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Social Conservatives Still Cool to Romney

Social Conservatives Still Cool to Romney

WASHINGTON, April 11 (UPI) —
Social conservative groups refused to back Mitt Romney after Rick Santorum quit the U.S. presidential contest, which Newt Gingrich said was now a two-man race.

Romney told the Log Cabin Club of Massachusetts in an Oct. 6, 1994, letter, during his unsuccessful U.S. Senate bid to unseat Kennedy, he would “provide more effective leadership” than Kennedy in establishing “full equality for America’s gay and lesbian citizens.”

Log Cabin Republicans advocate equal rights for all Americans, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, which supports politicians who seek to eliminate legalized abortion, did not mention Romney in a statement praising Santorum’s candidacy on his departure.

Santorum did not mention Romney either when he announced in a 12-minute speech Tuesday he and his family decided during the weekend to end his White House campaign.

A Romney statement issued moments after Santorum concluded his remarks called the former Pennsylvania senator “an able and worthy competitor, and I congratulate him on the campaign he ran.”

Santorum did not endorse any candidate but said he would work to defeat President Barack Obama.

Most political observers said Santorum’s decision all but cleared the way for Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, to claim the nomination.

But Gingrich, the former House speaker from Georgia, said that was not true, vowing to stay in the race through the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., the week of Aug. 27 “so that the conservative movement has a real choice.”

Gingrich later sought to recast the GOP run as a two-man race, telling former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on his radio show Santorum’s exit made “it clearer that there’s a conservative, named Newt Gingrich, and there’s Mitt Romney.”

He said he now relished the “one-on-one” match-up he “spent the whole year hoping to get.”

Ron Paul’s campaign said the Texas congressman was also still in the race.

It called Paul “the last — and real — conservative alternative” to Romney.

Perkins told CNN conservative activists were so unenthusiastic about Romney that many would likely shift their grassroots efforts from the presidential race to congressional contests — specifically seeking to put the U.S. Senate in Republican hands.

But others said they were prepared to support Romney, now that he has virtually cleared the GOP field.

Faith and Freedom Coalition Chairman Ralph Reed said Romney “has to build bridges to evangelical voters, who he will need to turn out in large numbers in November.”

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