Santorum Reflects on Family, ‘Extremist’ Label

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(Photo credit: CNN)

By Shawna Shepherd, CNN Political Producer

LANCASTER, Pa. — Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum reflected Tuesday evening on family and why he believes he was labeled the “extremist” candidate in the GOP race.

The revelations were made at an event with James Dobson, founder of the conservative group Focus on the Family, who was also an early Santorum supporter.

After Santorum declared earlier in the day his White House run was “over,” it was inevitable the discussion about faith and values would take a political turn.

Appearing with Dobson before more than a thousand people, Santorum reflected on the Gettysburg announcement and the campaign’s toll on his family. “I can’t say it was an emotional moment for me. I know it’s a little tougher for the family, always is tougher for the family,” he said.

Karen Santorum was scheduled to appear with her husband at Lancaster Bible College but he appeared by himself. Dobson explained why before Santorum came on stage.

“It was just, with all the activities of this day and with little Bella — the three-year-old’s been in the hospital — and she just didn’t feel she had the emotional strength to come.” He also said Karen “would have made a great first lady. And who knows, maybe she will yet.”

While Dobson praised the former two-term Pennsylvania senator for having the courage to talk about marriage and the sanctity of human life, he chided conservative political commentators for considering those views “extremist.”

Santorum, who often presented himself on the campaign trail as the alternative to more moderate candidates, said Tuesday his opponents are not dissimilar.

“If you go down the list of sort of the life, marriage, social conservative issues, we were all pretty much in line, yet I was considered the extremist, which I found very interesting,” said Santorum.

He conceded, “In a sense, all the candidates on the dias were social conservatives, but I was considered the social conservative candidate because I was the only one on the dias who actually tried to do anything.”

Dobson, who has appeared with Santorum on the campaign trail and touted the candidate in a radio spot, asked the former White House hopeful about coping with daughter Isabella, the youngest of Santorum’s seven children known as Bella, who suffers from a rare chromosomal disorder called Trisomy 18, which causes severe medical and developmental problems.

Santorum acknowledged the “pain and hardship” of raising a disabled child but he spoke passionately against detecting pre-natal chromosomal abnormalities through Amniocentesis, saying the process is “used to cull the disabled from society.”

“She doesn’t talk in a way that you would understand but she talks in a way that we understand. She’s a happy healthy girl. Like everybody else, like every other kid she gets sick. The problem is when she gets sick it is life threatening,” he said of Bella, who will celebrate her fourth birthday next week.

The former senator, who has taken only a handful of days off the trail since he launched his presidential bid said, “I’d like to get some sleep” when Dobson asked him “what’s next?”

Dobson’s parting words to Santorum, “God’s not done with you.”

1 Comment

  • emmageraln

    Reblogged this on emmageraln and commented:
    Extremists never think they’re extremists. Crazy people never think they’re crazy. This guy is great evidence for both!

Comments are closed.

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