Santorum Heads to Iowa, Hasn’t ‘Been In Touch’ with Romney Camp

Jul 10, 2012 6:00am
gty rick santorum jt 120608 wblog Santorum Heads to Iowa, Hasnt Been In Touch with Romney Camp

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Iowa brought Rick Santorum glory — belated glory, but glory nonetheless — when he was finally proclaimed the winner of January’s Iowa caucuses. Now he’s heading back to thank those who helped him pull off the surprise win, launching a two day trip there Tuesday. He is not there to campaign in the battleground state of Iowa for Mitt Romney, though, saying in an interview Monday, “I haven’t been in touch with the Romney campaign.”

In an interview with Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson, Santorum said even though he hasn’t had any contact with the Romney campaign, he “want(s) to do whatever we can to be helpful to Gov. Romney.”

He’s obviously not on the vice presidential vetting list (although he did say, “I suspect he’ll be a solid conservative and someone that we can get excited about”) or even an on-call surrogate for Romney, but he will campaign on behalf of two congressional candidates while in Iowa. He told Henderson he feels “an obligation to get back and reacquaint myself with the folks who gave this campaign a lift.”

He has a jam packed two days back on the trail: in addition to campaign events in Bettendorf and Dubuque on Tuesday, he will hold a thank you “meet-and-greet” barbecue lunch for “Iowa supporters” of his in Iowa City. On Wednesday morning he has an early event for a state representative in Cedar Falls and a morning press conference with Iowa conservatives in Coralville.  In the evening, he will hold another thank you barbecue for supporters in Windsor Heights.

While campaigning in Iowa, Santorum would hold town halls that lasted as long as any audience member still had questions, sometimes taking queries for two hours or more. The former Pennsylvania senator will take a trip back down memory lane with another town hall Wednesday, this time with congressional candidate Ben Lange.

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, trying to earn a win there. On caucus night, Romney was named the winner of the contest until the results were certified two weeks later, making Santorum the victor.

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

He just laughed off the question when Henderson asked, but he made sure Iowans listening know that despite the initial counting error, Iowa should not lose its first-in-the-nation status.

“Obviously I’m biased in this regard, but I think if you look at the fact that we went on and won ten other states with very little resources and not a whole lot of national attention, maybe this Iowa Caucus has something to it after all,” Santorum said.

Santorum won’t be alone in Iowa Tuesday: President Obama is campaigning in Cedar Rapids and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus is heading there as well,  to bracket the president’s event and push their message.

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

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