DES MOINES | Despite the mishandling of the 2012 Iowa caucus results that delayed his victory by a couple of weeks, Rick Santorum defends the first-in-the-nation contest and is considering competing in 2016.
“I don’t think there’s anything for Iowa to apologize for,” Santorum said Wednesday about the Iowa GOP’s announcement on caucus night that Mitt Romney was the winner. After ballots were certified, Santorum was declared the winner.
“No election is perfect,” he said. “Everyone makes mistakes. Would I have preferred them to have the error on the other side? Yes. But I can’t look at the caucus process and see a problem here.”
The 2012 experience won’t prevent him from competing again. Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, didn’t declare himself a candidate for the GOP nomination in 2016. However, he left the door open.
“I’m very open to taking on another run, and right now I’m just doing everything that I would be doing if I was going to run,” he said during taping of "Iowa Press," which can be seen on Iowa Public Television at 7:30 p.m. Friday and noon Sunday, at 8:30 a.m. Saturday on IPTV World and will be available Friday evening at www.iptv.org.
Whether he runs or not, Santorum said, the party’s 2016 nominee should be someone who, like President Barack Obama, can excite the base and “communicate in an effective way to the folks in the middle that he was someone who could work, you could work with.”
The nominee also should be an effective communicator because every election since the mid-1970s, when television became the dominant medium, “the person who best communicated with the American public, painted that better vision, had a connect with them better than the other person, won the election.”
“I just think we need to look at candidates that stand by their principles but are able to communicate those principles in a way that relates to the average person out there,” Santorum said.
Asked who in the Republican field has those qualities, Santorum joked that was a set-up question but pointed to his experience in the Iowa caucuses.
“I came here with no expectation that I would do anything, and we were able to win, I think, because we were able to effectively communicate that message and connect with people,” he said.
While in Iowa, Santorum also attended a fundraiser for Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, who is seeking the GOP nomination for the U.S. House 3rd District seat.
He hasn’t endorsed a candidate in the race for the GOP nomination for an open U.S. Senate seat but may get involved before the five-way primary in June. Sam Clovis is a friend, Santorum said, but, “This is one (race) I just haven’t made that decision yet.”