Santorum running for president -- again

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who emerged as the conservative populist in the 2012 GOP presidential primaries, is already running for the 2016 nomination for president.

Santorum, who has been making the rounds at conservative media outlets, this week stepped deeper into the presidential pool when he said that he isn't "doing anything inconsistent" with a 2016 campaign.

While refusing to make a flat commitment to a White House run, he told Newsmax TV that "I'm certainly leaving the door open for that." Santorum added, "I'm making no commitments at this point, but we're not doing anything inconsistent with running in 2016."

Santorum won several Southern primaries and positioned himself as the leading social conservative in a 2012 GOP nomination fight that tried to avoid social issues. He was also known for his sweater vests.

He told Newsmax that ducking social issues was a mistake for the others in the race, including eventual nominee Mitt Romney. "We have not had a nominee that is ready to go out and articulate a unified vision of what conservatism is, what American's first principles are about, and why we're the greatest country in the history of the world. And then we wonder why we don't win," he said.

Political analysts suggested that it is smart for Santorum to throw his hat into the ring early since the big names of the GOP -- such as Sens. Marco Rubio and Rand Paul as well as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush -- will dominate the early headlines.