Fox News axes pundit pair

Gingrich, Santorum out

Former senator Rick Santorum and former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich are out at Fox News. The contracts of the two pundits have been terminated.

Santorum and Gingrich had served as contributors on the network, but were each suspended when questions arose about their intentions to seek the 2012 GOP presidential nom.

Anchor Bret Baier announced on March 2 that both had been suspended for 60 days. The two were instructed either to assure the net that they would not run for president in 2012 or resign their posts.

During the suspension Gingrich had engaged in a convoluted attempt to avoid explicitly declaring that he was seeking the nomination, with his camp described as being in an “explore phase” rather than forming an exploratory committee (generally considered the first key step toward seeking a nomination).

Three other contributors on the network — Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and John Bolton — have said they’re considering possible runs for the presidential nomination, but none has formed an exploratory committee.

Huckabee denied reports on Thursday that Fox gave him a similar put-up-or-shut-up deadline of May 31. A Fox News spokeswoman did not immediately return a request for comment.