Santorum, Gingrich open to VP slot

Updated
 
Santorum, Gingrich open to VP slot
Santorum, Gingrich open to VP slot
Associated Press

In every presidential campaign, candidates in both parties are invariably asked whether they’d consider joining their party’s ticket as vice president. The stock answer is generally the smart one: “I’m running for president, not vice president. I’m the best person for the job and I fully intend to be my party’s nominee.”

When a candidate isn’t taking this line or something close to it, as a rule, it’s a strong hint that he or she believes the nominating race is effectively over. And when both of the frontrunner’s main opponents signal an openness to the idea at the same time, the nominating race is really over.

With this in mind, consider yesterday’s events. Rick Santorum sat down with radical TV preacher Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network, which asked the former senator if he would consider an invitation to join Mitt Romney’s Republican ticket. “Of course,” Santorum said, adding, “I’ll do whatever is necessary to help our country.”

That’s a far cry from, “I’m running for president, not vice president.”

Also yesterday, Newt Gingrich was asked on Fox News about a possible V.P. nomination. Though the former Speaker said an invitation is unlikely, he added, “I wouldn’t say no.”

At least on the surface, Santorum and Gingrich scoff at the very idea of ending their presidential bids, and in public, continue to tell voters that they remain viable candidates. But when they both sit down for televised interviews, and both signal a willingness to accept roles on the ticket, Santorum and Gingrich are signaling a level of resignation and defeat neither has made up until now.

As one GOP strategist told TPM, “Rick Santorum saying he would be open to being Romney’s vice president undermines the logic of his delegate campaign. To win his delegate race, he has to demonize Romney. He has now cut that path off.”

The Romney campaign has effectively begun ignoring its GOP rivals. Given what Santorum and Gingrich are saying about their chances, that seems like a reasonable move.

Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich

Santorum, Gingrich open to VP slot

Updated