BREAKING: Rick Santorum to suspend campaign (UPDATED)


No story just yet on the Fox News website but they’ve confirmed it. Rumors had been circulating for days that Santorum would suspend or exit the campaign, after the latest instance of his daughter Bella being admitted to the hospital. She was released last night.

I won’t be able to update this until later today. Stay tuned to Fox News for the latest developments.

Update – 5:16 PM: The NYT Caucus Blog has more:

3:08 p.m. | Updated Rick Santorum suspended his presidential campaign on Tuesday, bowing to the inevitability of Mitt Romney’s nomination and ending his improbable, come-from-behind quest to become the party’s conservative standard-bearer in the fall.

“We made a decision over the weekend, that while this presidential race for us is over, for me, and we will suspend our campaign today, we are not done fighting,” Mr. Santorum said.

Mr. Santorum made the announcement at a stop in his home state of Pennsylvania after a weekend in which he tended to his 3-year-old daughter, Bella, who had been hospitalized with pneumonia.

Mr. Santorum, who was holding back tears, did not exactly specify why he was ending his presidential bid. He referred to his daughter’s illness, but said she was making great progress and was back home after being hospitalized over the weekend.

Mr. Santorum called Mr. Romney earlier in the day to tell him of his plans to suspend his campaign. Mr. Santorum told Mr. Romney that he is committed to defeating President Obama, but that he is not going to endorse immediately, said a source familiar with the call.

I share Michelle Malkin’s sentiment about Santorum:

Thanks and prayers to Santorum and his family for their energy and passion and dedication to defending life, prosperity, and the American Dream. With a fraction of the money and air time, Santorum came from nowhere to become the most formidable challenger to Mitt Romney through hard work and faith.

I heard Newt Gingrich on Sean Hannity’s radio show earlier this afternoon, and he is continuing to vow to stay in the race until the convention. He also asserted that he and Mitt Romney had vowed to run more “positive” campaigns going forward because ultimately this is about defeating Obama and not tearing down the eventual GOP nominee.

It’s all over but the crying at this point, folks. Mitt Romney is going to be our nominee.

*Deep breaths*

Gunwalker: Why is the White House “hiding” a key witness?


**Posted by Phineas

In an article last July about possible White House knowledge of Operation Fast and Furious, I quoted the following from a CBS report:

At a lengthy hearing on ATF’s controversial gunwalking operation today, a key ATF manager told Congress he discussed the case with a White House National Security staffer as early as September 2010. The communications were between ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix office, Bill Newell, and White House National Security Director for North America Kevin O’Reilly. Newell said the two are longtime friends. The content of what Newell shared with O’Reilly is unclear and wasn’t fully explored at the hearing.

It’s the first time anyone has publicly stated that a White House official had any familiarity with ATF’s operation Fast and Furious, which allowed thousands of weapons to fall into the hands of suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels in an attempt to gain intelligence. It’s unknown as to whether O’Reilly shared information with anybody else at the White House.

Congressional investigators obtained an email from Newell to O’Reilly in September of last year in which Newell began with the words: “you didn’t get this from me.”

“What does that mean,” one member of Congress asked Newell, ” ‘you didn’t get this from me?’ “

“Obviously he was a friend of mine,” Newell replied, “and I shouldn’t have been sending that to him.”

Newell told Congress that O’Reilly had asked him for information.

Now, however, the White House is blocking access to O’Reilly, hiding him behind claims of “executive privilege:”

White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler sent a letter Thursday to Republican lawmakers Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley, refusing their request to speak with Kevin O’Reilly, a former National Security staff member whose emails place him in the middle of the unfolding scandal. Issa and Grassley had written to Ruemmler on March 28, asking the White House to step aside and let O’Reilly talk to investigators.

Grassley is the GOP ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Issa chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, whose members include Chaffetz.

“[O’Reilly’s] personal attorney indicated that he’s more than willing to talk to the committee, on the record, under oath”” [Rep. Jake] Chaffetz told Kelly during her Friday afternoon broadcast. “It is only the White House and the White House Counsel that is saying they will not make him available.”


Ruemmler also cited executive privilege and confidentiality as reasons for denying the lawmakers’ request.

Anyone who remembers the Nixon administration is probably having flashbacks right now at the mention of executive privilege. Not that it doesn’t have its place –it’s necessary in order to let aides feel comfortable offering the president their best, most candid advice without fear of a congressional witch-hunt– but it has also been abused to hide embarrassing or even scandalous facts.

The request to speak with O’Reilly resulted from requests and subpoenas demanding all communications between O’Reilly and his friend, Bill Newell. Ruemmler claims the White House has turned over everything it has, while Chaffetz says the emails were never delivered — in spite of the legally binding subpoena.

Hence the desire to speak to Mr. O’Reilly, who is himself willing to talk, if only the Obama White House would let him.

Ask yourself this: If there really is no scandal; if, as Ruemmler claims, the House and Senate investigators have all the documents they need; if O’Reilly has no damaging information to reveal… then why won’t they let him testify? What are they hiding? What are they afraid of?

Executive privilege won’t cut it; we’re not talking about confidential advice offered by a subordinate to the president or a cabinet member. O’Reilly was involved in communications about a program that, probably illegally, provided guns (and other weapons) to vicious criminal gangs in Mexico, arguably an act of war. Over 300 Mexicans and at least one, perhaps two, US federal agents have been killed with these weapons. “Walked” firearms are showing up at crime scenes in the United States. Executive privilege doesn’t cover being an accessory to murder.

Congress has every right under its oversight function to interview O’Reilly to hear what he has to say about Operation Fast and Furious, and the White House should drop its risible claims of privilege. If they don’t, it’s time for contempt proceedings.

The dead and their families are owed no less.

LINKS: More at American Thinker and Hot Air.

RELATED: Earlier posts on Operation Fast and Furious, aka “Gunwalker.”

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)