POLITICS
01/20/2015 09:47 am ET Updated Jan 20, 2015

Rick Santorum: Saying 'Dumb Things' About Birth Control And Abortion Fueled 2012 Loss

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) said Monday that controversial comments over abortion and contraception contributed to his defeat in the 2012 Republican presidential primary to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

In an interview with NBC News, Santorum blamed himself for saying "dumb things" that allowed critics to portray him as an extreme conservative only interested in "crazy stuff that doesn't have anything to do with anything."

Santorum is considering another run for president in 2016. If he decides to enter the race, he can count on the support of wealthy GOP mega-donor Foster Friess, who also financed Santorum's 2012 campaign. According to NBC, the two men discussed "what a campaign might look like" this weekend at a GOP gathering in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Santorum's hard-line stances on social issues in 2012 earned him support from evangelical Christians, which in turn propelled his campaign toward several primary victories in the South. But they also alienated moderate wings of the party, which turned out for Romney and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

At least one high-profile issue, gay marriage, may complicate Santorum's path to the nomination. The devout Catholic faces a vastly changed landscape on the matter -- marriage equality is now legal in 36 states and the District of Columbia. Younger elements of the Republican Party support gay marriage, and there's no appetite among GOP leadership on Capitol Hill to fight against it.

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