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Fox News suspends Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum as they contemplate presidential runs

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Image Credit: CQ-Roll Call Group/Getty Images (2)Fox News has temporarily suspended political contributors Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum from their broadcasts until the rumored presidential contenders determine whether they intend to run or not. News anchor Bret Baier announced that the suspension will last for 60 days, and their contracts will be terminated if they’ve yet to inform Fox News by May 1 that they are not candidates for office.

“We can’t have Speaker Gingrich on our payroll while he is in the midst of an exploratory committee to see if he’s going to run for office,” Dianne Brandi, Fox News’ executive vice president of legal and business affairs, told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s a clear conflict.”

Former governors Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, who also have been mentioned as possible candidates for the Republican nomination in 2012, were spared, but Brandi explained that the network made its decision on Gingrich and Santorum based on indications that both are planning a campaign. “As soon as [Palin or Huckabee show] some serious intention to form an exploratory committee, we would take the same action,” Brandi said. “Huckabee is on a book tour, so I think his present intention is to sell books … [and Palin] hasn’t yet shown a serious intention to form an exploratory committee.”

In a statement, Santorum said, “Over the past few years, I have appreciated the opportunity to work with many great professionals at Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network to discuss the critical issues facing our country. I share in their commitment to ensure news organizations provide balanced coverage of the issues of the day. I intend to use the months ahead to continue my evaluation of a potential presidential run, and I will make an announcement on my final decision sometime in the coming months.”

Gingrich did not respond to requests for comment.

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