A Look Into the Future: Rick Santorum in 2016?

BY Lucas Grindley

April 01 2012 3:36 PM ET

Rick Santorum made clear in a series of Sunday talk show appearances that he isn't going anywhere if he loses Tuesday's Wisconsin primary. But he also left open the possibility of running again in 2016.

"I don't think Wisconsin is do or die," he said on Meet the Press. Santorum compared himself to David versus the Goliath of Mitt Romney's spending in Wisconsin. Polls show him behind. But it's the first state to vote since Newt Gingrich cut most of his staff and signaled that he'll be watching from the sidelines.

Santorum brushed off pressure to get out of the race from a string of Romney endorsements that include Wisconsin's Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Ron Johnson.

"Four years ago we had a nominee in March. How did that work out for us?" Santorum jabbed. "What hurts us is not getting the right candidate."

While on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace raised the possibility that if Santorum loses this time around and Romney is unable to beat President Obama, then Santorum might be the natural nominee in 2016.

"You talk a lot about Ronald Reagan," Wallace pointed out. "He lost in 1976, came back and won in 1980. Do you ever think at all about, you know, if you were, you know, at some point, this doesn't work out, you could come back in 2016 as the front runner?"

Santorum has been citing the Reagan example not as an example of a comeback, but as the only time Republicans were able to bring down an incumbent Democrat.

"In 1976, I think the Republican Party made a mistake in not choosing Ronald Reagan and we went on with a moderate to lose the election," he said on Fox. "And we suffered four years of Jimmy Carter."

Carter lost versus Reagan's second try for office. Still, Santorum pointed to a long list of states he expects to win in the next set of contests come May and swore that he's focused only on winning in 2012. He promised, "I'm not thinking about the future."















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