Mitt Romney Super Tuesday

Santorum endorses Romney—on YouTube, in 2008

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You know that awkward moment when you forget someone's name at a party? Or when you don't remember a close friend's birthday? Or when you just can’t recall that time you endorsed your political nemesis as a real “conservative”?

Okay, so you probably haven't had to deal with that last one, but Republican candidate Rick Santorum is dealing with unwelcome memories this week. Frontrunner Mitt Romney launched two ads featuring Santorum endorsing the former Massachusetts governor in 2008, during Romney’s first White House bid. The videos, produced just days before a critical primary vote in Illinois, feature Santorum saying “if you want a conservative as the nominee of this party, you must vote for Mitt Romney.”

The nearly identical videos went up on YouTube this weekend, but their views didn't take off until Monday morning, when Matt Drudge picked them up as the top story on the Drudge Report. Early Monday morning it had just over 7,000 views. By late Monday night that number had shot up to 28,000.

It was one of a handful of front-page stories Drudge has posted that seem to support Romney. Slate's David Weigel, among others, noted the apparent slant. But in linking to the videos, some on YouTube thought Drudge was, well, dredging up the past.

“There is nothing wrong with Rick Santorum's position from 2008 and his position to 2012,” wrote jwu09merage. “The endorsement of 2008 was not an eternal and an universal endorsement. It was for that specific presidential election and only for that election. Not sure why Drudge kept bring up this endorsement from 3 years ago. It is like saying Mitt lost 3 years ago, so he is going to loss again. Not one is this silly to think like this.”

But others said the video proved a point: Romney has this race locked up, he just needs to wait out Santorum and the others.

“Santorum and Gingrich just need to drop out. Nobody expects them to win the GOP [nomination]. It'll be Romney vs. Obama,” wrote TheArkansasHomebrew.

The other curiosity about the timing: This wasn’t stashed-away footage, waiting to shake up the political landscape. In fact, Santorum was asked about it a few weeks ago. His response? He hadn’t forgotten. He just made a mistake.

Photo via Mitt Romney