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Rick Santorum, Rand Paul get prime speaking slots at GOP convention

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Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, will both have headline speaking slots at the Republican National Convention later this month, the RNC announced Tuesday.

Mr. Santorum’s deep ties to the evangelical community helped him emerge as Mitt Romney’s closest challenger during the Republican presidential primary season. Rand Paul, a freshman senator from Kentucky and a hero to the tea party movement, is the son of Texas Rep. Ron Paul, whose devoted followers are still pushing for their own leader to play a significant role at the convention.

Other speakers announced Tuesday include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin.

“I am thrilled to announce Governor Bush, Governor Fallin, Senator Paul and Senator Santorum will address our convention,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. “As our party unites around Governor Romney, these four great leaders will lend their voices in support of his vision to get America back on track.”

The keynote speaker has yet to be unveiled, but the RNC released a list of seven other headliners on Monday.

The list notably included three minority women: former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and South Carolina Gov. Nikki R. Haley, who is of Indian descent.

Other speakers announced were Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

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