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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

A look at Obama's immigration plan. Plus, how long Takata knew of problems with its airbags.

A look at Obama's immigration plan. Plus, how long Takata knew of problems with its airbags.

May 16th, 2013
07:13 PM ET

Rick Santorum preparing for 2016 run, but hasn't pulled the trigger

Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said he is weighing another run for president.

"I'm planning on doing everything consistent with putting yourself in a position to make a decision that is a viable decision," said Santorum, who gave Mitt Romney some trouble in the 2012 Republican primary fight.

"I haven't pulled any triggers yet, but certainly we're out there," he said.

Santorum said he has been traveling all over the country with his organization "Patriot Voices."

"We're staying active and involved in the fray. We'll continue to do so and at some point make a decision," said the former presidential candidate.

Santorum said recent revelations that the IRS targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status are "what everybody fears."

The acting director of the Internal Revenue Service was ousted over the scandal that has engulfed the agency and buffeted the Obama administration.

But Republicans may want to see the White House make a bigger example of tax agency officials.

"What a lot of folks are concerned about is that the prevailing attitude here in Washington is the left can do no wrong, the right is picked on, and the more power you give government, the more that is going to be permeated throughout our society and abuses are going to happen," said Santorum.

The Justice Department is conducting a  criminal investigation into the IRS scandal to see if any laws were broken, but Santorum said more needs to be done, and people at the very top need to be investigated.

"I think it was very clever for the president to say that he hadn't seen the inspector general's report. But that doesn't mean he didn't know what was going on or anybody within his administration knew that those things were happening," said Santorum.

The timing of the scandal is fortuitous, according to Santorum.

"Obamacare is just about to ramp up and go into effect," he said of the health care law spearheaded by President Barack Obama that Republicans oppose and have sought to derail.

The IRS is a key agency involved with enforcing the health care law.

"This is an earthquake about to happen. The fact that the president is on shaky ground right now and people are questioning his leadership and his competence, now his crown jewel is going to be seen as a mega incompetent destruction of the health care system," said Santorum.

Last year, Santorum suspended his 2012 campaign for president after his young daughter, Bella, was hospitalized. Bella suffers from a serious chromosomal condition that interferes with development.

For those who have always expressed concern, and a desire to know more about his daughter, Santorum had good news to share about the 5-year-old.

"She’s doing great.  Thank you and thank everybody out there.  I know people on both sides of the aisle and I really mean that.  A lot of folks have been wonderful from all across the spectrum and supporting her and praying for her so thank you," said Santorum.

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