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Gingrich, Santorum Placed on Leave From Fox News

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March. 3: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., speaks as his wife Callista looks on during a meeting with Gov. Nathan Deal in the Governor's office in Atlanta. Fox News contributors Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have been put on leave from the cable news channel for 60 days, as the two contemplate whether they will run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. (AP)

Fox News contributors Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have been put on leave from the cable news channel for 60 days, effective Wednesday, as the two contemplate whether they will run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

On May 1, contracts with Gingrich, the former House speaker, and Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, will be terminated unless they announce that they are not running for president.

The arrangement to suspend the contracts had been contemplated all along as the two have long been considered presidential possibilities. Gingrich has been a contributor since 1999 while Santorum joined the channel in 2007.

Gingrich sources announced earlier this week that he was close to making an announcement about his future in the coming weeks. He will be in Iowa next week and in Georgia on Thursday, but spokesman Rick Tyler said he will not announce plans to form an exploratory committee while in Georgia.

According to reports Santorum has traveled more than two dozen times to key primary states of New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina and has hired top political operatives in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Fox News host Mike Huckabee and contributor Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, were not included in Wednesday's suspension list.