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Rick Santorum launches his next act [Video]

June 08, 2012|By Maeve Reston
(Scott Olson/Getty Images )

In the two months since Rick Santorum withdrew from the Republican presidential race, the former Pennsylvania senator has faded from the spotlight. He delivered his endorsement of Mitt Romney in a midnight missive and has yet to join the presumptive GOP nominee on the campaign trail.

But he resurfaced Friday, telling "Fox & Friends" that he was embarking on his next adventure — the launch of a group that will focus on issues he championed during the campaign, including family values, religious liberty, adherence to the Constitution and opposition to same-sex marriage. Santorum's new 501(c)4 nonprofit organization, which he is calling Patriot Voices, would seek to bring in voters of both parties to draw more attention to those issues in 2012 and beyond.

“I think a lot of people have some basic anxiety about where America is going. I tried to talk about those issues in the campaign,” Santorum said Friday from a studio in Chicago. “We’re going to be holding candidates accountable and getting involved with candidates, supporting them, and of course supporting Mitt Romney, and making sure that Mitt is the next president of the United States and that we get rid of the scourge that has been the bane of the economy and of our country, which is Barack Obama and his administration.”

For all the hand-wringing over the divisions within the Republican Party when Santorum left the race in April — and the questions about whether evangelical voters who had favored Santorum would stay home this fall because of hesitation about Romney — polls show that GOP voters are lining up solidly behind the former Massachusetts governor. 

Romney, who has now turned his attention to wooing independents, has not mentioned Santorum much on the campaign trail, but he has pledged that Santorum will remain “without question, a major spokesman of our party, a leader of our party.”

Santorum brushed off a question Friday about his once-frosty relationship with Romney, stating that their private meeting in May in Pittsburgh went “exceptionally well.” He also defended the late hour of his endorsement, telling the Fox News hosts that he had sent it in the middle of the night so that his some 300,000 email supporters would have it in their inboxes first thing in the morning.

Twitter.com/maevereston

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