Thursday, August 16, 2012

Former candidate Santorum to speak at GOP convention - Fox News

Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum will be one of the speakers at the party's convention in Tampa later this month.

A senior advisor for the former Pennsylvania senator, who was one of presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney's most bitter rivals in the party's primary, confirms to Fox News Santorum has accepted the invitation to speak.

"He is certainly looking forward to sharing with America the reasons President Obama must be defeated, and inspiring conservatives all across the country to help elect Mitt Romney," the adviser said.

Santorum joins the list of Republican heavyweights who have been announced as speakers at the convention. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush will also speak, along with Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and Tea Party hero and Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, according to a Monday Reuters report.

The wire service reports some in the Romney camp were initially apprehensive about Santorum speaking at the convention, fearing Santorum may go off-message and reprise some of his criticisms of Romney from the primaries.

Though initially thought by many to be a long-shot for the nomination, Santorum emerged as one of Romney's fiercest competitors and provided some of the most biting attacks against him in the contest. He ended his campaign in April, paving the way for Romney to emerge as the presumptive nominee.

The announcements of convention speakers have also fueled further speculation over who Romney will pick for his running mate.

Seven major speakers were announced Sunday night, making it unlikely any of them were being considered. Those speakers are: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Arizona Sen. John McCain, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. 

Now, speculation can focus on who's conspicuously absent from that list as the Republican presidential candidate prepares to unveil his nominee likely before the Tampa convention, to be held Aug. 27-30. 

Those not on the list, and presumably in the running for running mate, include: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. 

The Republicans have not yet announced their convention keynote speaker, which could easily come from that list as well. 

Fox News' Mike Emanuel, Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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