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Santorum: Obama Lied During Contraception Debate Santorum: Obama Lied During Contraception Debate

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CAMPAIGN 2012

Santorum: Obama Lied During Contraception Debate

Candidate says debate over Blunt amendment was distorted.

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio – Rick Santorum intimated on Friday that President Obama was lying to the American people by suggesting a recent debate over whether Catholic institutions should have to provide employees with birth control was about access to health care rather than religious freedom.

“I've got no problem with the president. He is a fine man, a good husband and father, he just has a very different view of what makes America great,” Santorum said. “And he's entitled to that opinion. He's entitled to make his case to the American public, but don't lie about what the case is. On this issue of health care, to say somehow or another this is about access to medical care—it is not. It is about imposing government's will on the American people, and people of faith. It is saying that state trumps faith. State trumps conscience. That is what this issue is all about.”

 

He cited the Senate’s vote this week to defeat the Blunt amendment, which would have carved out a wide swath of exceptions to the rule about birth control coverage for conscience reasons, as an example that Obama was not telling the truth about the debate. He said the provisions of the amendment had been “exactly the state of play until two weeks ago” in America.

“Now all of a sudden, this is beyond the pale and we are against certain health care being delivered to people. That is false. If you’re going to stand up and say we know better than you what you what you should believe, then make the argument,” he scolded. “Don’t mislead the American public about what this debate is about. It is about freedom.”

He also said: “This election, we need a choice, we need a choice. We don't need a choice between tweedle dumb and tweedle dee.”

 

In a subsequent interview on CNN, Santorum found himself walking back comments he made last week calling Obama a “snob” for saying every child should go to college.

"It was a strong term, probably not the smartest thing," he acknowledged. "But you know what, I don't give prepared talking-point speeches written by other people. I got a little passionate there and I used a harsher word than I normally would."

It was the second time this week Santorum found himself backing off controversial comments. He also told radio host Laura Ingraham on Monday that he probably shouldn’t have said President Kennedy’s famous speech to Baptist ministers in 1960 made him want to throw up.

About the other major news story of the day regarding contraception—that conservative talk radio host Rush Limaugh called a female Georgetown law student a “slut” and a “prostitute” for going before Congress to advocate for coverage of contraceptives—Santorum initially didn’t comment, saying he hadn’t heard about the story. Later, however, he told CNN that he considered Limbaugh's statement "absurd."

 

But Santorum didn’t focus his criticism solely at the president, also criticizing rival Mitt Romney for the fact that he was awarded an extra delegate by the Michigan GOP after the election, when his campaign contends the delegate count should have been split.

His campaign has alleged foul play, saying a committee stacked with Romney supporters voted to change the rules because they were “embarrassed” by his narrow victory in the state. The campaign on Friday sent a letter to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus requesting that the RNC's legal counsel investigate the issue.

And in the wake of an ABC News report that Romney boasted about his ability to secure federal funds for his state, Santorum called the former Massachusetts governor’s actions “hypocrisy.” Romney frequently attacks Santorum for his record of requesting earmarks while in Congress.

 

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