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Tom Murse

Santorum Still Hasn't Endorsed Romney. What's He Waiting For?

By May 7, 2012

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Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum has said he'll eventually throw his support behind presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

The two met behind closed doors last week, the first face-to-face discussion they've had since well before Santorum ended his campaign in early April. But when the former rivals emerged, there was something noticeably absent: an endorsement.

So what is Santorum waiting for?

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Politico reports that Santorum urged Romney to address "economic and family issues." The latter, of course, were hallmarks of Santorum's campaign for president and tenure in the U.S. Senate. "Rick encouraged him to give voice to all those issues," the unnamed source told Politico.

Santorum is undoubtedly concerned about how much Romney will focus on the social issues that were so important to his own political career.

But his hesitance is an obvious political calculation. By appearing reluctant to endorse a candidate described by his opponents as a "Massachusetts moderate," Santorum clearly has his own conservative credentials in mind. It's about his future, not Romney's.

Remember: The Santorum campaign's top aide has already acknowledged there were discussions about his running for president again in 2016, should Romney fail to unseat President Barack Obama in November.

Santorum, too, is painfully aware of how endorsing candidates viewed as moderate can come back to haunt him. His support of Republican U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter was among the most important factors in his 2006 Senate loss. Santorum has been pressed repeatedly through the years about backing Specter.

In the 2012 election, the Romney campaign used the issue against Santorum in a television ad that stated: "Meet Arlen Specter: Liberal, pro-choice Republican turned Democrat. The deciding vote on Obamacare. Rick Santorum supported Specter over conservative candidates -- twice."

With that in mind, is it any wonder Santorum is taking his time on endorsing Romney?

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