The Ticket

Rick Santorum offers lukewarm assessment of Rubio

Chris Moody
The Ticket

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Rick Santorum (LM Otero/AP)

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has a passionate following of conservatives urging Mitt Romney to choose him as his running mate. Rick Santorum does not seem nearly as enthusiastic about the possible vice presidential contender.

During an interview on Glenn Beck's radio show Monday, Santorum praised Rubio as an "articulate spokesman" and a "great future leader" but couched his remarks with concern about Rubio's legislative record.

"He represents different constituencies in Florida than I do, and there's some issues we don't necessarily see eye to eye on," Santorum said when asked if he thought Rubio was "a true small-government conservative." "But look, my sense is that listening to him and hearing him talk and following him in his career, that he has understood like a lot of folks do that we've gone through these last four or five years, that we're reaching a point where things that he may have been able to go along with in the past just simply aren't viable."

Santorum, who challenged Romney in the Republican primaries earlier this year, has chosen his words carefully when discussing the veepstakes. Speaking to reporters on Friday, Santorum declined an opportunity to speculate about Romney's process of choosing a running mate.

"If I was the nominee, I wouldn't want other people telling me who to put in, and I'm not going to tell Gov. Romney," he said.

During an interview on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday, he denied that he was being vetted by the campaign for the spot. "No one's asked me for anything right now," Santorum said.

Santorum launched a new advocacy group called Patriot Voices last week to support Republican candidates and promote social conservative causes. He endorsed Romney after dropping his own bid for the White House earlier this year but suggested Monday that he will continue to criticize the presumptive Republican presidential nominee if he veers from Santorum's understanding of conservative principles.

"Will you stand against the GOP and Romney if they start more of this bailout nonsense?" Beck asked Santorum during the interview.

"Yeah, I've been very clear about that," Santorum said. "We're here to support candidates that are the best candidates available out there to forward the American exceptionalism view of public policy, you know, limited government, free people, strong families, etc. But at the same time, we're going to be here past the election, we're going to be here during the election, and we're going to be an issue oriented organization. We're going to hold, whether it's Gov. Romney or others, accountable for their campaigns as well as what they do if they're successful in their campaigns."

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