Santorum summons former aides for 2016 meeting

Rick Santorum says he's in for 2016
Rick Santorum says he's in for 2016

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Rick Santorum says he's in for 2016 02:01

Washington (CNN)Rick Santorum has invited former aides to Washington next week for a "private briefing" on his plans for a possible 2016 presidential bid.

The "Personal Invitation from Senator Santorum," provided to CNN by a Republican who received it, was sent by a Santorum aide to more than two dozen "friends and former colleagues" from past campaigns and his time in the U.S. House and Senate.
"As you probably know, RJS is seriously considering a run for the White House in 2016," Santorum adviser Matt Beynon wrote in the email, using Santorum's initials.
    "With the midterms and the new year behind us, he is beginning the final stages of preparation and consideration of another campaign," Beynon wrote.
    Santorum, he wrote, "would like to give you a personal update on his plans" at a "private briefing" on Jan. 13 at the offices of the American Continental Group, a lobbying and public affairs office in Washington.
    Among the Santorum alumni invited to the session are a number of top lobbyists and political strategists who once worked for the former congressman and senator from Pennsylvania, including former George W. Bush spokesman Tony Fratto and former Republican National Committee finance director Rob Bickhart.
    Asked about the invitation, Beynon did little to elaborate on Santorum's thinking.
    "The senator is gathering his former Capitol Hill senior staff to give them a personal update on his thinking and preparation for a potential presidential campaign," he told CNN. "He's very much looking forward to catching up with them."
    At the meeting, Santorum will likely face questions about his path to victory should he seek the GOP nomination again, especially in the wake of Mike Huckabee's decision to quit his Fox News show in possible preparation for another White House bid. Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses in 2008 with support from social conservatives, the same voters who propelled Santorum to his Iowa win in 2012.
    A field packed with conservatives like Huckabee, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and neurosurgeon Ben Carson could complicate Santorum's chances.
    In the invitation, Beynon said Santorum was also underestimated in the 2012 race.
    "His run in 2012 defied every odd - winning 11 states including the Iowa Caucus (the most of any non-nominee since Reagan in '76) and earning over 4 million votes," the note read. "Over the past 3 years, he has worked hard to continue building a national infrastructure through his organization Patriot Voices."