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GOP watch: Santorum and 2012

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said yesterday that his plans to do a series of speaking engagements in key election states are intended to "galvanize the Republican Party," but did not deny that he was considering running for president in 2012. In a conference call with reporters, Santorum previewed his speech on Thursday in Iowa, which just happens to be the home of the first presidential nominating contests. When asked whether the speech is an opening salvo to a presidential bid, Santorum said "it's not that I'm not going to plan; it's just that this is an opportunity to speak and lend my voice to what I hope to be a conservative movement and Republican movement to change the direction that Barack Obama wants to take us."
 

During the Q&A, one reporter on the call likened Santorum's non-official platform to that of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin -- to which Santorum responded: "The opportunity to influence the debate has to come from other places. It can't come from doing press conferences at my Senate office." He described his current junket as a "combination of helping candidates and speaking to groups that would like to hear a different set of ideas than those that are being espoused in Washington DC by the administration."

After opposing Obama on the stimulus, "Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal urged his party in an interview Tuesday to shift to offering health care solutions instead of just rejecting what President Barack Obama and the Democratic majority in Congress are proposing," Politico writes.