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Romney, Santorum say they would vote for Paul if he wins nomination

JTA

December 29, 2011 | 12:10 pm

Republican presidential candidate and Representative Ron Paul (R-Tx.) in Des Moines, Iowa on Dec. 28. Photo by REUTERS/Jeff Haynes

Republican presidential candidate and Representative Ron Paul (R-Tx.) in Des Moines, Iowa on Dec. 28. Photo by REUTERS/Jeff Haynes

Two Republican presidential candidates said they would vote for Rep. Ron Paul if he wins the GOP nomination.

Mitt Romney, considered a frontrunner, and Rick Santorum, now undergoing a late surge in polls in Iowa, both told CNN in recent days that they would vote for Paul if he were to secure the nomination.

“I don’t agree with a lot of things that Ron Paul says, and I would vehemently oppose many of his initiatives, and I believe that we’d be able to move him in a direction that’s more productive,” Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, told CNN Wednesday.

Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania said he would absolutely vote for Paul, but added: “I’d have to take a lot of antacids when I go into the voting booth and vote for him.”

Paul, a Texas congressman, is currently placing second in many polls in Iowa, home to the nation’s first caucuses, and in New Hampshire, the first state to hold primaries.

Paul’s foreign policy views—including his support for ending aid to Israel and emphatic warnings against confronting Iran over its suspected nuclear weapons program—have made him an outlier in the Republican field. He has been strongly criticized by many of his fellow candidates.

In addition, Paul has been dogged by questions about anti-Semitic, anti-gay and racist content in newsletters sent out under his name in the 1980s and 1990s.

Romney and Santorum expressed hope that if Paul were nominated, he could be persuaded to change his positions.

Fellow candidate Newt Gingrich told CNN Tuesday that he could not vote for Paul, citing his views on Israel and Iran, as well as the newsletters. But in the same interview, the former U.S. House of Representatives speaker later said that it would be “a very hard choice”  if he had to choose between President Obama and Paul.

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