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Santorum, Gingrich almost teamed up

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Santorum

It's still a wonder how far Rick Santorum got in last year's GOP primaries, outpacing Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich and other big names, winning 11 states and coming in second to presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Businessweek has a barnburner of a story today saying the former Pa Senator nearly joined forces with Gingrich to topple Romney in the runup to the key Michigan primary, with Pittsburgh-based Santorum strategist John Brabender playing a key role in the drama. He wanted Gingrich to endorse his boss in the middle of a live televised debate. Instead Gingrich, in a long-winded historical argument (that sounds familiar) said his greater age demanded Santorum cede to him.

From Joshua Green:

Romney eked out a three-point win in Michigan on Feb. 28 and was never seriously threatened again. While this type of elaborate plotting is more typical of political thrillers, it was real this time. A year later, many who worked to build the Unity Ticket still believe it could have been decisive.

"I was disappointed when Speaker Gingrich ultimately decided against this idea, because it could have changed the outcome of the primary," Santorum said. "More importantly, it could have changed the outcome of the general election."

The end for Santorum was instead rather ignominious: after narrowly losing Michigan and then Ohio to Romney, he was facing an embarrassing home-state defeat in the Pennsylvania primary, and bowed out in a speech in Gettysburg.

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