What sunk the Gingrich-Santorum ticket?

FEBRUARY 22: Republican presidential candidates former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich participate in a debate sponsored by CNN and the Republican Party of Arizona at the Mesa Arts Center February 22, 2012 in Mesa, Arizona. CBS/Getty Images

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Sen. Rick Santorum came close to forming a unity ticket in the 2012 Republican presidential primary, in an attempt to topple the eventual GOP nominee Mitt Romney, Businessweek reports.

Ultimately, however, the plan fell apart because they couldn't agree on whose name would be at the top of the ticket.

"In the end it was just too hard to negotiate," Gingrich told Businessweek. "I'd like to have had Santorum drop out, and he'd have liked me to drop out."

The discussions began in February, when John Brabender, Santorum's chief strategist, proposed a dramatic plan: Gingrich would drop out in the middle of a nationally televised debate and endorse Santorum. The idea was to take Romney down in a key state like Michigan, start siphoning off his fundraising and bring together the "anybody but Romney" camp of the GOP.

Naturally, both candidates saw themselves as the best fit to serve as the GOP presidential candidate. Gingrich and his team reportedly made the case that he was the senior figure of the two. Furthermore, by the time these conversations were underway, Gingrich had won the South Carolina primary and and the support of Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Santorum, however, had more momentum at that point and saw himself as the leader of the conservative movement.

"I was disappointed when Speaker Gingrich ultimately decided against this idea, because it could have changed the outcome of the primary," Santorum told Businessweek. "And more importantly, it could have changed the outcome of the general election."

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