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Jan 242013
 

Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Wednesday’s announcement that women will be allowed to serve in combat was hardly the first time the subject has come up.

When it cropped up during the Clinton administration, it drew opposition from the likes of then House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who offered a now-infamous medical assessment of why it was a bad idea to let them fight.

“Females have biological problems staying in a ditch for 30 days because they get infections, and they don’t have upper body strength,” The New York Times quoted Gingrich as saying in early 1995.  Men, on the other hand, ”are basically little piglets; you drop them in the ditch, they roll around in it.”

More recently, Rick Santorum caused a minor controversy by bringing “emotions” into it.

“I do have concerns about women in front line combat.  I think that could be a very compromising situation where, where people naturally, you know, may do things that may not be in the interests of the mission because of other types of emotions that are involved,” he told CNN in February 2012, in the heat of the GOP presidential primary.

He later clarified.

“I was talking about men’s emotional issues; not women,” Santorum told ABC soon after.  “I mean, there’s a lot of issues.  That’s just one of them.”

Opponents of women serving unrestricted have always risked offending their political adversaries, regardless of whether their words blow up into controversy.

“What I think was most troubling to us was less the comments of pundits and more the policy in place,” said one attorney who has pressed the Pentagon on female service, saying the combat-service ban sent a “message that … women were somehow less than” male soldiers.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Jan 202013
 

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum on Sunday accused President Obama of being a “sore winner” in his dealings with Republicans.

“That’s the problem with this administration. They don’t — they’re not very gracious winners. And I always said, you know, there’s one thing worse than a sore loser, and that’s a sore winner. And the president’s a sore winner,” Santorum said on “This Week.” “He could get something done on deficits and entitlements, but he’s got to move his people to do that, instead of forcing Republicans always to come his way. And that’s the problem.”

He also said there is real opportunity to achieve bi-partisan immigration reform.

“I think the Republicans are ready to do something on immigration. And, I mean, you saw Marco Rubio’s plan, which is pretty—pretty far down the road, looks a lot like what President Bush put forward four years ago,” Santorum said. “Yes, they’re willing to do it. But they’re not willing to give the president everything he wants, because I think they believe the rule of law still matters in this country.”

Santorum advised Congressional Republicans to stand their ground against Obama’s gun proposals and clashed with former Democratic Governor of Michigan Jennifer Granholm, who supports Obama’s efforts and also was on  the “This Week” roundtable.

“Deer don’t wear armor. Why do you need an armor- piercing bullet?” Granholm said.

“But criminals could — having the ability to defend yourself is something that is a right in our country,” Santorum responded.

Santorum, chairman of Patriot Voices, also tweaked the president for what he argued was a lack of action to address the “glorification of violence” in film and TV.

“Not one thing the president did dealt with Hollywood and gun violence and video games and all the glorification of violence,” Santorum said. “Why do you need to protect Hollywood?”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sep 262012
 

Chris Maddaloni/Roll Call/Getty Images(VERONA, Penn.) — U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) and former U.S. Senator and Chairman of Patriot Voices Rick Santorum issued the following joint statement regarding their support of Todd Akin for the U.S. Senate in Missouri:
 
“If Republicans are to win back the Senate and stop President Obama’s liberal agenda, we must defeat Senator Claire McCaskill in Missouri.  Her support of President Obama’s job-killing, big-spending policies are sending our country into an economic abyss.  And her passionate support of ObamaCare is ensuring healthcare costs go up while quality of care goes down.  Simply put, we cannot afford six more years of Senator McCaskill.
 
“Todd Akin is a principled conservative who is committed to winning and fighting for freedom in the U.S. Senate. Todd will work to stop reckless spending, stop the out of control debt, repeal the government takeover of healthcare, support our military and defend life at every stage.
 
“We support Todd Akin and hope freedom-loving Americans in Missouri and around the country will join us so we can save our country from fiscal collapse,” concluded Santorum and DeMint.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Aug 282012
 

Scott Olson/Getty Images(TAMPA, Fla.) — He was perhaps Mitt Romney’s most bitter enemy during the protracted Republican presidential primary, but on Tuesday night Rick Santorum plans to give his most hearty pat on the back yet to a former rival he spent the better part of a year slapping in the face.

In his Republican National Convention speech, Santorum plans to take up the Romney campaign’s line of attack on President Obama’s handling of welfare reform, talk about getting Americans back to work and highlight the conservative principles he campaigned on during his own presidential bid.

Romney campaign strategist Russ Schfriefer said he had read the former Pennsylvania senator’s speech and that it was “particularly good.” Another source familiar with the text said it “will tug at your heartstrings.”

Schriefer said Santorum would draw heavily from his own biography as the hard-working product of immigrants and speak about the “dignity of work.”

“I would cast it as a hopeful,” Santorum confidante John Brabender told ABC News in an interview. But he acknowledged that the former presidential hopeful would not be pulling any punches.

Brabender said Santorum viewed Obama’s handling of welfare as “very illustrative of the failure of his presidency.”

In the speech, 90 percent of which Brabender said Santorum wrote himself, he “contrasts what he believes this country was built on vs. Barack Obama and how the two seem to be dramatically opposed.”

Sources indicated that Santorum had been upgraded to a more coveted speaking slot at about 9:15 p.m. after originally being assigned an earlier one. His remarks are expected to clock in at about 14 minutes.

But Santorum’s role in Tampa this week goes far beyond his brief time at the podium in the convention hall on Tuesday night. He is also embracing a role he begun carving out during the primaries — as one of most prominent leaders of the conservative movement.

Santorum has put together a “Patriots for Romney-Ryan 2012″ reception in Tampa’s Liberty Plaza on Wednesday featuring a “who’s who” of the conservative movement, including Family Research Council head Tony Perkins, Americans For Tax Reform’s Gorver Norquist, the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Ralph Reed, Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser and such conservative luminaries as Gary Bauer, Phyllis Schlafly and Richard Viguerie.

Some of these leaders publicly backed Santorum over Romney during the primary. In fact, after he dropped out of the race Santorum’s own loyalty to Romney appeared to be in doubt when it took weeks for him to endorse the presumptive Republican nominee. Since then he has only campaigned for Romney a handful of times.

But now that Romney has officially become the nominee of the party, Brabender said Santorum’s conservative credentials and his blue-collar roots could be an asset between now and November.

“We have to turn some conservatives from just being Romney voters to being Romney activists,” he said. “What is clear is that when he speaks, conservatives listen.”

And although he has, at times, been critical of Romney’s policies, Santorum loyalists said those differences would not be on display this week.

“This is Mitt Romney’s convention and Rick understands that,” former Santorum campaign communications director Hogan Gidley said in an interview with ABC News. “His speech will bolster the nominee’s argument that he’s the best person to lead this nation forward.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio