Rick Santorum Heads Back to Iowa On ‘Thank You’ Tour

Jun 29, 2012 9:43am
gty rick santorum jt 120608 wblog Rick Santorum Heads Back to Iowa On Thank You Tour

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ABC News’ Shushannah Walshe reports:

Rick Santorum is heading back to Iowa. But it’s not to campaign for the presumptive GOP nominee, Mitt Romney.

Instead, Santorum is traveling there to thank Hawkeye State voters for his belated caucus victory there in January.

ABC News obtained an early copy of the schedule, which is lengthier than the initial two events released earlier this week. The former presidential candidate will launch the two-day “thank you” tour with a barbecue lunch on Tuesday, July 10 in Iowa City.

He will also campaign for congressional candidates he has recently backed. Following the lunch he will be the “special guest” at a reception for congressional candidate John Archer in Bettendorf. In December, Santorum spoke at a Christmas Party and fundraiser for Archer. He will head  to Dubuque  that evening for a fundraiser for another congressional candidate, Ben Lange.

Wednesday, he makes stops at a breakfast in Cedar Falls and will then appear with The Family Leader’s Bob Vander Plaats for a news conference with other conservative leaders in Coralville. (Vander Plaats endorsed Santorum last December ahead of the Iowa Caucuses.) That evening he holds another thank you “meet and greet” picnic in Windsor Heights.

Get more pure politics at ABC News.com/Politics and a lighter take on the news at OTUSNews.com

The packed two days read like a campaign schedule for the candidate who dropped out in April, but spent the most time campaigning in Iowa, shaking hands and kissing babies the old fashioned way trying to earn a win there. On caucus night, Romney was initially named the winner of the contest until the results were certified making Santorum the victor about two weeks later.

News of Santorum’s busy schedule comes just hours after the former Pennsylvania senator, 54,  appeared on CNN offering less-than-laudatory words for  Romney’s signature health care plan in Massachusetts, something he consistently stressed during the primary campaign.

“I think what you’re seeing is it hasn’t worked in Massachusetts,” Santorum told Piers Morgan Thursday night. “Health care costs in Massachusetts are number one in the country. They have a series of problems with people who decide to take the tax, in other words, pay the fine, instead of buying insurance, because it’s cheaper. It doesn’t work.”

Santorum officially backed Romney last month in a middle-of-the-night e-mail message to supporters and since then has given a string of tepid testimonials for the presumptive GOP nominee. He also has yet to campaign with Romney. By contrast, their other rival, Newt Gingrich, has appeared with Romney at least twice.

It all begs the question: Is Santorum getting ready for another run in 2016 if his former rival loses in November?

Santorum’s 2012 Iowa itinerary also bears some resemblance to the Iowa campaign swing Santorum announced one year ago this month. It was in July 2011 that then-candidate Santorum launched his 50-city “Courage to Fight for American Values” tour during which he traveled to every corner of the state starting July 26 and ending in August with the Ames Straw Poll.

The Red, White, and Blue Fund is Santorum’s hybrid political action committee and is sponsoring this July’s events. During his primary campaign, the Fund served as his superPAC, but now acts as his leadership PAC, promoting his political endeavors as well.

ABC News’ Michael Falcone contributed to this report. 

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