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Santorum Questions Obama's Parenting Skills Amid Mexico Media Rumpus Santorum Questions Obama's Parenting Skills Amid Mexico Media Rumpus

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

Santorum Questions Obama's Parenting Skills Amid Mexico Media Rumpus

Santorum says Obama should not have allowed daughter to go on school trip to Mexico.

Maybe Rick Santorum and his team shouldn't be so quick to dismiss advisers and teleprompters. 

In the past few days, the Republican presidential candidate has lectured Puerto Ricans on their need to learn English and said he doesn't care about the unemployment rate. On Tuesday, he said President Obama should not have allowed his daughter, Malia, 13, to go on a school trip to Mexico.

“The president’s actions should reflect what his administration is saying,” Santorum said on conservative Glenn Beck's radio show. “If the administration is saying that it’s not safe to have people down there, then just because you can send 25 Secret Service agents doesn’t mean you should do it. You should set an example. I think that's what presidents do. They set an example. And when the government is saying this is not safe, then you don’t set the example by sending your kids down there.”

 

The State Department issued a Mexico advisory last month warning travelers that "crime and violence are serious problems throughout the country and can occur anywhere." On top of that, there was a serious earthquake Tuesday in the region Malia and her classmates were visiting.

The White House made repeated attempts Tuesday to eliminate news media mentions of the trip, citing safety concerns and the tradition that presidential children are off-limits for coverage. Agence France-Presse, which broke the story, removed it from the AFP website at the administration's request, and outlets that had aggregated the AFP piece did the same. Politico wrote about the stories getting taken off the web, and then removed its own story at the request of the White House. Buzzfeed then wrote a story headlined "Story About White House Scrubbing Obama Daughter Travel Story Has Now Been Scrubbed."

Santorum meanwhile had injected himself into the mix, spreading news of Malia's trip to Beck's listeners. The White House finally gave up trying to quash the story when the earthquake hit. At that point first lady Michelle Obama's press secretary, Kristina Schake, issued a statement saying Malia was safe and asking that media respect "the privacy and security" of Obama's two daughters.

Until now, the GOP primaries have followed the same tradition as the media when it comes to not discussing presidential children. But Santorum, who rarely shies from answering anything he's asked, changed that on Tuesday.

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