POLITICS

Rick Santorum Campaign: Robocalls 'Absolutely Not' A Mistake

02/29/2012 12:29 pm ET | Updated Feb 29, 2012

Rick Santorum spokeswoman Alice Stewart said Wednesday that the campaign stands behind its robocalls urging "Reagan Democrats" to vote for the candidate.

"Let me ask you a question about the robocalls. Was it a mistake?" Soledad O'Brien of CNN asked Stewart.

“Absolutely not,” Stewart replied. “And we’ve said all along that the purpose -- we’ll see how the next states play out -- but the key is we’ve always said we need to appeal to conservatives and also Reagan Democrats.”

Those calls to Michigan voters urged them to "join Democrats who are going to send a loud message to Massachusetts Mitt Romney," Talking Points Memo reported on Monday.

Santorum spokesman Hogan Gidley told CNN later that the campaign hoped to bring "Reagan Democrats" to its side. "We figured if we can get them in the primary; we can keep them in the general," he said.

A few weeks ago, though, Santorum said during a conference call with supporters that he opposed non-Republicans voting in party primaries, as CNN reported on Tuesday.

"We want the activists of the party, the people who make up the backbone of the Republican Party to have a say in who our nominee is as opposed to a bunch of people who don't even identify themselves as Republicans picking our nominee," Santorum said during the Jan. 29 call. "I don't like that. I believe that states should only allow Republicans to vote in Republican primaries."

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