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Santorum Says He’s “Open” To 2016 Bid

Newt Gingrich isn’t the only 2012 candidate leaving the possibility of running four years from now open, Rick Santorum is as well:

(CNN) - Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum hinted Monday he may see another presidential run in his future.

“I’m open to that possibility,” the Republican said when asked on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight” about a 2016 White House bid.

“But we’re a long way…” he added, pausing, then continuing, “I’m focused right now on trying to stay involved in the fray and make sure that we do the right thing up on Capitol Hill right now.”

Santorum proved a tough opponent to Mitt Romney during the Republican presidential primary, ultimately forcing the contest to run as late as April when Santorum dropped his bid and paved the way for Romney to clinch the nomination.

Since then, the social conservative launched a nonprofit group, “Patriot Voices,” which advocates conservative causes and backs conservative candidates. The former senator also has maintained an active role as a political commentator and was an occasional surrogate for Romney during the campaign.

Santorum said Monday he was also focused on the Republican Party’s inner debate about its future, adding that he wants to make sure “that we’re going to be very active and engaged and stick to America’s founding principles.”

The former senator first told The Weekly Standard on Monday that he was “open” to another run.

Some would argue that Santorum would be the “next in line” candidate, traditionally the candidate that Republicans end up nominating. I tend to disagree largely because of the fact that Santorum isn’t really part of the party establishment and isn’t likely to get the backing of the big money people. Additionally, opinions about Santorum are rather divided even among conservatives, and his well known association with social issues may be something the right would like to avoid.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Geek, Esq. says:

    Santorum also isn’t ‘next in line’ because his name was effecitvely “NotRomney.” The only reason he did as well as he did was that he ran such an incompetent campaign that he didn’t draw any attention in the run up to Iowa, allowing more compelling candidates (Perry, Bachmann, Cain, Gingrich) to all flame out ahead of him under the media spotlight.

    The Republican primary was a demolition derby, and being the second to last car to get completely destroyed doesn’t earn you many points. Especially after the Indiana and Missouri Senate races in the case of an alpha-social conservative like Santorum.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  2. C. Clavin says:

    If Republicans continue veering to the rightward extreme in reflexive opposition to a centrist President Obama…then certainly Santorum is the man.
    And give the man his due…he was spot-on when he said that Romney was the worst person to run against Obama.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  3. john personna says:

    It’s a wonderful test. We’d have a harder time gauging the new temperament of the GOP if he was coy.

    So, will the party go with “no college” and “no smart people“?

    (He would have been much smarter, for himself, to be coy.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  4. LaMont says:

    This would be terrible for the repuplican ticket! The more exetreme conservatives run, the harder it would be for a Bush, Jindal, or a Huntsman to survive. Moderates are not allowed in republican primaries!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  5. Kylopod says:

    And give the man his due…he was spot-on when he said that Romney was the worst person to run against Obama.

    To paraphrase Winston Churchill, Romney was the worst Republican candidate of the bunch, except for all the others.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  6. Tsar Nicholas says:

    In addition to the cited reasons the “next in line” rubric doesn’t work for Santorum because nobody of consequence was voting for him; instead those ballots he received were votes against Romney.

    Four years is an eternity in politics, but it’s not too early to say that that ’16 cycle is shaping up to be the worst GOP train wreck in history. Granted, it’s possible Republicans could luck out, and that the fringe elements and other no hopers will stay out of the fray. But that seems quite doubtful, doesn’t it? Palin. Bachmann. Rand Paul. Jim DeMint. Possibly Gingrich and Santroum, part deux. By this time in ’15 the GOP primary might already have degenerated into a pissing and crapping match about abortion, deportations, the gold standard, vaccines, contraception, evolution and same-sex marriages.

    The Dems in ’16 might very well win the White House by default.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  7. Dave Schuler says:

    A man’s reach should exceed his grasp or what’s a Heaven for?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  8. deathcar2000 says:

    Looks like they’re starting to pack the clown car a little too soon. Pace yourself there’s plenty of time, or you’re go stale before the midterms start.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. Geek, Esq. says:

    @C. Clavin:

    After Todd Akin and Mourdock’s flameouts, how do you think an anti-contraceptive, homophobic national candidate like Santorum would have fared?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  10. Franklin says:

    I’m sure Democrats are also “open” to Santorum, Gingrich, and Palin running, it just guarantees another eight years of holding the Presidency. Not that Republicans want any advice, but you got to reconsider people like Huntsman or Christie.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  11. CSK says:

    Oh, perfect. Perhaps Santorum and Akin can team up. I can visualize their platform now: “Birth control is bad for Christians who can’t get pregnant if they’re raped.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  12. C. Clavin says:

    @ Geek…
    Oh he would have lost too…no question. But he may have rallied the base a little more.
    I hardly saw any tea bags dangling from tricorns at my polling place.

    Tsar proves the broken clock dictum…4 years is a long time.
    To date Obama has been an outstanding President. If a Republican had accomplished what he has in his first term they would be singing hosannas for him. But who knows what events will conspire against him in the next 4 years? The Eurozone crashes…Israel starts WW3…something totally unforseen happens.
    Anyone who thinks the pendulum is going to be stuck on the Democrats side for long is fooling themselves.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  13. David says:

    I’m still pulling for Newt, cause who wouldn’t want to see a Hilary Newt presidential debate? (I know, she says she doesn’t want to run, but that would be awesome to watch)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  14. Chris Berez says:

    Anybody else feel like this is an accurate representation of the GOP at the moment ?

    Then again, with talk about Hilary running in 2016 as well, not to mention Jeb Bush, this probably sum up our political system in general.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  15. J-Dub says:

    Just when you thought you were done boosting the definition of “Santorum” to the top of the Google search results…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. An Interested Party says:

    Not that Republicans want any advice, but you got to reconsider people like Huntsman or Christie.

    Thankfully for the Democrats, those two would never get past the Republican base…after all, the GOP has run moderates twice now, isn’t it time for a “real conservative” to be the GOP standard-bearer…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  17. al-Ameda says:

    I’m a Democrat, and I approve of Rick Santorum’s efforts to secure the nomination of the Republican Party in 2016.

    That concludes my public service announcement for the day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  18. bill says:

    the media loved this guy for one reason- he was totally unelectable. stop looking at him and he’ll go away…forever.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0