Santorum and conservative leaders meet to discuss next steps for campaign

Rick Santorum met with a group of conservative movement leaders Thursday to discuss the path forward for his campaign, according to two sources who were at the meeting.

"I was at the meeting and it was a strategy session on what steps he needs to take to prevail," former GOP presidential candidate Gary Bauer told The Hill. "Because it was a strategy meeting, I don't want to go into any other details."

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Another person at the meeting told The Hill that while "it was a realistic meeting" there was no discussion of Santorum dropping out of the race, and that the emphasis was on different tactical moves Santorum could take to improve his slim chances of securing the nomination, and possibly find a way to convince Newt Gingrich to drop out and endorse him.

The meeting was reportedly organized by Richard Viguerie, a direct-mail pioneer and prominent social conservative from the Reagan era, and conservative columnist and activist Rebecca Hagelin.


Santorum's spokeswoman, Alice Stewart, confirmed on MSNBC that the meeting had taken place.

Santorum is taking the next three days off for the Easter weekend, and Stewart insisted he would return to campaigning in his home state of Pennsylvania on Tuesday. Polls show him and Romney neck and neck in the state. If Santorum were to lose the state, he would face increasing pressure to drop out of the GOP race, and do damage to his future within the party.

—This post was updated at 1:31 p.m.