CNN has the scoop on a recent top-secret meeting...

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As if the repeated trips to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina weren't clues enough, former Republican Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania met privately last week with several of his former Capitol Hill staffers to pitch the idea of a presidential bid in 2012. According to GOP sources familiar with the meeting, which took place last Tuesday in Washington, Santorum conveyed his seriousness about a possible campaign and solicited his former aides for advice.

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Though the 2012 Republican field has yet to take shape, Santorum, who lost his 2006 re-election bid by 18 points, would enter the race as a decided underdog against better-funded opponents with growing national political operations, such as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.... During the most recent fundraising quarter, he also collected more money for his political action committee than Mike Huckabee, the winner of the 2008 Iowa caucuses and another potential 2012 candidate. Santorum received a warm welcome from conservative audiences in Iowa in recent months, stories he relayed to his former aides during last Tuesday's gathering.

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