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Rick Santorum Is Not a Knuckle-Dragging Neanderthal (and, Mercifully, Sarah Palin Didn’t Actually Call Him One)



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Well, a one-day story is living a little longer.

Sarah Palin responded to yesterday’s silly story about Rick Santorum supposedly attacking her while on Sean Hannity’s TV show last night: “I will not call him the knuckle-dragging Neanderthal. I’ll let his wife call him that instead.”

Although Palin said she was hearing the actual Santorum interview for the first time while on-air, and acknowledged that Santorum may have fallen victim to what she might otherwise call the lamestream media, she had already gotten her inner feminist on. The former Alaska governor told Sean: “I’m the proud mother of five. My kids don’t hold me back from attending a conference.” She said: “Just because I’m a mom that does not mean that I didn’t want to be there.” 

During the next hour, on On the Record — the Fox News contributor primary-potentials parade marches on — an exasperated Santorum explained himself. Not that the story ever really needed explaining: On a web radio show (which you can listen to here) the former senator was asked a question he didn’t really know the answer to, and his response was interpreted by some in the political media in a way that caused a frenzy he clearly didn’t see coming.

He told Greta van Susteren that he and his wife respect the former governor and her time — they were even avid viewers of Sarah Palin’s Alaska. And Santorum reiterated: “If CPAC were in Anchorage, I wouldn’t go. I have responsibilities, too.” 

And Santorum showed no interest in getting sucked into a debate about gender roles, making clear he adapts his political schedule to his family’s needs, changes diapers, etc. He changes diapers, by the way, for a young daughter with special needs. His initial radio interview answer may have gone on too long because he felt some fellow-feeling with Palin. Big family. Young child with especially intense demands. Demands on time. Not made of money. Fox News contributor. 

Rather than patronizing, his initial answer seemed respectful of her dual roles as a loving mother and a public voice. And while he has an even bigger family than she does, he is also married to a registered nurse who is currently a stay-at-home mom, and he lives in the northeast. And I think it’s safe to assume he doesn’t have the same financial opportunities she does. She has a lot of choices to make everyday, as we all do. That seemed to be his point.

I suspect he wishes he simply said I have no idea why Sarah Palin said no to CPAC’s keynote. Ask her. 

Gosh, I wish we didn’t waste time looking for fights where there really aren’t any. 



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