Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has never shied away from controversial comments, and that hasn’t changed with his newfound place atop the polls for the Republican presidential nomination. Many politicians — like his cautious, consultant-tested opponent Mitt Romney — would respond to front-runner status by trying to attract moderate voters and avoid gaffes. Santorum, however, has continued to come out firing with inflammatory remarks at every opportunity.
Here is a list of the five craziest things that Santorum has said this week:
President Obama Is Like Hitler
During a Sunday appearance at First Redeemer Church in Cummings, GA, Santorum compared the current threat to Americans’ freedom to the “great peril” of World War II.
“America sat from 1940 when France fell to December of ’41 and did almost nothing. Why? Because we’re a hopeful people. We think, ‘You know it will get better. Yeah, I mean, he’s a nice guy. It won’t be near as bad as what we think. You know, this will be OK.”
“You know, maybe he’s not the best guy.’ After a while, you found out some things about this guy over in Europe and maybe he’s not so good of a guy after all. But you know what? ‘Why do we need to be involved? We’ll just take care of our own problems, just get our families off to work and our kids off to school and we’ll be OK.’
“So with the optimistic spirit of America, sometimes, sometimes it’s not okay. It’ll be harder for this generation to figure it out. There’s no cataclysmic event,”
On Monday Santorum denied that he meant to compare Obama to Hitler, but his words speak for themselves.
Global Warming Is A Political Trick
Santorum told voters in Eastern Ohio on Monday that global warming is not a factual threat, but rather a “political science.” According to Santorum, science supports those who want to aggressively drill for more oil and natural gas in the United States, but President Obama wants to scare people away from new oil-exploration technologies in an effort to “get your dollars,” and “turn it to politicians who can win elections so they can control your lives.”
Given that 97% of scientists believe that climate change is “very likely” caused mainly by human activity, it seems unlikely that Santorum really knows much about global warming. He does know something about energy, however; Santorum made $142,500 working as a “consultant” for Consol Energy in 2010 while they were fighting against the Obama administration’s attempts to tighten limits on greenhouse gas emissions.
Prenatal Testing Is Done To Encourage Abortions
On CBS’s “Face The Nation” on Sunday, Santorum criticized the Obama administration’s health care reform because it requires health insurance companies to provide prenatal screening, which is used to “encourage abortions.”
Once again, Santorum is playing fast and loose with the truth in this attack. As MSNBC’s First Read points out, prenatal testing is generally not used to convince women to get abortions; instead, it detects potential medical problems in utero, allowing parents and doctors to get the baby the care it needs.
Mitt Romney Begged Congress For A Bailout (And I Voted For It)
Santorum has recently taken to attacking Romney over his time as CEO of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
“One of the things he talks about most is how he heroically showed up on the scene and bailed out and resolved the problems of the Salt Lake City Olympic Games,” Santorum said during a campaign stop in Columbus, Ohio. “He heroically bailed out the Salt Lake City Olympic Games by heroically going to Congress and asking them for tens of millions of dollars to bail out the Salt Lake games — in an earmark.”
There’s just one problem with this attack: Santorum voted for every earmark related to the 2002 Olympics, and he has a long record of requesting his own earmarks for his home state of Pennsylvania.
President Obama Isn’t A Real Christian
On Saturday, Santorum told his audience that Obama’s world view is based on “some phony theology, not a theology based on the Bible.”
Not wanting to be labeled as a birther (now that Donald Trump’s endorsement is no longer in play,) Santorum attempted to walk back his comments on “Face the Nation.”
“I’ve repeatedly said I don’t question the president’s faith. I’ve repeatedly said that I believe the president’s Christian,” Santorum told host Bob Schieffer.
Santorum claimed that the “phony theology” he was referring to was not Obama’s religion, but his support for “radical environmentalists” who, Santorum believes, oppose aggressive drilling and mining because they believe “man is here to serve the Earth.”
Putting that odd explanation aside, it wouldn’t be surprising if Santorum doubts Obama’s faith. As a member of the United Church of Christ, Obama is one of the mainline protestants that Santorum believes are “gone from the world of Christianity.”