Sing it with me, Rick!
CBS News reports Rick Santorum's presidential ambitions...
Rick Santorum wants back in the game.
Four years ago, the two-term Pennsylvania senator lost his reelection bid by a whopping 18 points, the worst loss for a sitting senator since before Ronald Reagan became president. With that loss, Santorum—a staunch social conservative who had become a target of the left for his role in divisive debates over issues such as homosexuality and evolution—faded from the national scene.
This year, however, Santorum has been not-so-quietly laying the groundwork for a return to an even bigger stage: The 2012 Republican presidential nomination fight.
Blah blah blah... and a few paragraphs later...
There are those for whom Santorum is—literally—a dirty word. Back in 2003, the senator gave an interview to the Associated Press in which he referenced polygamy, incest and "man on dog" sex in a conversation about homosexuality, setting off a firestorm of anger on the left. Journalist and relationship advice columnist Dan Savage held a contest to get readers to come up with a new meaning for "santorum"—the winning, easy-to-Google entry associates the conservative senator's name with a certain kind of sexual intercourse.
In an interview, Santorum said he was hurt by the reaction to his comments and insisted he had been mischaracterized. His interviewer, he said, had engaged in a "hatchet job" that clouded the fact that he was simply making a legal argument that "if the court created a right that sexual activity was all based on consent, then consent can be consent to do anything." Santorum said his focus was not on gay sexual activity specifically, and went on to stress his work to fight AIDS worldwide. (In an e-mailed statement, Associated Press Media Relations Manager Jack Stokes said, "Our story was accurate then, and it has withstood the passage of time." You can see a transcript of the interview here.)
That isn't to say Santorum, a strong opponent of same-sex marriage, has exactly changed course. Asked about his position on homosexuality, a more toned-down Santorum said, "I have no problem from a public policy point of view with homosexuality." When asked about his personal feelings on the subject, Santorum said, "I have personal feelings on a lot of things." He added that people have a right to do what they want in the privacy of their own home. "There are things that people do that I think are good, there are things that are bad, that really doesn't matter much," he stated.
Savage said in an e-mail that Santorum's comments from the 2003 AP interview were rightly interpreted "as specifically and viciously homophobic."
"In the Senate, Rick Santorum called banning gay marriage 'the ultimate homeland security issue,' essentially arguing that the existence of gay couples and gay families represented a threat to the safety and security of the nation," said Savage.
Savage criticized Santorum for now stressing his work on global AIDS, which he called a largely-straight epidemic that anti-gay politicians use to mask their anti-gay sentiments.
After the jump... sing along with Patti Lupone, Angela Lansbury, and Bernadette Peters!
Can't find Merman's version anywhere online—help me, showqueens!