Politics

Santorum busy making plans for 2012 bid

In an interview with The Daily Caller, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said he’s actively cultivating donors, staff and supporters so he’ll be in a position to run for president in 2012 as a Republican if he decides to do so by early next year.

“I’m going through the process of what someone who is seriously considering running would do,” Santorum said by phone, “in order for when the time comes to decide, I’m in a position that I have a choice.”

Santorum—who was elected to the Senate in 1994 but left in 2006 after losing his seat—said he plans to make a decision on a presidential bid by either the end of this year, or the beginning of 2011.

Three factors, Santorum said, will determine his decision:

The first is whether he finds his message resonating in today’s political environment. He is traveling around the country — in early primary states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina — giving speeches and participating in town meetings. He said he’s “getting reaction from people on what they think of the message, what they think of the messenger, what they think of my background and my accomplishments and how that fits into what people are looking for in 2012.”

A second consideration is whether he can raise the money necessary for a serious effort. “You can’t run a campaign unless you have resources,” he said. “I’m talking to folks about what resources might be available if I do this.” He said a recently convened meeting with his former Senate staffers, reported on by a number of news outlets, was for him to relay these plans for 2012, solicit advice and gauge interest.

Lastly, there are personal considerations. He said he’s not a millionaire like other potential candidates and “they don’t pay you a lot of money to run for president.” Santorum still must pay for the education of his seven kids, one of whom has health issues.

And then there’s the blood-thirsty media: “Life on the outside when—no offense—guys like you aren’t taking their microscopes out and looking at every singe aspect of what you said or what you’ve done in your life isn’t all that bad.”