Santorum plays multiple cards from a hot button deck
January 20th, 2011
01:39 PM ET
3 years ago

Santorum plays multiple cards from a hot button deck

Washington (CNN) - Possible 2012 Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum is dialing back on comments made to CNSnews.com during an interview that blasted President Obama's stance on abortion and invoked the President's race.

In a statement provided to CNN following the interview's web posting Thursday, Santorum said "For decades certain human beings were wrongly treated as property and denied liberty in America because they were not considered persons under the constitution. Today other human beings, the unborn of all races, are also wrongly treated as property and denied the right to life for the same reason; because they are not considered persons under the constitution. I am disappointed that President Obama, who rightfully fights for civil rights, refuses to recognize the civil rights of the unborn in this country."

The comments that sparked criticism came from the former Pennsylvania senator during an interview with the Media Research Center's CNSnews.com where he discussed both slavery and abortion while analyzing the merits of secular law vs. natural law.

"There's…natural law that we learn in America by and large by faith. That law is one that sits over the secular law and that one that we have to achieve," Santorum continued,

"When we had slavery in this county slavery did not conform to the natural law. And as result there was agitation, always. Abortion does not conform to the natural law, why, because all life should be respected."

Asserting his belief that "every person, every child conceived in the womb has a right to life at the moment of conception, Santorum continued.

"So the question is not whether this is a human life. But Barack Obama says you know 'is a child in the womb a human life, well, that's above my pay grade.'"

The former Senator folded criticism of Obama into his pro-life argument by stating, "Just about everything else in the world he's willing to do-have the government do-but he can't answer that basic question which is not a debatable issue at all.

"The question is-and this is what Barack Obama didn't want to answer-is that, is that human life a person under the Constitution. And Barack Obama says no. "

Santorum continued, playing the race card.

"Well if that person, a human life, is not a person, then I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say now we are going to decide who are people and who are not people."

CNN's Jessica Yellin contributed to this report.


Filed under: Rick Santorum
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Mavent

    Stay classy, Republicans.

    January 20, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  2. Roger Ogilvy Thornhill

    The unborn have no civil rights. They must be citizens to have civil rights. They are only citizens if they are born in this country. Gestating in this country is not the same as being born in this country. Nice try at relating abortion to african slavery in the U.S., but it's a half-baked analogy at best.

    January 20, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  3. Indie Woman in Denver

    There is a lot of disagreement about "when life begins," and anyone who says otherwise is simply not paying attention to anyone who doesn't agree with them. Is that the kind of person we want as our president? No. Possible. Way.

    January 20, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  4. Fred

    what a RACIST IGNORANT ARROGANT IDIOT

    January 20, 2011 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  5. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    I wish this sanctimonious, authoritarian, narrow-minded, religious nut would just go away. He and the rest of the neo-cons are an embarrassment to Conservatism and to the once-good name of the Republican Party.

    January 20, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  6. Brother Roland

    This "natural law" sitting above secular law he speaks of, is it just code for establishing a Christian theocracy? Better go back to high school civic's class Mr. Santorum and re-learn the separation of church and state in America. And, to boot sir, Mr. Obama is first and foremost a man, a human not a black man.

    January 20, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  7. JZK411

    Guys like Santorum take our country back to the Middle Ages. He and Palin should find a nice cozy patch of frozen tundra in Siberia, and leave real politics to the sensible people who are actually capable of running this country.

    January 20, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  8. Chipster

    Santorum is running for head of the Ministry of Virtue & Vice. "natural law that we learn ...by faith? That ... sits over the secular law? If Ayatollah Santorum believes he has the authority to dictate his idea of morals to others, then why didn't he complain that the GOP majority (2001-2007) didn't even bother to try to ban abortions? His silence was conspicuous! Didn't want to lose the issue perhaps? Mr. Santorum, this is not Iran. You have the right to follow your faith but not to dictate it to others. This is NOT a Theocracy!

    January 20, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  9. Diane

    Given all the nasty things Rick Santorum has said about GLB people, and his consistent refusal to support their fair and equitable treatment, he's got some nerve questioning someone else's credentials regarding civil rights. Furthermore, it's ridiculous to compare abortion to the civil-rights movements of the past and present–the relation of a woman to the fetus she's carrying is unique and cannot be rightly compared to any other typical relationship.

    Thoughtful, well-intentioned, ethical people can easily come to wildly varying opinions on the matter, and the refusal of people like Santorum to acknowledge the complexity of the matter, regardless of their final opinion, just make the dialogue more difficult.

    January 20, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  10. LovesIrony

    lost by 18%, and has become a google allstar. Would someone PLEASE clean up the santorum?

    January 20, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  11. GI Joe

    He'll be president when all the people in this country have IQs of less than 50. Gonna take decades to get rid of the the smart ones.

