Santorum ends presidential bid, backs Rubio

Printed from: http://newbostonpost.com/2016/02/03/santorum-ends-presidential-bid-backs-rubio/

WASHINGTON — Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, ended his bid for the White House Wednesday and threw his support to Republican rival Marco Rubio.

“When it comes to the issues that we care about the most – restoring the American dream for hardworking families, standing up for the rights of the unborn, protecting our nation’s security, and fighting for international religious freedom  – we believe Marco Rubio’s position are right on, and he has earned our endorsement,”  Santorum said in a message sent to supporters Wednesday night.

The Pennsylvanian who won Iowa’s Republican caucuses in 2012 by a few dozen votes drew barely 1 percent of this year’s caucus goers on Monday.

“While the results were not what we had hoped, the experience of running for president was tremendously gratifying and something I won’t soon forget,” Santorum said in the message to supporters.

“Running for president provides you with a unique look into the candidates’ positions and temperament,” he said. “Marco Rubio is the right Republican to lead our party and our country.

“His policies will revive our manufacturing sector, help our families thrive and defeat ISIS,” he said, referring to Islamic State by an acronym.

“It is time to coalesce around the strongest candidate who will stand up for conservative values, be a statesman on the world stage, and has the ability to win a general election,” Santorum told supporters. “That is Marco Rubio.

Speaking on Fox News, where he announced his withdrawal from the campaign, Santorum said he’s backing Rubio because he believes the Florida senator is the only remaining candidate who cares about creating opportunity for working Americans and who understands how the breakdown of the family has contributed to the lack of opportunity and income inequality. Finally, he said Rubio understands and is fully committed to stopping the threat of radical Islamic terrorism.

Santorum added that he had spoken with Rubio by phone for over an hour today and came away confident that the senator is the only one in the field who satisfies his criteria and who can also unite the different factions of the GOP. He described Rubio as a “born leader” and praised his “optimistic” message.

Santorum entered the race in May as a heavy underdog in a crowded Republican field featuring more than a dozen high-profile candidates — many of them newcomers to presidential politics. His longshot status kept him off the mainstage in all of the Republican presidential debates, his campaign never gaining enough steam to put him up against heavyweight contenders like New York billionaire Donald Trump, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Associated Press writer Vivian Salama contributed to this report.

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