Rick Santorum seeks Democratic support in Michigan robocalls

at 06:12 PM ET, 02/27/2012

Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign is actively seeking the support of Democrats in Tuesday’s Michigan primary, running a robocall that sounds oddly like one that would be run by an organized labor group.

“Michigan Democrats can vote in the Republican primary on Tuesday,” the narrator says in a copy of the automated call to Democratic voters that was initially obtained by Talking Points Memo. “Why is it so important? (Mitt) Romney supported the bailout for his Wall Street billionaire buddies, but opposed the auto bailout. That was a slap in the face to every Michigan worker. And we’re not going to let Romney get away with it.”

Then the ad closes with: “This call is supported by hard-working Democratic men and women and paid for by Rick Santorum for President.”

Despite the disclaimer, the source of the ad was initially unclear when TPM first posted it, and some even thought it was a dirty trick played by Democrats seeking to get supporters to vote for Santorum over Romney. Democrats have toed the line of actively encouraging Democrats to vote against Romney.

It’s also an odd message considering that Santorum also opposed the auto bailout. Santorum has tried to differentiate himself on the issue by noting that he has a blanket no-bailout policy, while Romney supported the Wall Street bailout but not the auto bailout.

But Santorum spokesman Hogan Gidley told The Fix that the ad did indeed come from the campaign.

“We know that Rick’s message of balanced budget and getting people back to work resonates with Reagan Democrats,” Gidley said, arguing that Santorum’s message has long had appeal to such voters.

Romney’s campaign called the calls “outrageous.”

“Rick Santorum has moved beyond just ‘taking one for the team;’ he is now willing to wear the other team’s jersey if he thinks it will get him more votes,” said Romney spokesman Ryan Williams. “We believe that Republicans will decide who wins Michigan – and we are confident that will be Mitt Romney.”

 
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