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What Santorum's Former Aides Say About Him What Santorum's Former Aides Say About Him

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What Santorum's Former Aides Say About Him

William Ehart of CEO Update, the publication that covers association news, reports on how former aides to GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum are reacting to Santorum's performance thus far:

"He definitely has surpassed his own expectations on where and how far he'd go in the race," said Peter Stein, director of legislative advocacy for the $13 million-revenue American Podiatric Medical Association, based in Bethesda, Md.

Both Stein and David French, top lobbyist for the $32 million-revenue National Retail Federation, remember a meeting in the summer of 2010 in which the Republican candidate for president called former staff together to outline his campaign strategy.

"This is the kind of road map he laid out," French told CEO Update, pointing to the candidate's strategy of getting out and meeting people in a low-budget campaign in places such as Iowa, where Santorum won on Jan. 3.

Ehart also reports on how an association made the rare move to endorse a candidate before the Republican Party picked its nominee:

Associated Builders and Contractors, a group staunchly opposed to what it sees as President Barack Obama's pro-union policies, has taken an unusual step by endorsing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for president in the midst of the Republican primary season.

The group also ran a pro-Romney ad in the Columbus Dispatch on Sunday, March 4, just ahead of Ohio's important primary, where Santorum polled strongly (and ultimately lost to Romney by 1 percentage point).

Most trade associations avoid presidential endorsements. Those that do back candidates--including ABC in the past--have waited until primaries are over or won by one candidate.

"Even for us, this is unprecedented," said Geoff Burr, vice president of federal affairs at ABC. ...

The number-one goal is to defeat President Obama, and we felt Romney was the only candidate with a chance to do that," Burr said.

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