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First Romney-Santorum meeting may come soon in Philadelphia

April 19, 2012|By Colby Itkowitz | The Morning Call
  • Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney talk following a Republican presidential debate Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012, in Mesa, Ariz.
Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney talk following a Republican presidential… (Jae C. Hong / Associated…)

Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney may soon meet in the city of Brotherly Love.

Santorum's chief strategist and veteran Pennsylvania consultant, John Brabender, said Wednesday he has spoken with Romney's campaign manager about possible dates for the two men to meet.

"Coincidentally that meeting might take place here in Philadelphia," Brabender told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell. "What a great place to start a winning campaign for the fall would be right here where basically America got started. But that meeting will take place in the next two weeks possibly."

Brabender said Romney has made clear he is interested in discussing an endorsement during that meeting.

Although Romney has earned endorsements this week ahead of Tuesday's primary from Pennsylvania hold-outs like Gov. Tom Corbett and state party chairman Rob Gleason, Brabender said Santorum would be waiting until he and Romney have a discussion "to make sure the conservative wing of the party is certainly going to be represented in a Romney administration. There's many things to talk about."

Santorum, who quit the race on April 10 citing his daughter's health, a dearth of campaign funds and the impossible delegate math, has a strong following in the conservative base of the Republican Party. Some conservative activists have said Romney needs Santorum to excite social conservatives and get them actively involved in the general election.

Colin A. Hanna, founder of the conservative activist group Let Freedom Ring, said the little things that boost turnout, like bumper stickers and yard signs, could suffer if Romney fails to make inroads with the party's "base."

"If the governor is sincere in trying to tap the enthusiasm and depths of convictions of Rick Santorum supporters, then he will look in some way to invite the senator or some of his key advisors into his inner circle," Hanna said.

Regardless of whether Santorum endorses Romney, Brabender said Santorum intends to be an "active participant" on the campaign trail this fall. Earlier in this week, Santorum held a conference call with supporters and told them he was working on putting together a “structure to promote" the conservative values he touted during the campaign.

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