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Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) announced on Fox News tonight (video below) that he is officially testing the 2012 waters by setting up a presidential exploratory committee.  In a statement emailed to me tonight, former Senator Santorum said, “In 2008 Americans wanted a president who they could believe in, but after two years they realized that what they needed is a president who believes in them.  It’s time for America to be America again — an America that rewards innovation and hard work, that stands by our allies instead of our enemies, that protects even the most vulnerable of our society, and an America that says every life is to be cherished.  That is what I believe in, and that’s why I’m taking this next step in a possible run for president.”

The formation of an exploratory committee allows him to begin raising funds in preparation for possible 2012 run.  He has updated his website to reflect the change, allow for online donations and a place where people can sign-up to be on his email list.  Santorum has made almost 40 trips to Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire prior to this announcement.  He has recently won straw polls in Greenville County, SC (with 31% of the vote) and at the Pacific Homeschool Super Conference Presidential Straw Poll in California (28% of the vote).

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