More Details Revealed on Santorum, Romney Meeting

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Joe Raedle/Getty Images(PITTSBURGH) -- More details are coming out from the 90 minute one-on-one meeting held earlier Friday in Pittsburgh between presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.

Longtime Santorum advisor John Brabender tells ABC News that the meeting between men who, until last month, were fierce rivals was more ice breaker than policy debate.

“A wide range of topics were discussed, but the meeting came down to a few issues: economics, health care, personal issues and how a campaign affects a family, and the two “really just wanted to get to know each other, as well as “how to defeat Barack Obama.” They didn’t have that luxury in the past,” Brabender said, referring to Romney and Santorum getting to know each other on a personal level.

Brabender listed that as the second reason of the meeting as the “changing thoughts on the race issues and positions on things,” and thirdly the two discussed how “their families are impacted on running from a personal level.”

“I know that Rick shared some critical points of his economic plan, the manufacturing component and the need to restore manufacturing in America,” Brabender said. “[Santorum] encouraged Gov. Romney to include that as part of his economic plan.”

When asked if the two may campaign together Brabender acknowledged “exciting the base,” was another issue discussed.

“They both have different states they won, different targets,” Brabender said, referring to the different parts of the party the two got support from. “I think it was more how can we combine what we both learned to make sure we win in the fall. Clearly Rick Santorum is a champion in the social conservative realm, with blue collar Republicans, and he wants to keep that energy going in the fall.”

One issue that is completely off the table: retiring Santorum’s nearly $2 million campaign debt. Brabender said it was “never discussed” and they actually made it a “precursor to the conversation” that they had “no interest in discussing that.”

Santorum sent an email to supporters Friday saying he will be making an “exciting announcement about what I will be doing next … but before I can make this announcement, I need to spend some time erasing my remaining campaign debt.” The email asked supporters to donate in order to erase the debt.

The adviser said he isn’t sure if a formal endorsement would come, but if it did he expects it to be “sooner than later.”

Brabender said the 90 minute meeting went longer than he originally expected, but he described it as  a “very friendly, cordial, and candid conversation.” He added both Santorum and Romney “showed up early because they were looking forward to the meeting.” Brabender did tell ABC News earlier Friday “there was always an expectation it was would take a little bit of time,” referring to the length of the meeting.

There was a lot they both wanted to talk about and they both value each other’s opinion,” Brabender said. “It was a reasonable amount of time.”

The meeting was held at Brabender’s office in the scenic Mount Washington section of Pittsburgh. The office overlooks the baseball and football stadiums and Brabender said they were both “glad to host the governor” and give him a “remarkable view of Pittsburgh,” Santorum’s home town.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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