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Santorum says he will run for president

at 07:39 AM ET, 06/06/2011

Former senator Rick Santorum announced early Monday morning that he will be running for president, confirming what has been known for weeks.

Santorum told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that he will be officially announcing his campaign during an event later this morning in Somerset, Pa., where his grandfather immigrated to work in the coal mines.

“We’re ready to get into this race, and we’re in it to win it,” Santorum told ABC.

But even as he got into the race, many of the questions Santorum got from ABC’s George Stephanopoulos were notably skeptical of his presidential prospects.

Stephanopoulos noted both that Santorum lost his 2006 race by 18 points — his biggest challenge to overcome, Santorum advisers say — and that he has yet to catch on in the polls for the presidential race.

The latter fact comes despite an aggressive schedule in the runup to his official campaign. Santorum has visited Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina more than any other candidate, yet he’s still struggling to get noticed in all three states.

Santorum’s remarks are expected to focus on speaking the hard truths about the country’s financial situation and casting himself as the candidate with the widest and longest political resume in the field.

During his appearance on Good Morning America, Santorum even went to the right of Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) controversial budget, suggesting it doesn’t go far enough.

“Not even Paul Ryan and his budget now has the temerity to go after Social Security,” Santorum said, pointing out that led the GOP effort to reform the entitlement on the floor of the Senate — even while he was running for reelection.

That truth-telling role is already one that former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty sought to fill during his presidential announcement, but Santorum’s people think he can do a better job of backing it up.

That doubles as an explanation for his big loss in his 2006 reelection reace. Santorum explains that he was sticking by his principles in a bad year for Republicans, and it cost him.

“What people are looking for is someone who has stood by their principles in good times and bad,” Santorum said. “I stood up and I didn’t back away.”

Keep an eye on The Fix today for a dispatch from Somerset.

Giuliani urges Romney to apologize for Romneycare: Rudy Giuliani is inserting himself back into the presidential fold, taking aim at Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney in an interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader.

The former New York mayor told the paper that Romney should admit that he made “a terrible mistake” with his health care program as governor of Massachusetts, which Giuliani says was essentially the same as President Obama’s.

Romney “can’t talk his way out of this,” Giuliani said. “A mandate is a mandate is a mandate is a mandate is mandate. Let’s get real.”

The verbiage is some of the strongest used by any potential Romney challenger and suggests that Giuliani isn’t done being a part of the presidential conversation. Despite his campaign absolutely tanking in 2008, Giuliani has suggested he may run again, and a recent CNN/Opinion Research poll showed Giuliani in first place in the GOP presidential field, leading Romney within the margin of error.

Giuliani also said the current GOP field is being too “ambiguous” about Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) plan for Medicare.

Giuliani said he won’t make a decision on another campaign until late summer. He will not be at the debate next week in New Hampshire.

Palin “right there in the middle” on presidential run: During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin said her recent bus tour has not made her any more or less interested in running for president.

“Still right there in the middle, Chris; still trying figure out what the lay of the land will be as these weeks and months go by,” Palin told Fox’s Chris Wallace.

Palin also tried to explain how her comments about Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride were correct, with mixed — to say the least — results.

Huntsman to skip Iowa: Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman said this weekend that he would skip the Iowa caucus if he runs for president.

The former ambassador to China said he will skip the state because he opposes ethanol subsidies, which are popular in the corn-producing Iowa.

“I’m not competing in Iowa for a reason,” Huntsman said.

Huntsman’s early declaration — before he even announces his campaign — is an interesting one. His past on social issues (he supported civil unions for same-sex couples) would have made Iowa a tough state for him. But framing the issue around corn subsidies allows him to make a play for small-government conservatives in later primary states.

There had been talk that Romney might skip Iowa, but he has invested at least some of his time in the state and appears as though he will at least give it some attention. Romney hasn’t yet committed to participating in the Iowa straw poll in two months.

Fixbits:

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) pitches for mainstream support.

Former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory (R), who is expected to take on Gov. Bev Perdue (D) for the second-straight election, ties her to recently indicted former North Carolina senator John Edwards (D) and former governor Mike Easley (D), who was convicted of a felony in another campaign finance case last year.

Former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas) files for a rematch with freshman Rep. Quico Canseco (R). Rodriguez will be attempting his second return to Congress; he previously made a comeback in 2006.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she won’t back any bill that reduces benefits for Medicare recipients.

Why Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.) may not have to fear redistricting.

At least one Republican in Florida may like the state’s new redistricting amendments.

Must-reads:

Sarah Palin and the politics of winging it” — Mark Leibovich, New York Times

Louisiana redistricting case seen as crucial test of Voting Rights Act” — Sandhya Somashekhar, The Washington Post

Swing states still struggling after housing bust pose challenge to Obama reelection” — Michael A. Fletcher, The Washington Post

Cast turned House race into compelling drama” — Jerry Zremski and Robert J. McCarthy, Buffalo News

Edwards danced a risky line between his public and private life; that divide is key to charges” — AP

State, feds square off in Medicaid battle” — Heather Gillers, Indianapolis Star

 
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