Rick Santorum is CEO of Christian film company

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A week ago, former Pennsylvania senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum hit the news cycle with the quiet, though well-played announcement that he was considering another run for president in 2016.

“Behind the scenes, the former Pennsylvania senator is quietly preparing for another presidential run,” wrote Robert Costa of the National Review. “Trips to Iowa are in the works, he’s meeting daily with his advisers, and he’s already fine-tuning his message for the early primaries.”

This week, he’s hitting the cycle again, almost explicitly noting how he plans on fine-tuning that message: Through the magic of film!

Santorum was on the Mike Huckabee (remember that guy?) Fox News show this weekend to annouce he’d become CEO of Dallas-based EchoLight Studios, a “faith and family” film company which produces, finances and distributes films with a Christian message—something Hollywood is not wont to do.

“This is the right place and right time, and I’ve jumped in with both feet,” Santorum said. “I often say that culture is upstream from politics, and I know entertainment also can be strength and light for people who want to be uplifted and reinforced in their values.”

In an email sent to supporters and his email chain on Saturday, he noted that there’s a big market out there that wants movies that promote values “most Americans share.”

“Many of you have heard me talk about that if we are going to make a positive impact on our country’s cultural challenges, we have to do it by reaching the masses often through entertainment,” he wrote. “For too long, Hollywood has had a lock on influencing the youth of this country with a flawed message that goes against our values.  Now, we can change that.”

EchoLine shouldn’t be mistaken for a fringe 700 Club-ish film studio, producing TV creep shows like Kirk Cameron’s Left Behind series, either. Their films include acting and directing credit from Corbin Bernsen (The Dentist 2), Dean Cain (The Perfect Husband: The Laci Peterson Story), Brian Dennehy (Tommy Boy) and Lauren Holly (Dumb and Dumber).

The move makes Santorum’s potential 2016 run that much more likely — and it’s a smart one. Politicians have been involved in media for a long time—from Reagan to Schwarzenegger to Romney to Bloomberg—and have often used that media exposure (either implicitly or explicitly) to create a larger presence during their campaigns.

His 2006 landslide loss in Pennsylvania means Santorum will always be an underdog. If he’s to come out swinging from the far-Christian right during the next campaign, he’s going to need more than a political action committee backing him up.

Follow Randy on Twitter: @RandyLoBasso

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