February 13th, 2012
12:03 PM ET
3 years ago

McDonnell hits Santorum over 'emotions' remarks

Washington (CNN) – Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell chided Rick Santorum on Monday for expressing concerns about women serving in military combat roles.

Santorum told CNN last week that having women on the front lines could lead to a "compromising situation where people naturally may do things that may not be in the interest of the mission because of other types of emotions that are involved."

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He later said he was referring to both male and female emotions.

Either way, the remark did not sit well with McDonnell, a leading Mitt Romney supporter whose oldest daughter Jeanine did a tour of duty in Iraq.

"I like Rick Santorum a lot, I just disagree with any inference he might have made that somehow women are incapable of serving in the front lines and serving in combat positions," McDonnell said in an interview Monday with CNN's Kyra Phillips.

"And I base that in part on my own daughter's own experience as a platoon leader in Iraq with 25 men working with her," he continued. "She did a great job, as in some very risky situations, and yet endured and led and I'm proud of her. So, I just wanted to make sure people didn't think that women aren't capable of doing the job. And I've got firsthand experience in saying that."

McDonnell made similar remarks in his address to the Conservative Political Action Conference last weekend, saying that his daughter commanded 25 men in her Army platoon and encountered small arms fire in Iraq.

"Yes, I did get emotional, but she didn't," McDonnell told the CPAC crowd of his daughter's experience. "She got the job done."

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Filed under: 2012 • Bob McDonnell • Rick Santorum • TV-CNN Newsroom
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. Dr Knowitall

    McDonnell is dead wrong. The majority of women can not perform the same physical tasks as men. Carrying a wounded 210 pound person to safety might not be possible.

    February 13, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  2. vinnie

    wonder what mr. mcconnel would think if his daughter wanted an abortion, or was gay. probably not so supportive...

    February 13, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  3. vinnie

    *mcdonnell...oops

    February 13, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  4. B

    Santoum is totally out of touch with current America and lives inside is bubble of extreme religious mythology.

    How could he possibly understand a -combat situation- as he has never stepped out of his- make believe world!

    He would lead the country as a Christian Theocracy.

    February 13, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  5. Frank

    I'll bet Sissy Santorum DOES get nervous over FEMALE EMOTIONS. That's probably why he adopts so many kids - he doesn't want to what must be done to manually produce them.

    RICK!!! Come out of the closet!!!!

    February 13, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  6. Annie, Atlanta

    I say let Santorum speak. The more he speaks the better idea we get of the views of rightwing christians. Go for it Rick. I'm liking the exposure.

    February 13, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  7. Janet

    Here we go again....send women back to the kitchen and keep them barefoot and pregnant!

    February 13, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  8. Denise

    McDonnell – I'm glad you're proud of your daughter and God bless her. But you, my friend, have got to go. I'm tired of what you are doing in Virginia. I think you should start thinking about hobbies and how you would like to spend your days when you're no longer governor because I believe your days are numbered for representing Virginia.

    February 13, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  9. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    Santorum spoke like someone who has never been under fire. You follow your training while hoping "Not me, Not me". And you try to save every person on your side because they are all closer than you family at that moment.

    February 13, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  10. The Greedy Old PIgs declared class war on US!

    Kind of odd that the bloodthirst war lovers in the GOBP deathcult are suddenly worried about the emotions of the soldiers they put in harm's way. They sure don't care about the soldiers when it comes to VA benefits or raising their standard of living to their families off food stamps.

    February 13, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  11. Curt

    Is anyone surprised at Santorum's remarks? I'am sure if he had his way all women would be barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen. I may be wrong here but has Santorum ever actually served in the armed forces and been at war.

    February 13, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  12. _me

    Excuse me... it sounds more like Santorum is worried about the feelings of the men than those of the women.

    February 13, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  13. Larry in Houston

    McDonnell & Cantor – 2 peas in the same pod

    February 13, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    "And I base that in part on my own daughter's own experience as a platoon leader in Iraq with 25 men working with her," he continued. "She did a great job, as in some very risky situations, and yet endured and led and I'm proud of her."

    Job well done to Mr. McDonnell's daughter!

    No doubt Mr. Romney is equally supportive of his five sons military experience. Oops ... my bad. All five of his grown sons have been much too busy this past decade helping support daddy's presidential ambitions to volunteer their time and/or efforts on behalf of America's military during wartime. So says their proud Papa when asked.

    February 13, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  15. NoTags

    Gov.McDonnell it sounds like your daughter has more guts than many of your Republican colleagues such as Santorum, Boehner, Cantor, et. al., who for various reasons couldn't serve in the military.

    February 13, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  16. Patrick in Minnesota

    Is the only reason people can think of for barring women from the front lines is that men might want to save the women instead of the unit? Santorum's lack of military experience is evident here.

    February 13, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  17. maggie

    Santorum said: Santorum told CNN last week that having women on the front lines could lead to a "compromising situation where people naturally may do things that may not be in the interest of the mission because of other types of emotions that are involved."

    This is why Santorum is so wrong for America. He not only takes women back a century or two but clearly, "rules" from his theocracy and not from the reality of America in 2012.

    February 13, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  18. Calvin

    Curt, you are correct Santorum has never served in the military.

    In fact the only candidate who has is the one that wants to abandon the warmongering foreign policy of the GOP and is the most endorsed candidate by our servicemen and women themselves, Dr. Ron Paul.

    February 13, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  19. maggie

    Dr. Knowitall, and many men don't have the same smarts as women. So, now what?

    February 13, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "compromising situation where people naturally may do things that may not be in the interest of the mission because of other types of emotions that are involved."
    ------------------------
    Yes...right...like when Boo-Hoo Boehner breaks down sobbing at the mere mention of...whatever.

    February 13, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  21. GROVER NORQUIST IS AN ENEMY OF THE STATE

    Ayatollah Santorum needs to rent GI Jane. I'm a vet and I served with women who were more than capable of being 11 Bravos.

    February 13, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  22. The GOP opens mouth and inserts foot

    Santorum wasn't just disparaging women in a completely idiotic and uninformed way. He was also insulting men. He was saying that men were weak-willed, pathetic, unfocused and completely unable to perform any task because they're easily distracted. In that case, men should not be allowed to have any type of profession that requires any degree of concentration because they might get 'distracted' by their co-workers. They can't be doctors or lawyers or definitely elected officials. So we'll just let men do the heavy-labor jobs like road building and bridge building and let everything else be handled by women since they're stronger, more even tempered and more able to concentrate on a task at hand.

    February 13, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Can we vote now?
    Please.

    February 13, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  24. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    If woman are required to perform the same strength tests that men do and pass them, then fine, let them serve. If they are creating different rules for woman, then compromises are being made that will endanger people.

    But to not acknowledge that part, maybe a significant part, of your fighting force may be physically impaired due to menstrual issues, is to totally ignore reality and replace it with politically correct feminism. I don't know if our enemies allow our armed forces 5-10 day downtime periods. I would tend to doubt it.

    February 13, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  25. usmc1

    I agree with Santorum and have experienced it first hand. Might not be PC but it is how i see it

    February 13, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
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