NASHUA — For Rick Santorum, the decision on whether to run again for President in 2016 is truly personal as well as political.
“People say that these are all political decision, but they’re not,” he said in an interview. “For me, they are absolutely not.”
While he looks to the months after the mid-term elections in November to make a decision, “I’m doing everything consistent with keeping my options open to do this again.”
“The first thing you need to do is find out whether there is anyone out there willing to help you,” he said, but in 2016, he said, “It’s a whole different story. It’s wide open.”
But he said that he has “always been underestimated” throughout his political career.
“I’ve always been comfortable laying below the radar.”
Santorum returned to New Hampshire Friday as a featured speaker at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference, hosted by the state Republican Party, in Nashua.
During hiss speech, he hit the blue-collar themes that marked his 2012 presidential run, when he won the Iowa caucus and then finished fourth in the New Hampshire primary. His emerged for a lengthy period during the campaign as the top challenger to nominee Mitt Romney.
He urged about 300 Republicans to follow their principles and urged GOP leaders to “stop nominating folks who apologize for what we are.” He noted that President Barack Obama did not apologize or ignore the principles he believed in when he ran for President the first time.
The former Pennsylvania senator said that, in the meantime, he is involved in helping other Republicans who are running for office this year. He has made a television movie, “The Redemption of Henry Meyers” and has written a book to be on sale in early May called “Blue Collar Conservatives.”
But he said, “I think our candidates have to get a little sharper in how they appeal to voters.”
“The beautiful thing about Obamacare is that it provides a template for every group of voters that’s out there,” he said. “A lot of folks just don’t want government help. These are working people and don’t want a government benefit.
As a party, he said, “What we don’t do enough of is what we are for. We are better talking about what we are for and should do that before we talk about what we are against.”