- The Washington Times - Monday, August 17, 2009

Former Sen. Rick Santorum said Monday he has no problem being marked as a “dangerous” man politically, despite being out of office since 2006.

The most recent attack comes from former Bush and McCain political strategist Mark McKinnon, who said Mr. Santorum’s upcoming speaking engagements in Iowa point to a potential 2012 presidential run that would be “very, very dangerous for America.”

“Mark is [now] a Democrat, and I respect that,” said Mr. Santorum, Pennsylvania Republican. “I’m sure the folks on the left see me as dangerous. They’ve always seen me as dangerous, and I take a little pride in that. People cannot see you as dangerous unless you’re effective.”

Mr. Santorum — known for his conservative views on such issues as abortion, marriage and foreign policy — told The Washington Times “America’s Morning News” radio show that he is not considering a presidential candidacy in the near future.

He also said he knows such issues stir pubic debate, but he is proud of his accomplishments during his 16 years in Congress.

“I understand the passions are high when my name gets mentioned,” Mr. Santorum said.

Mr. McKinnon ranks Mr. Santorum as No. 8 in the “Daily Beast” political blog site’s Top 10 list of likely GOP presidential contenders. Mitt Romney is at the top with Sarah Palin at No. 5 and Newt Gingrich at No. 6.

“Unfortunately, he’s thinking about it,” writes Mr. McKinnon, now vice chairman of Public Strategies, a political strategies firm, and president of Maverick Media, a public relations firm. “No matter what they say, assume that any politician who steps inside the borders of Iowa or New Hampshire has got the presidential itch. …”

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