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As backers clamor, Santorum says he won't call for Gingrich exit

 

 

Lenexa, Kan. – Despite calls from his Super PAC's top contributor for Newt Gingrich to drop out of the presidential race, Rick Santorum insists that he isn't pushing for the former Speaker's exit.

"People should stay in the race as long as they feel they should stay in the race," Santorum said. "And you know, I'm going to stay in the race because we're doing really well."

Speaking to reporters after a campaign event outside Kansas City, Santorum quipped that he would relish the departure of either Mitt Romney or Gingrich – who won only his home state of Georgia in last night's primaries.

"I'm not saying I don't want (Gingrich) to get out," he said. "If he wants to get out, I'm all for him getting out. I'm all for Mitt Romney getting out, I'm for everybody getting out, I wish President Obama would just hand me the thing, but that's not going to happen."

The former Pennsylvania senator added that if members of his staff have telegraphed a direct call for Gingrich to drop out, "it's certainly not coming from me and I don't support it."

Despite his limited primary victories, Gingrich has cut into Santorum's conservative support, preventing him from key wins over Romney in close-fought states like Ohio and Michigan.

During remarks to about 150 supporters, Santorum conceded that Romney's Super Tuesday performance gave the former Massachusetts governor a boost. 

"We had a good night last night, but so did Gov. Romney. That's why we have to start anew," Santorum said, adding that he must win the Kansas caucuses on Saturday.

A Romney adviser told reporters earlier Wednesday that it would take "an act of God" for Romney to lose the GOP nomination at this point.

That's a challenge Santorum wouldn't mind taking.

"If the governor thinks he's now ordained by God to win, then let's just have it out," Santorum said.