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Santorum says he will run for president if he can raise the money

Rick Santorum is now the third Republican to announce his exploration of presidential run for 2012, after Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney. Largely unknown GOP candidate Fred Karger is thus far the only candidate who has actually filed to run with the Federal Election Commission.

The former two-term Pennsylvania senator announced his formation of the Rick Santorum Exploratory Committee on Wednesday on Fox News’ On the Record w/ Greta Van Susteren, where he said that based on “a lot of great feedback” and “a lot of encouragement” he’s received at the 25 states where he’s been making the rounds, he’s now officially “testing the waters” to see if he can raise enough money to win.

Acknowledging his failed Senate re-election bid in 2006, for which his campaign raised $28.6 million between 2001 and 2006, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, Santorum said that 2012 is “a very different election cycle” from 2006 and 2008.

“In 2008 I think the American people wanted a president who they could believe in,” Santorum said, by way of explaining President Obama’s victory. “And I think after two years of that, what they’ve realized is that America needs a president that believes in them.”

When Van Susteren asked him if he still supports his well-publicized correlation between America’s abortion culture and the country’s Social Security problems, Santorum laughed and said there is an argument there, but it’s not the one he stands by.

“Abortion should not be outlawed because of economic policy,” he said. “It should be outlawed because its morally wrong.”

Despite Santorum’s outspoken views against homosexuals and abortion (and his longtime “Google problem“), the potential candidate has already made some headway in the race, winning a straw poll at the Greenville County Republican convention in South Carolina this past Saturday. He, along with other potential GOP candidates like Pawlenty and Herman Cain, will be in New Hampshire Friday headlining an annual tax day rally with Americans for Prosperity.

Watch Santorum’s announcement on Fox:

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