Rick Santorum heads to Iowa as signs point to 2016 White House run

Rick Santorum heads to Iowa as signs point to 2016 White House run
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By RYAN GORMAN

Former Senator Rick Santorum appears to be headed toward another run at the White House.

The Republican has planned a five-day trip to Iowa amid intense speculation he is laying the groundwork for another campaign following his failed 2012 bid.

Santorum has scheduled a slate of appearances starting January 24 and has been talking like a presidential candidate in recent months.

"I am excited to return to Iowa," he said in a statement. "The people of the Hawkeye State have always been so kind to me and my family."

The 2012 Iowa caucus was one of 11 primaries and caucuses won by the ex-Senator in his last presidential campaign.

"I am looking forward to meeting more Iowans and sharing my views on how we can improve the lives of hard-working American families and rekindle the American dream that has become out of reach in far too many communities in Iowa and across the nation," Santorum added.

The announcement from the ex-Pennsylvania congressman came only hours after CNN reported, citing Republican sources, that Santorum has shuffled the deck on his fundraising staff.

It also came only one month after the Washington Post reported that Santorum is likely to run.

Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina are among a few expected trips aimed at jump-starting Santorum's profile among would-be voters, according to the Post.

In comments to the paper, Santorum appeared to take more of a mainstream approach than in his previous campaign.

"I don't think I've met a 'suit' yet," Santorum said of the people he has met while traveling around the country. "It's very much heart of America, average Americans who have found a place where they see someone who will stand up and fight for them.

"If the Republican Party has a future - and I sometimes question if it does - it's in middle America. It's not in corporate America."

Santorum also admitted in an NBC News interview this week that his socially conservative stance on birth control, which he called "crazy stuff" doomed his initial candidacy.

The ex-Senator is putting many of his eggs in the immigration basket this go-around, he told the Post.

"I take the approach that immigration policy in America ought to be about Americans," Santorum explained. "The principal focus of immigration policy is not about the rest of the world. It's about us."

A book written by Santorum and wife Karen, about their experiences dealing with daughter Bella's rare genetic condition, is due out next month.