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Santorum: Not My Job to Correct Voters Who Say Obama's a Muslim Santorum: Not My Job to Correct Voters Who Say Obama's a Muslim

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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field / CAMPAIGN 2012

Santorum: Not My Job to Correct Voters Who Say Obama's a Muslim

Candidate says not his obligation to those he disagrees with

GOP Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum meets with supporters at the Daily Grind coffee shop in Sioux City, Iowa. (Ralf-Finn Hestoft)

photo of Lindsey Boerma
January 23, 2012

LADY LAKE, Fla. – Rick Santorum said on Monday that he doesn’t see the need to correct audience members who make misstatements. The Republican presidential candidate's comment came after a woman critical of President Obama at a forum misidentified the president as Muslim.

The woman told Santorum, “He is an avowed Muslim and my question is, why isn't something being done to get him out of our government?” Santorum responded: “Believe me … I’m doing everything I can to get him out of the government.”

The former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania defended his approach to reporters afterward.

 

“It’s not my responsibility as a candidate to correct everybody who makes a statement that I disagree with,” Santorum said. “There are lots of people who get up and say stuff in a town hall meeting and say things that I don’t agree with, but I don’t think it’s my obligation, nor should it be your feeling that it’s my obligation to correct somebody who says something that I don’t agree with.”

The issue has surfaced with GOP audiences in the past. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Republican John McCain answered an audience member who pejoratively described Obama as an “Arab” by saying: "No, ma'am. He's a decent family man ... [a] citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues.”

Also at Monday’s event, two Occupy Tampa protesters were dragged out for interrupting the event after they shouted “Stop the hate!” and tossed glitter toward Santorum. The protesters were cited for trespassing and detained until the event was over.

Santorum told reporters the Occupy members have a right to protest, but that he hopes they can be "respectful."

 

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