Santorum Suspends His Campaign

Guest

Ken Rudin, political junkie columnist, NPR

Rick Santorum, Republican candidate for president, has suspended his campaign. From his home state of Pennsylvania and surrounded by his family, Santorum told the assembled crowd that though his race was over, the fight to defeat President Obama would continue.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. And here is a headline from one of the stories we're following here today. Former Senator Rick Santorum announced he is suspending his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination. With us here in Studio 3A is political junkie Ken Rudin. Hey, Ken.

KEN RUDIN, BYLINE: Hi, Neal.

CONAN: And what happened to convince him that, well, the race he was going to run all the way to Tampa he's going to stop his campaign now?

RUDIN: Well, perhaps it's the numbers. I mean, he has about 285 delegates of the 1,144 needed for the nomination. He has far fewer than Mitt Romney. And he's also looked at the math. He needs basically about 75 percent of the remaining delegates to have a chance at the nomination. And most of the Republican establishment for the longest time has said - has concluded that it's Mitt Romney's nomination to lose. And now, it's - conservative activists, evangelical activists have been talking to Santorum saying he has no shot at winning this.

CONAN: Former Senator Santorum was in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, just a few moments ago. This is what he had to say.

RICK SANTORUM: We made a decision to get into this race at our kitchen table, against all the odds, and we made a decision over the weekend that while this presidential race for us is over for me, and we will suspend our campaign effective today, we are not done fighting.

CONAN: Not done fighting, that is to maintain their position to argue their beliefs, but he's not going to be campaigning. So the nomination is now Mitt Romney's.

RUDIN: Yes. I mean, the Democratic National Committee has known that forever. The Republican establishment finally warmed up to that. Rick Santorum came to that conclusion this weekend. But at the same time, his 3-year-old daughter, Bella, came in and out of the hospital this weekend. She's been pretty ill. And, of course, you know, the thing is is that he just have April 24th coming up, his home state of Pennsylvania where the polls don't look so great for him. And I don't think he wants to pour in a ton of money and lose his home state's primary, either.

CONAN: And you mentioned money. This means that Romney gets to save the money he would have spent, and his superPACs - those supporting him - get to save the money they would have spent in places like Pennsylvania and Texas.

RUDIN: That's exactly true. And by suspending the campaign, it allows Rick Santorum to also go out and recoup some of the money he's spent on the campaign. So he doesn't go into any kind of debt.

CONAN: NPR's Ken Rudin. He'll be back with us tomorrow in this hour for our regular visit with the political junkie when we'll have even more on Santorum's announcement and what it means for the rest of this political year. Ken, thanks very much.

RUDIN: Thank you, Neal.

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