Outbursts

02.20.12

10 Outrageous Things Rick Santorum Has Said

As Rick Santorum enjoys a surge over Mitt Romney in national polls, The Daily Beast rounds up some of his craziest statements.

There are politicians who make gaffes, and then there’s Rick Santorum. The former Pennsylvania senator and Republican presidential contender has gained respect from some conservatives for what they see as a politician sticking to his guns, but others think he’s just a few Knights Templar short of a holy war. From presidential prostrations to medieval aggression, The Daily Beast rounds up Santorum’s kookiest utterances. 

1. Canine Lovin’

This one has followed Santorum for nearly a decade. In a 2003 interview with The Associated Press, Santorum argued that if the Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws and allowed people to perform homosexual acts in their own homes, thousands of years of civilization would go out the window. Marriage as an institution that exists only between a man and a woman must be upheld, he said. “In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality,” Santorum said. “That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be.”

2. America’s Trojan Horse

In a freewheeling interview with conservative blog CaffeinatedThoughts.com last October, Candidate Rick spent a good deal of time rhapsodizing about what President Rick would do about contraception and sexual ethics. “One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country,” Santorum said. “Many of the Christian faith have said, well, that’s OK; contraception is OK. It’s not OK. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”

3. Penny for His Thoughts

At a January campaign stop in Iowa, Santorum took on entitlement reform. He took criticism for his remarks when he told a monochromatic Iowa audience, “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn money.”

4. Face Plant

In an appearance on Greta Van Susteren’s Fox News show in March 2010, Santorum was asked whether President Obama should delay a trip abroad or stay in Washington and hash out a resolution to the debate over health-care reform. Brushing aside the health-care issue, Santorum said, “I think the Democrats are actually worried he [Obama] may go to Indonesia and bow to more Muslims.”

5. Kissing Kin

Returning to the topic of the Supreme Court and sodomy laws, Santorum wrote in a 2008 Philadelphia Inquirer column that “the latest distressing news came last week in California. The state Supreme Court there ruled, 4-3, that same-sex couples can marry.” Santorum went on to say, “Is anyone saying same-sex couples can’t love each other? I love my children. I love my friends, my brother. Heck, I even love my mother-in-law. Should we call these relationships marriage, too?”

6. Turf Wars

At another Iowa campaign stop in November, Santorum engaged an earnest young voter on the issue of Israeli control of the West Bank. “If they want to negotiate with Israelis, and all the people who live in the West Bank are Israelis, they’re not Palestinians. There is no ‘Palestinian,’” Santorum said. “This is Israeli land.”

The Washington Post noted that the comment was reminiscent of Newt Gingrich’s claim that the Palestinians are an “invented people.”

‘It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be.’

7. Materfamilias

Blame it on mom. It’s hapless single mothers who necessitate the welfare state, Santorum said in a radio interview in October 2011. And the Republican solution is to get more people hitched, stat. “Look at the political base of the Democratic Party: it is single mothers who run a household,” Santorum said. “Why? Because it’s so tough economically that they look to the government for help, and therefore they’re going to vote. So if you want to reduce the Democratic advantage, what you want to do is build two-parent families, you eliminate that desire for government.”

8. Francophile? Non.

In Santorum’s mind, the relationship between France and America isn’t a long and glorious one going back to the Marquis de Lafayette and further. Nope. We landed at Normandy, and now they owe us. In another Philadelphia Inquirer column in 2009, Santorum wrote: “Watching President Obama apologize last week for America’s arrogance—before a French audience that owes its freedom to the sacrifices of Americans—helped convince me that he has a deep-seated antipathy toward American values and traditions.”

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Howie Kurtz on Rick Santorum’s trial by media

9. Choosing His Battles

In a February 2004 article in The Morning Call, an Allentown, Pa., newspaper, Santorum (cited in the article as “the Senate’s No. 3 GOP leader”) said gay marriage “is an issue just like 9/11. We didn’t decide we wanted to fight the war on terrorism because we wanted to. It was brought to us. And if not now, when? When the supreme courts in all the other states have succumbed to the Massachusetts version of the law?”

10. Deus Vult

Liberals have been fiddling with medieval history, Santorum alleged at an appearance in Spartanburg, S.C., in February 2011. “The idea that the Crusades and the fight of Christendom against Islam is somehow an aggression on our part is absolutely anti-historical,” Santorum said. “And that is what the perception is by the American left, who hates Christendom.”