    January 20, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  12. Brad

    While I think this guy is an idiot for forcing his dumb religiouse laws on everone, especially when there is no such thing as God, I absolutly agree with him though that life, especially human life, is very preciouse. That is why I hate abortion, if you abort a baby, you are nothing more than a common murderer. I hope that abortion burdens you for the rest of your worthless life.

    January 20, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  13. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    This guy is a gaffe machine. He never learns so that makes him a perfect 2012 wingnut.

    January 20, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  14. Eli

    Want to know what Santorum really is? Google his last name, and see the "sexual neologism" tht comes up first. That says it all.

    January 20, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  15. CathyinAZ

    Memo to Mr. Santorum – Roe vs. Wade assured women of the right to choose. NO woman chooses that path lightly so you can keep your sanctimonius self OUT of the presidential race.

    January 20, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  16. D

    Did he really just go there?

    January 20, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    "I am disappointed that President Obama, who rightfully fights for civil rights, refuses to recognize the civil rights of the unborn in this country."

    Obama had an abortion? Huh. Didn't realize he was also the first female POTUS. Last I checked though, he took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, which (a) does not give him the power as POTUS to do anything about Roe v. Wade and (b) means that he, even if he disagrees with Roe v. Wade in his personal life, MUST support it in his role as POTUS. Furthermore, he has supported at every turn limitations on federal funding going to abortions. So that just leaves frozen embryos that were going to be put in the trash as the only thing Santorum could possibly be referring to, and it requires denial of reality, common sense and science in order to arrive at his conclusions.

    January 20, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  18. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    One wouldn't expect these kind of comments from a young, white educated man who is expected to be part of the future and not the past. Thank God that the vast majority of whites don't think like this and I thank God for them because it is they who will make change and as blacks we need to continue to embrace them.

    January 20, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "There's…natural law that we learn in America by and large by faith. That law is one that sits over the secular law and that one that we have to achieve"

    Transation: "If I manage to become POTUS, I will do everything in my power to erode the separation of church and state and the 230 years or so of SCOTUS precedent that established it as the correct interpretation of the First Amendment. I don't agree with it and think it is wrong because the Bible tells me so. In my view, government is the vehicle by which we achieve implementation of and enforce religious law, not the vehicle by which we prevent differences in religious law from tearing apart civilized society like it has done time and time and time and time and time again throughout human history."

    That is, quite literally, what he said. I'm not even beig facetious about this one, as is evidenced by me purposefully leaving out any reference to him wanting to enact the King James Constitution or believing that human history is 6,000 years long...oh crap...I just did. Oh well.

    January 20, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  20. RightasRain

    "... is not a debatable issue at all."
    Funny, I thought that it was so debatable that the country was divided on the issue. Tell you what... bring forth this God of yours and we'll end the debate right here and now. What? You want us to take your word for it? The Bible's word for it? Sorry but that's akin to asking for a line of credit when you have no visible means of revenue. Present some facts and we'll talk...Otherwise, shut the phuk up.

    January 20, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  21. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    What an out-of-touch hack this guy is. Living=Unborn is about right for his powers of deduction, but after all, he must pander and pander and pander some more.

    January 20, 2011 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  22. Seriously?

    First of all, abortion is not an issue the government should be deciding. It is a personal, moral and spiritual issue that should be decided by the parties involved. I know, a lot of people complain that they don't want their tax dollars spent on abotion. Well, there is a lot of stuff I don't want my tax dollars spent on, but I don't get a say in that. I do know that I would prefer women to be able to legally get medical assistance if that is the path they choose. I am as willing to see my tax dollars being spent on the right kind of care as opposed to having to pay for the care after she is butchered by some back-alley quack because she can't get it done legally. Abortion has been going on since the beginning of time and it is not going to stop just because some pious politician is trying to score points with his radical base. I don't want my tax dollars spent on war. It claims many more lives tha abortion does (if you believe that human life begins at conception – which is still highly debatable).

    As for the racist comments, well folks, what did you expect? That is what the Repubicans and their sub-culture, the Tea-Party, is really all about. Ignorance, racism, greed and intolerance. This guy seems to have a grasp on all of these "virtues" the rigth hold so dearly.

    I only hope the next two years finally show the American people what these guys are really all about. I have no doubt that President Obama will serve another term. The more the right talks, the more job security the POTUS has.

    January 20, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  23. t

    whar an idiot!!

    January 20, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  24. Dan

    A republican saying something extremely racist is supposed to be news?

    January 20, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  25. scott

    Yes, every "every person, every child conceived in the womb has a right to life at the moment of conception", but then we will strip the citizenship from those who Republicans believe do not deserve natural born citizenship. And then we will deport them. But they have the right to be born.

    January 20, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
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