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Political Notebook

Rick Santorum aims to rev up sputtering campaign

Pennsylvania holds its primary on April 24, and there has been intensifying speculation that Rick Santorum, hoping to avoid the embarrassment of losing in his own home state, would bow out of the race.

AP/File

Pennsylvania holds its primary on April 24, and there has been intensifying speculation that Rick Santorum, hoping to avoid the embarrassment of losing in his own home state, would bow out of the race.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum will resume his campaign Tuesday with a slate of events in his home state, according to a schedule released by his campaign this morning.

Pennsylvania holds its primary on April 24, and there has been intensifying speculation that Santorum, hoping to avoid the embarrassment of losing in his own home state, would bow out of the race.

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He announced last Wednesday that he would take a respite from the campaign over the Easter weekend, further adding to the speculation that he was using the holiday to reconsider his campaign.

The schedule of events released today should quell some of those rumors, at least for now. Santorum is scheduled to hold a rally in Bedford on Tuesday morning and a “conversation on faith, family, and American values’’ in Lancaster.

Recent polls show the race in Pennsylvania tightening, with the real possibility of Mitt Romney winning the state, according to some analysts.

Santorum faces the possible embarrassment of being the first of the remaining Republicans to lose in his own state. Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who represented Georgia, each won their home states on Super Tuesday last month.

Santorum has provoked strong passions in Pennsylvania, even among his fellow Republicans, some of whom want him to bow out of the race to allow the party to rally around Romney, who is the presumed front-runner.

Santorum was booted out of the Senate six years ago when he lost to Democrat Bob Casey by 18 percentage points, which was the largest losing margin for an incumbent Pennsylvania senator in history, said Daniel Shea, the director of the Center for Political Participation at Allegheny College.

With Romney’s delegate lead seemingly insurmountable, party elders have been trying to clear the path for Romney’s march to Tampa, which hosts the Republican National Convention in August.

Santorum has been defiant, however, saying that only a genuine conservative can successfully challenge President Obama in November. — BOBBY CAINA CALVAN

Obama plans to address national security in race

With a Republican opponent all but chosen and the general election campaign about to begin, President Obama has been preparing to emphasize an issue that few Democratic candidates have embraced in the past: national security, which has long been the domain of the Republican Party.

At the same time, the Obama campaign is seeking to portray Mitt Romney, the likely Republican nominee, as a national security neophyte whose best ideas are simply retreads of what the president is doing, and whose worst instincts would take the country back to the days of President George W. Bush: cowboy diplomacy, the Iraq war, and America’s lowest standing on the international stage.

In the coming weeks, Obama advisers plan to release a list of national security “surrogates’’ - high-profile Democrats including former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and retired General Wesley K. Clark - who will write newspaper op-ed articles, give speeches, and take Romney to task every time he opens his mouth about foreign policy, according to the Obama advisers.

The plan is to draw a contrast between Obama - who, his advisers say, kept his word on ending the Iraq war, going aggressively after Al Qaeda and restoring alliances around the world - and Romney, who will be portrayed as playing both sides of numerous issues.

On Saturday, Obama took a moment away from the political arena to mark the Easter holiday and Jewish Passover, calling it a “time to celebrate redemption at God’s hand.’’

Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address that the holidays help connect Americans to their past and “give us strength as we face the future.’’

Obama says for Christians, Easter weekend is a time to reflect and rejoice about “the things that matter most.’’

In the Republican address, Oklahoma’s governor, Mary Fallin, said the Obama administration is taking credit for energy production in the United States while “it works to aggressively undermine it.’’

Fallin added that the energy crisis is connected to a “lack of leadership’’ that starts at the top.

She said Republicans will push for more domestic energy production. — NEW YORK TIMES

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