On Sunday's Face the Nation, CBS's Bob Schieffer interrogated Rick
Santorum over his offensive against President Obama, particularly over
the Republican candidate's "theology" attack on the President's
environmental policies. Schieffer seemed to channel a certain former
MSNBC anchor when he asked, "I've got to ask you, what in the world were you talking about, sir?" [audio clips available here ]
The anchor led his program with an outline of his criticism of Santorum, focusing on three recent comments from the GOP presidential candidate: "Did you hear what Rick Santorum said?...In one twenty-four-hour-period, he questioned the President's religious beliefs....said prenatal testing is really just the President's way to reduce costs in taking care of the disabled....and questioned the value of public schools....We'll ask him about all of it this morning..."
Just under a day later, on Monday's CBS This Morning, political correspondent Jan Crawford pointed out how both the media and the Obama campaign misconstrued the former Pennsylvania senator's remark:
CRAWFORD: Over the weekend, for the first time, the [Obama] campaign took direct aim at that new frontrunner, Santorum- hitting him hard for something he didn't really even say....many in the media reported that Santorum was somehow suggesting the President wasn't a Christian, and the Obama campaign, trying to typecast Santorum as an extremist, pounced.....On 'Face the Nation' Sunday, Santorum said he wasn't talking about Obama's religious faith, but his liberal ideology.
Once Santorum answered Schieffer's initial "sir" question, the veteran anchor pressed ahead and asked, "How does that translate into some sort of theology that the President's theology is not based on the Bible? I mean, that suggests that he's not a Christian." The Republican replied, in part, that he "wasn't suggesting that President's not a Christian," and attacked the Democrat's left-wing environmental policy as "an attempt...to centralize power and to give more power to the government." The CBS journalist, however, came back and claimed that the candidate's "use of the word 'theology,' perhaps...might lead some people to suggest that you were questioning the President's faith."
Later in the interview, Schieffer ripped Santorum's criticism of ObamaCare's mandate for prenatal testing: "Senator, do you not want any kind of prenatal testing? I mean, would we just turn our back on science that this is something that expectant mothers should not go through, that it's best not to know about these things ahead of time? I mean is that what you're saying here?"
When the former senator pointed out that some prenatal testing are "used for the purposes of identifying children who are disabled, and in most cases, end up as a result with abortions," the CBS host followed up by asking, "you're not saying that the cause of this, that the President looks down on disabled people, are you? You're not accusing him of that?" Santorum answered by spotlighting the President's own record from before 2008: