Santorum getting involved in PA?

Former Sen. Rick Santorum dropped a hint yesterday that he won't get involved in Sen. Arlen Specter's primary bid. But Santorum appears to draw a distinction between actively taking sides in the primary and weighing in on the issue which so far has shaped the (potential) match-up.

In a fundraising email released by the Pennsylvania GOP yesterday, Santorum asks Republicans to "[join] with the Republican Party of Pennsylvania to send a message to our representatives in Congress to vote no on [card check] legislation." He adds later: "In February, the members of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania unanimously passed a resolution calling on the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation to oppose all efforts to pass the Employee Free Choice Act. A copy of this resolution has been sent to every member of the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation." The letter does not mention Specter by name, but the Pennsylvania Republican had been considered the crucial swing vote on the legislation before he officially stated his opposition on Tuesday.

Here's the catch: though the letter was released yesterday, Santorum drafted it before Specter had announced his position on the issue and while he was under intense pressure by conservatives to oppose it. The date of drafting is indicated by Santorum when he mentions the bill had been introduced "last week." (The legislation was introduced in both houses on March 10.) A Pennsylvania GOP spokesman confirmed that Santorum wrote the letter well before it was released.

At the very least, this indicates that while Santorum was not publicly taking sides in the potential primary, he had no qualms ratcheting up the pressure on his former colleague.