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Rick Santorum Heads Back to Iowa on ‘Thank You’ Tour

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Rick Santorum is heading back to Iowa, but it’s not to campaign for presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney.  Instead, Santorum is traveling there to thank Hawkeye State voters for his belated caucus victory there in January.

ABC News obtained an early copy of the schedule, which is lengthier than the initial two events released earlier this week.  The former presidential candidate will launch the two-day “thank you” tour with a barbecue lunch on Tuesday, July 10, in Iowa City.

Santorum will also campaign for congressional candidates he has recently backed.  Following the lunch, he will be the “special guest” at a reception for congressional candidate John Archer in Bettendorf.  In December, Santorum spoke at a Christmas Party and fundraiser for Archer.  He will head to Dubuque that evening for a fundraiser for another congressional candidate, Ben Lange.

On Wednesday, Santorum, 54, will make a stop at a breakfast in Cedar Falls and will then appear with The Family Leader’s Bob Vander Plaats for a news conference with other conservative leaders in Coralville.  (Vander Plaats endorsed Santorum last December ahead of the Iowa Caucuses.)  That evening, he holds another thank you “meet and greet” picnic in Windsor Heights.

The packed two days read like a campaign schedule for the candidate who dropped out in April, but spent the most time campaigning in Iowa, shaking hands and kissing babies the old fashioned way to try to earn a win there.  On caucus night, Romney was initially named the winner of the contest until the results were certified making Santorum the victor about two weeks later.

News of Santorum’s busy schedule comes just hours after the former Pennsylvania senator appeared on CNN offering less-than-laudatory words for Romney’s signature health care plan in Massachusetts, something he consistently stressed during the primary campaign.

“I think what you’re seeing is it hasn’t worked in Massachusetts,” Santorum told Piers Morgan Thursday night.  “Health care costs in Massachusetts are number one in the country.  They have a series of problems with people who decide to take the tax, in other words, pay the fine, instead of buying insurance, because it’s cheaper.  It doesn’t work.”

Santorum officially backed Romney last month in a middle-of-the-night e-mail message to supporters, and since then has given a string of tepid testimonials for the presumptive GOP nominee.  He also has yet to campaign with Romney.  By contrast, their other rival, Newt Gingrich, has appeared with Romney at least twice.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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