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. Sniffit

    Gov. Ronald McDonald attacks Santorum on this issue but no doubt supports the inanity and hissy fits from the right wing extremists over the current contraception issue. Yawn. Disingenuousness, thy name is GOP.

    February 13, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    @Truth

    Perhaps if you yourself were willing to go the extra mile and enlist, you might have first hand experience on whether or not women are given a different set of rules. Blogging on CNNs ticker isn't going to get you that experience. Nor is listening to Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, or Rush Limbaugh. From what I understand, none of them have served either.

    February 13, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  3. Reggie from LA

    So Jeanine is more "man" than Rick Santorum. No offense to Jeanine, was referring to her having more moxy the Rick the "foxy". OK, that wasn't such great poetry, but you get the picture. Jeanine's one thing. Her father on the other hand....grrr!!, weasel.

    February 13, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  4. ART

    Ricky boy is so out of touch

    February 13, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  5. Lolo

    I agree with Dominican Mama 4 Obama. These republicans are really out of touch. Let us vote now to stop this train wreck that they are on. It is getting more and more disgusting everyday.

    February 13, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  6. memphispiano

    Parents who have children sitting elsewhere on a plane are not allowed to sit in an emergency exit row. Is it because they do not meet the physical demands of the job? NO...it is because they are likely to be more concerned about saving their children than doing the exit row job. Santorum was absolutely right when he said that having them serve together in combat could lead to similar situations. Men (both by reason of nature and of upbringing) are protective of women. All Santorum was saying there a times when that protective nature would be more important than doing the job. I am a father of daughters (no sons), but I would not think it fair that another man's son gave his life in protecting my daughter instead of doing the job at hand.

    February 13, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. Al-NY,NY

    what does anyone expect from such a narrow-minded theocrat like Rick? His 17th century vision of life is so backwards it's not funny

    February 13, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "I suppose you would also take a fat kid to Ben & Jerry's for ice cream to solve his problem? ( The problem is not revenues, it is spending )"

    Analogy fail. What happened...what is undeniably in the historical record...is that the problem is that a slightly chubby kid with a fondness for snacks was told to survive on 1,000 calories per day for a decade and predictably developed malnutrition and the mental/cognitive deficits that go with it. The gov't needs a healthy diet, not a starvation diet, but the GOP in its infinite ideological avarice decided that the easiest way to solve the problem for good was to starve the kid and hopefully kill it off...because hey, if there's nothing to feed, you don't have to spend any money on food, right?

    February 13, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  9. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Doesn't anybody know any women that are affected for 5-10 days a month? I've known some that had to miss OFFICE WORK because of the affects. Known some that have had MIGRAINES requires heavy duty meds and complete bed rest.

    Can a fighting force afford x% of its force to be out of commission at any point in time? And this isn't stuff you r schedule up like a dentist appt either!

    Libtards just dpon't seem capable of admitting reality.

    February 13, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  10. Jake

    Women can pull triggers the same as men. Santorum wants to keep 'em barefoot and you-know-what.

    February 13, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  11. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    McDonnell needs to defend prince Mittens, or his shot at VP will be gone.

    February 13, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  12. v_mag

    Sanctimonius is missing a bet here. Having women in dangerous military roles might prevent soldiers from falling into "sin" with other soldiers. Sanctimonius is so concerned about how people connect and whether they use protection, I would think he would want women on the front lines to keep our boys "pure" and simultaneously produce more progeny for the next generation's wars.

    Or maybe he really is gay, like a lot of people say, and he wants to entertain the fantasy of what male solders get up to in combat situations. So manly, Ricky!

    February 13, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  13. Howard

    I salute Gov. McDonnell's daughter for her courage, leadership, and the example she provides. I also salute the proud father who spoke up for her and every other woman who was in combat. As for women not being able to carry a 210 lb. wounded man, there are a heckuva lot of male G.I.s who couldn't do it either, so that's no standard to measure women by.

    The stupidity of that remark discloses the fact that the person who made it has never served in the Army.

    February 13, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  14. Marry

    Besides what Santorum said, it is truly despicable how McDonnell replied to that. McDonnell is not even man enough and capable of saying: It is an insult to all our solders to have to listen to so such nonsense from a guy that has never been in the military. That statement alone is enough to disqualify Santorum to apply for “Commander in Chief “!

    February 13, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  15. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    So if women and men are "equal" with regards to fighting, how many women are SEALS??? Just askin....

    February 13, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  16. Jake

    Rick Santorum is far out of touch on EVERYTHING!

    February 13, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  17. Iraq Veteran

    The fact remains that most women cannot perform at the same level as their male counterpart. There are always exceptions to the rule, and I have seen some women who would be able to perform any task, but not many. It is also true that many male soldiers have a tendency to want to look out for the women soldiers. It's not out of disrespect, but more the way we were brought up.

    February 13, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  18. Randy, San Francisco

    Santorum is just another social conservative with an outdated attitude towards women. Time for these neantherdals to join the 21st century.

    February 13, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  19. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    They had to lower the physical requirements for women to become fire fighters and police. Does anybody honestly believe the physical requirements for a front line fighting soldier are LOWER than those professions??!!

    Libtards always put political correctness above reality. At the same time they chide religious people for their beliefs, they themselves believe in some mythical physical strength equality between men and women.

    February 13, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "So if women and men are "equal" with regards to fighting, how many women are SEALS??? Just askin...."

    18 women serve on ballistic missle submarines and the NavySecretary Ray Maus expressed the openness and desire to make it so that there is no job/role not open to women in the Navy. Currently, you are correct, they can't join the SEALS, but guess what? That is the ONLY thing they can't do yet.

    February 13, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  21. JJ

    If Santorum is not professional enough to control his so-called "emotions" in close quarters situations with women, what business does he have running for president? What a nimrod.

    February 13, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  22. chill

    I do not like Santorum for a lot of reasons, but what he seemed to be saying is that soldiers, most of whom would still be male, might tend to be more protective of female soldiers, leading them to act differently than if it was an all male unit. Some might see that as sexist, but let's be honest guys, it's not much of a stretch to beleive that could be the case. May not be a good enough reas0n not to do it, but it's a legitimate concern to discuss.

    February 13, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  23. gt

    rick your to far out there....

    February 13, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  24. anagram_kid

    Women reject Santorum, so he does not respect them, which makes them reject him more, which makes him respect them less… It is not the fault of women that Santorum is so repulsive on multiple levels.

    February 13, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  25. tony

    I served with women before, and they have more balls than all our republican senators and presidential candidates put together .

    February 13, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
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