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Santorum strategist says meeting with Romney about endorsement imminent

John Brabender, a strategist with the Santorum campaign, said that while the two former rivals have not spoken since Santorum exited the race last week, they were hoping to set up an in-person conversation.

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"In fact, I talked just a little while ago to the campaign manager for Mitt Romney and we started to float a few days where maybe a meeting could take place," Brabender said.

Earlier on Wednesday, another former Santorum aide, Hogan Gidley, said the former senator would likely meet with Romney to discuss an endorsement in the "next month or so."

Brabender said the meeting would likely take place in Philadelphia, on Santorum's home turf. The City of Brotherly Love's suburbs and exurbs are expected to play a major role in swinging the state's 20 electoral votes.

"What a great place to start a winning campaign would be right here, where basically America started. But that meeting will take place in the next two weeks probably, we're hoping to get schedules matched, and I'm sure there will be a lot of things discussed, and it's been made clear to us that Gov. Romney would like to have at least a discussion of a possible endorsement at that time," Brabender said.

Brabender said an endorsement would not likely come before the meeting, and that while Santorum had "no specific demands," he wants to "make sure he's wanted by the Romney campaign and we talk about the issues that are important conservatives."

"I don't think there will be any endorsement before this meeting takes place. The senator won 11 states, he has a pretty large following … and I think he thinks it's important to have a discussion with Mitt Romney to make sure the conservative wing of the party is going to be represented in a Romney administration," Brabender said.

The Santorum confidant also said he thought the former candidate deserved a prominent role at the party's convention in Tampa this summer.

"I think it would be helpful to that process if he did play a major role at the convention," Brabender said.