Rick Santorum Suspended From Fox News

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, along with former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, were suspended today from their jobs as Fox News contributors because it appears both are ramping up campaigns for president. [Hat-tip here to Mediaite.com].

Fox News anchor Brett Baier said the suspension is effective for 60 days and the contracts for Santorum and Gingrich will be terminated on May 1 unless they tell Fox News that they are not running for president.  Baier said the move has been "contemplated from the start, from the very beginning" by Fox News. He added that other announcements may be made in the future, an apparent reference to other Fox News contributors such as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who are also pondering campaigns for president.

It's been nearly a year since we trailed Santorum across Iowa in the early days of his stumping for a possible presidential run.  That followed a letter Santorum sent to political contributors in January, 2010, to alert them that he was "actively considering" a run for president.

Fox News anchor Jenna Lee added that this "is not a suspension like from grade school for getting in trouble. Let's make that clear out there."

UPDATE, 2:30 pm:  Santorum's political action committee, America's Foundation, just released this statement from the former senator about the Fox News suspension:

“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.”