2016 campaign checklist: Santorum

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Associated Press

Posted on January 22, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 22 at 12:06 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A look at former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum's preparations for a potential 2016 presidential campaign:

Nondenial denial: "A year from now, I'll have to make that decision." — Nov. 18, 2013. Is he open to running? "Sure."

Book: Yes, coming in 2014, "Blue Collar Conservatives."

Iowa: Yes. August 2013 speech to conservative Christians in state where he won the 2012 caucuses. Illness kept him away from an event last April by Faith and Freedom Coalition. Screened his new Christmas movie in Iowa in November.

New Hampshire: No recent record of visits. Weak state for him in 2012.

South Carolina: Yes. Campaigned in April 2013 for former Gov. Mark Sanford's opponent, Curtis Bostic, in a GOP House runoff race. Sanford won.

Foreign travel: Scant foreign travel while in the Senate drew notice in 2012 GOP campaign.

Meet the money: 2012 shoestring campaign was largely fueled by a super political action committee to which Republican donor Foster Friess gave more than $2 million. Santorum bunked at supporters' homes on occasion.

Networking: Opened 2014 with Texas speech to conservative think-tank. In 2013, previewed "The Christmas Candle," a film made by his Christian-themed movie company, for conservative religious leaders at Values Voter conference in Washington. Screened it for other like-minded groups.

Hog the TV: Yes, largely in pursuit of plugging his Christmas movie. "The Colbert Report," Fox News, MSNBC and more. Radio, too. Teamed up with Democrat Howard Dean as sparring partners for debates on the air and with audiences.

Do something: Making Christian-themed, family-friendly movies at the moment; has record from Senate days.

Take a stand: Lately, against "dangerous" U.N. Disabilities Treaty. Social conservative activism goes way back. Focus on blue-collar economic opportunity.

Baggage: Overshadowed by newer conservative figures, conceivably out-popes the pope on some social issues. 2012 positions included opposition to abortion even in cases of rape or incest and support for right of states to ban contraception and gay marriage.

Deflection: Being overshadowed means being an underdog, and he can thrive at that. Feisty 2012 campaign became the biggest threat to Romney's march to the nomination.

Shadow campaign: Keeps in touch with chief supporters of his winning 2012 Iowa caucus campaign, giving him a leg up on a campaign organization in the state.

Social media: Active on Twitter and Facebook, where he relentlessly plugs his new Christmas movie, gives away tickets and goes after the health law.

EDITOR'S NOTE _ 2014 is a year of auditioning, positioning, networking and just plain hard work for people who might run for president in 2016. There's plenty to do, and the pace has quickened since The Associated Press last took a broad look at preparations for a potential campaign. Here's a look at one prospective candidate.

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