Santorum eyes run for president

Former Sen. Rick Santorum announced a fundraising committee that allows him to take the first steps toward a presidential campaign.

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Former Sen. Rick Santorum announced a fundraising committee that allows him to take the first steps toward a presidential campaign.

Santorum, a favourite of social conservatives who served two terms in the Senate from Pennsylvania, has been busy laying the groundwork for an expected presidential bid for months. He lacks the name recognition and fundraising organization of his better-known rivals but social conservatives who hold huge sway in some of the early nominating contests are far from settled on a preferred candidate.

“Now, the only test for me is whether we can raise the money that’s necessary,” Santorum told Fox News Channel, where he worked as a contributor until the network put him on leave while he mulled a White House bid.

Santorum, a blunt-talking conservative who once was the No. 3 Senate Republican, has made frequent visits to the early nominating states of New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina. His campaign slogan — “Fighting to make America, America again” — was likely to resonate with voters who doubt President Barack Obama’s patriotism.

However, 52-year-old Santorum also enters the campaign with hurdles.

He lost to Democrat Bob Casey in 2006 and has been out of elective office since 2007. He lacks the robust fundraising or personal wealth of his likely rivals.

Santorum was already eyeing the White House when he lost his 2006 race.

A familiar conservative criticism of Obama is that he isn’t proud of the United States; a smaller segment falsely claims that Obama was not born in the United States, but rather his father’s native Kenya.

“It’s time for America to be America again — an America that rewards innovation and hard work, that stands by our allies instead of our enemies, that protects even the most vulnerable of our society, and an America that says every life is to be cherished,” Santorum told supporters in an email that was sent as he announced his plans on Fox News Channel. “That’s what I believe in and that’s why I’m taking this next step in a possible run for president.”

His policy positions align with conservatives who are looking at many of the expected candidates with hesitation. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s changes of heart on gay rights and abortion do little to help his second presidential effort. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is twice divorced. And former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, making his first trip of the year to meet with New Hampshire voters on Thursday, has a record as a lobbyist.

Santorum was already eyeing the White House when he lost his 2006 race. His opposition to abortion, gay marriage and embryonic stem cell research — plus his youthful looks and tireless energy — made him a poster child for conservatives. But his sometimes abrasive style alienated voters in Democratic-leaning Pennsylvania, and they replaced him with an anti-abortion Democrat, Casey.

Santorum, a lawyer by training, wed wife Karen in 1990, the year he was elected to the U.S. House. He won his first term in the Senate in 1994.

He and his wife have six children.

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Online:

http://www.ricksantorum.com/explore/

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