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Santorum's Schedule Signals Ambivalence About Florida Santorum's Schedule Signals Ambivalence About Florida

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Campaign 2012

Santorum's Schedule Signals Ambivalence About Florida

Just before the primary, he leaves to raise money, prepare taxes.

MIAMI--Caught between a strong debate performance and low poll numbers, Rick Santorum’s campaign is struggling over whether to compete in Florida’s primary on Tuesday. The immediate answer appears to be no, judging by Santorum’s schedule.

On Friday, four days ahead of the primary, Santorum flew to his original home state of Pennsylvania to raise money and hold a media availability. Then he was headed south to his home in Virginia to do his tax returns, which he says he always does himself, in preparation for making them public. He was scheduled to return to Florida on Saturday night.

 

Greg Rothman, a close friend traveling with the former senator, said on Friday that Santorum would certainly depart the state ahead of the Tuesday primary, possibly as early as Monday morning. He said that Santorum was considering spending all of Monday in Florida after the positive reaction he received for his performance in Thursday’s CNN debate in Jacksonville. Santorum himself told reporters on Thursday that he will “run every race.”

However, Santorum’s dwindling campaign funds and low polling numbers tell a different story. Polls of Florida show him badly trailing Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich in what has become a two-man race.

Foster Friess, a wealthy backer who gave $500,000 to the Red, White and Blue Fund, the super PAC backing Santorum, told The Wall Street Journal he will still contribute money to help Santorum. But he said he won’t do it in time for the Florida primary because he doesn’t see a win as realistic. "I'm committed to Rick Santorum, and I'm going to be giving more to Rick Santorum,” he told the paper. "It's just a matter of when and how much."

 

Appearing Friday night on Fox News' Hannity, Santorum himself reiterated that he is remaining in the race -- and blamed President Obama's campaign for spreading misinformation to the contrary.

"I know where that's coming from; we traced it," Santorum said. "It's coming from the White House. They are afraid that we are the one that is going to come out of this race, and if you looked at the president's State of the Union address -- he led with a pathetic program, but at least he led with the idea of trying to revitalize manufacturing and doing something about the Reagan Democrats that are leaving him in droves. And they will, based on the track record I have in the policy that I put out, our made-in the-U.S.A. plan ... We are very excited about the Obama administration being worried about our campaign."

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