care Act, Obama's signature health care law Republicans commonly deride as "Obamacare." His call for the law's elimination easily received the longest ovation of the day's speakers, something he said marked the difference of priorities between middle America and the U.S. Senate.

"If I were sitting in the Senate cloakroom, the reaction to that statement would be fundamentally different," Cruz said. "I don't know that I'm quick enough to dodge all the things that would be thrown at me. If we have to depend on Washington, it will never be done."

Only a grassroots effort will force Washington politicians' hands, Cruz said, who is struggling to garner support for his effort even from within his own party.

Neither Santorum nor Cruz has a clear shot at the 2016 presidential nomination should they seek it – popular figures such as Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., are other top potential contenders. But the manner in which they echoed each other in their Romney critique was striking.

And their at-times mirror addresses also provided a window into where each would potentially seek to find their base within a Republican Party, which is still searching for a leader that can both engender intraparty support and forge a winning path in a general election.

 

More News:

  • Democratic Rep. Holt: Cory Booker 'Has Some Explaining to Do'
  • NBC News Slams NBC's Plans for Clinton Series
  • Zuckerman: The Brilliant Fed Chair and the Clueless President