POLITICS

Rick Santorum Woos Guam, Apologizes For Joke About Exiling Unwanted U.S. Judges There

03/09/2012 11:13 am ET | Updated Mar 09, 2012

An offhand joke during the New Hampshire primaries about sending unwanted liberal judges to Guam is coming back to haunt Rick Santorum.

Both Santorum and Mitt Romney are trying to woo Republicans on the tiny island in order to pick up its nine delegates in Guam's caucuses on Saturday.

One of Romney's sons, Matt, is going to Guam on the day of the caucuses. Santorum recently held a call with Republican leaders in the U.S. territory.

But first, Santorum apologized for his joke about the island.

At a town hall event in Tilton, N.H., on Jan. 5, Santorum had joked about exiling liberal judges to Guam.

Santorum had singled out the 9th Circuit, which is despised by many conservatives, who perceive it to have a liberal bent. He had said if the court were to be abolished, he had "some ideas" about what to do with the judges -- a comment that elicited laughter from the audience. He then joked about sending the judges to Guam.

"I want to be responsive and I want to be respectful of the Constitution because there is a provision that judges are appointed for life," he had said. "Now maybe we can create a court that puts them in Guam or something like that so they can keep their life appointments and appoint a whole bunch of new judges to different circuits."

According to Sen. Frank Blas Jr., a GOP leader who was on the recent call, Santorum told Guam Republicans that he was sorry for his remark.

"It was very sincere," Blas said.

Another Guam politician on the call, however, was disappointed with Santorum's lack of knowledge about the island. "I was quite disappointed with how the discussion went," said Sen. Mana Silva Taijeron. "We were kind of expecting his views on how he is going to assist Guam. And what I've learned is he is very misinformed, actually uninformed, about some of our issues we face here on Guam."

There are 54 delegates up for grabs in Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

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