RICK’S NEW GAFFE

Santorum Shrugs Off Job Numbers

Seth Perlman / AP Photo

Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks at John Henry High School on Friday, March 16, 2012, in Arlington Heights, Ill.

Well, so much for Illinois. Rick Santorum really stepped in it this afternoon when he said, “I don’t care what the unemployment rate’s going to be. Doesn’t matter to me.” Yikes. In Santorum’s defense, he was saying that what the nation needs is a candidate that’s willing to fight for “freedom,” and make that the central theme of the race. He went on to say that his campaign “doesn’t hinge” on unemployment rates and growth rates, since conservatives think the government doesn’t create jobs. Later he said that “of course” he cares about the rate and hopes it goes down, but again, his campaign is about freedom. Santorum is currently polling about 15 percentage points behind Romney in Illinois.