ABC News’ Jonathan Karl reports:
And as for the pro-abortion-rights presidential candidate Santorum endorsed, when Specter launched a long-shot bid for president in 1995, Santorum — his fellow Pennsylvanian — was one of his few high-profile endorsements.
For Specter, who later became a Democrat, his pro-abortion-rights position was a centerpiece of his campaign. Specter believed that anti-abortion activists were a “fringe” group hijacking the Republican party.
“There are clearly more Republicans who are pro-choice,” Specter told Newsday’s Susan Page. “Up until now, I am the only person willing to take on the fringe.” After Specter dropped out of the race, he led an ill-fated movement to change the anti-abortion provision in the Republican party platform.
Santorum was effectively returning a favor by endorsing Specter despite his aggressive pro-abortion-rights views. Specter had supported Santorum’s 1994 Senate campaign.
Full piece, which includes the details on how Santorum was one of the Republican senators who voted to confirm Sonia Sotomayor to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals (an appointment that figures like Rush Limbaugh warned would lead to her becoming a Supreme Court nominee), here.
So far, the Romney campaign has been hitting Santorum on earmarks and his votes to hike the debt ceiling. But with Santorum surging nationally in the polls, it’s likely both his Sotomayor vote and his backing of Specter will be used by the Romney campaign and/or the Romney super PAC Restore Our Future. Negative ads played a large role in taking down Newt Gingrich in both Iowa and Florida; with Santorum’s favorables very high now, it would be shocking if Restore Our Future didn’t attempt to bombard the airwaves in Michigan and some or all of the Super Tuesday states with ads attacking Santorum.