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John King Digs Up 2003 Quote to Press Santorum, Then Proceeds to Misquote Him

In a Wednesday interview with up-and-coming GOP candidate Rick Santorum, CNN's John King dug up a "controversial" 2003 interview Santorum had with the AP and then proceeded to misquote him on the matter of homosexuality.

The AP reporter who had then questioned Santorum was Lara Lakes Jordan – whose husband Jim Jordan managed John Kerry's presidential campaign later that year. King never mentioned any possibility of a conflict of interest there, but used Santorum's "controversial" answer on the question of homosexuality as an example of what Democrats hail as his "extreme" conservatism.

King began by telling the candidate "A lot of Democrats were celebrating" over his success in Iowa, adding "in their view, you're on the extreme right on many of these social issues and they think, for them, it's a good thing that these issues will be front and center."

What "extreme" position was Santorum pushing? In his answer to Jordan, he explained how marriage was nothing else than the "bond between a man and a woman."

"Monogamous relationships, in every society, the definition of marriage has not ever, to my knowledge, included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know. Man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be, it is one thing."

[Video below.]





King pounced on this answer, claiming that Santorum had compared homosexual behavior to bestiality and bigamy. Santorum fired back that King had misquoted him.

"Read the quote," he told King. "I said it's not. It is not. I didn't say it is. I said it's not."

The two went on to discuss Santorum's beliefs on homosexuality and contraception, and if he hold to different beliefs as a president than as a senator.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on January 4 at 6:12 p.m. EST, is as follows:

[6:12]

KING: A lot of Democrats were celebrating, if you will, Senator Santorum, last night, saying in their view, you're on the extreme right on many of these social issues and they think, for them, it's a good thing that these issues will be front and center.

One of the remarks you have made in the past, and you know this, that comes up from time to time because a lot of people think it's quite controversial – you were talking about same-sex marriage. You were talking about a Texas case making its way through the courts, sodomy laws, back in early 2003.

You said this to the Associated Press: "Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. Why? Because society is based on one thing - that society is based on the future of the society. And that's what? Children. Monogamous relationships, in every society, the definition of marriage has not ever, to my knowledge, included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know. Man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be, it is one thing."

There are a lot of people who are saying, whoa, how do you connect that, homosexual behavior, to bestiality? And you went on in that interview to talk about bigamy. How do you connect those dots?

SANTORUM: Head on one sec – hold on a second, John. Read the quote. I said it's not. It is not. I didn't say it is. I said it's not. I – I – you know, I don't – I'm trying to understand what – what – what you're trying to make the point. I said it's not those things. I didn't connect them. I specifically excluded them.

KING: You specifically exclude them. You have said that you have no problem with homosexuality –

SANTORUM: I said it's not.

KING: - you have problems with homosexual acts. So if a man loves a man or a woman loves a woman, you're fine with that as long as what?

SANTORUM: Well, my – my – as you know, my Catholic faith teaches that to – that it's actions that are - that - that are the problems, not - not necessarily someone's feelings. And that's – I was reflecting Catholic teaching on the subject, and, I think, basically Christian teaching on the subject, that – that one can have desires to do things which we believe are wrong, but it's when you act out those things that that is a problem.

And – and I was simply reflecting that - that opinion and that – that belief structure that I happen to hold as a Catholic.

KING: And as a president, should you reflect that, in the case you have said that contraception is dangerous?

SANTORUM: Yeah, I - I think both in the case of the "Lawrence v. Texas" case, which was the sodomy case, as well as the contraceptive case, what I've said is both of those laws I would not have voted for. I don't believe that everything that is immoral should be illegal. The government doesn't have a role to play in everything that, you know, that either people of faith or no faith think are wrong or immoral. That was one. And I said it at the time, that I wouldn't have voted for the Texas sodomy law that was in place nor would I vote to – to ban contraception, even though I think that, as a - as a Catholic who – the Catholic Church teaches that contraception is wrong, I would not do it myself.

KING: And so help me understand this, as a member of the House and a member of the Senate you're voting - and your constituents reflect it. And this is the president. You're president of the entire nation. How would you be different, as a president, than you were as a senator, on these issues, if at all?

SANTORUM: Again, I didn't vote for – for any kind of ban on contraception nor did I vote for any ban on sodomies and – and – and nor would I as president. So if that's - if that's the question you're asking, what I've – what I said was that - that in this whole case, that I thought the Supreme Court was wrong in making a constitutional right. And that was the discussion. It wasn't about my – my belief on the - on the underlying law, which I said I wouldn't have supported.


- Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center