Santorum weighs Secret Service protection

Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum answers questions at a news conference at the statehouse, Feb. 13, 2012, in Olympia, Wash. AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Rick Santorum answers questions at a news conference in Olympia, Wash.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Updated at 4:05 p.m. ET

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says he is looking into getting Secret Service protection after protesters tried to shout him down during an appearance in Washington state earlier this week.

Protesters with the Occupy Wall Street movement disrupted a rally in Tacoma on Monday evening, yelling during most of the event. Two people were removed by police. Santorum said he is talking with the Secret Service about having agents assigned to his campaign.

"It's unfortunate that we are in that situation where folks can get a little rowdy and sometimes a little violent, and so it's sort of a sad state of affairs," he said. "I've been driving around most of this campaign in a truck with one other person, but we are in a different phase and obviously just for the sake of my family that we have to consider. So we are in that discussion right now."

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is currently the only GOP candidate with a Secret Service detail.

When asked if the Secret service was getting ready to give protection to Santorum, a Secret Service spokesman told CBS News, "We don't discuss any deliberations" about protection to candidates.

In order to get Secret Service protection, the Santorum campaign would need to talk to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's office. Napolitano would consult with a committee and then make the decision.

According to the Secret Service website, "The Secret Service has no role in determining who is to be considered a major candidate. The Secretary of the Homeland Security determines who qualifies as a major candidate and when such protection should commence."

The determination is made in consultation with an advisory committee comprised of the speaker of the House, the House minority whip, the Senate majority leader, Senate minority leader, and one additional member chosen by the committee.

CBS News Producer Andy Triay contributed to this report.

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