Santorum attacks Romney, McCain for ‘apologizing’ for conservatism


File: Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) on Friday criticized recent GOP presidential candidates for not being conservative enough, echoing comments made a day earlier by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.).

"How did it work for the Republicans nominating moderate candidates in the last two presidential elections?" Santorum said during his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference. "They put forth candidates who keep apologizing for the principles that they say they believe in, and then they lose."

Santorum finished second to Mitt Romney in the 2012 GOP presidential primary and is looking to run again in 2016.

The nominee who preceded Romney was Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). Cruz singled out both of them -- along with 1996 nominee Bob Dole -- in his speech Thursday at CPAC, sarcastically urging the crowd to "remember President Dole, President McCain and President Romney."

McCain subsequently called for Cruz to apologize to Dole.

Santorum said he's not interested in merely electing Republicans for the sake of electing Republicans. He said they need to stand for something.

"That may result in a win for a Republican candidate, but it would be a loss for Americans," Santorum said.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.

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