Santorum counters Florida exit talk, says he will be in state through Monday

Rick Santorums campaign countered reports that the former Pennsylvania senator is considering pulling out of the Florida GOP primary by releasing his schedule for the next few days, showing hell be in the Sunshine State through Monday.

The campaign had previously indicated it was considering leaving Florida to concentrate on the next round of voting states. On Wednesday, Santorum spokesman J. Hogan Gidley said it was unclear whether the campaign planned to stay through the weekend and up to Tuesdays vote. Gidley noted that either way, Santorum planned to continue in the race. 

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The former senator is trailing Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich in the state by double digits. Money is likely also an issue, as Florida is an expensive state in which to advertise and run a campaign.

Santorum said Wednesday that he planned to return to his Virginia home over the weekend to prepare his tax returns and attend a pair of fundraisers in the Old Dominion and Pennsylvania.

He plans to make a number of radio appearances Friday in Florida, and then return to the state Sunday for a campaign rally. On Monday, he plans to participate in a candidate forum in Boca Raton, Fla., and he is scheduled to take part in Thursday nights debate.

Santorum also went on the attack against Gingrich on Thursday. A day after the former Speaker said the United States would have a base on the moon by the end of his second term as president, Santorum accused Gingrich of being unrealistic.

NASA and the space coast and Houston and Alabama and all of those places have done remarkable work and are huge assets to the country, but there are other assets to the country,” Santorum said, according to Talking Points Memo.