Santorum "taking a look" at 2012

Another conservative, the former senator from Pennsylvania, eyes the next presidential race

Published December 7, 2009 6:42PM (EST)

If you worried, even for a second, that the Republican presidential primary might turn boring come 2012, you can rest easy. If nothing else, the possibility that former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., will be jumping into the race should make things interesting.

Santorum has certainly been acting as if he at least wants to keep the door open. He's been visiting early primary states and stumping for other Republicans there, building up a list of favors he could potentially call in down the line. And in an interview with ABC News on Monday, he said he's "absolutely taking a look" at running.

For now, though, Santorum says he's more interested in the short-term future of his party. "I'm doing it in the context that right now, there's, you know, there's very important matters and I want to weigh into those matters as to what the Republican Party stands for in 2010," the former senator said. "I think I've been very clear that, you know, we need to stand foursquare on the traditional values. When I say traditional values people think, ‘Oh that means, you know, social conservatism and the family.' It also means the free enterprise system and that government shouldn't be large and controlling things."

Santorum seems like a long shot to capture the nomination, at best. And were he to get that far, he doesn't seem like much of a general election candidate -- he's just too far to the right for that, especially on social issues. But anything can happen.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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