In NH, Rick Santorum Takes Exception To Priest Sex Abuse Question

By Jon Keller, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – It wasn’t all cheering on Rick Santorum’s first full day back in New Hampshire. The candidate got into a testy exchange with students over gay marriage.

And then there was his conversation with WBZ political analyst Jon Keller. Santorum took exception to a question Jon asked him about his views on the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, which broke wide open ten years ago this week.

It was the capper to a day that reminded Santorum, if he needed reminding, that he isn’t in Iowa anymore.

WBZ-TV’s Jon Keller Is At Large

Arch-conservative Iowa Republicans just loved Rick Santorum.

But New Hampshire is not Iowa, as Santorum discovered when he equated gay marriage with polygamy before a college crowd in Concord Thursday.

Not too many new supporters won over here, it seems.

Later, before a friendlier crowd in Windham, Santorum felt comfortable mocking the notion that he’s too far right for the locals.

But we wondered: What would New Hampshire think of Santorum’s decade-old claim that Boston-style liberalism, “lies at the center of the Catholic priest sex-abuse scandal?”

“I’ve already answered this question a hundred times,” said Santorum. “Come on, what games are you guys playing? I’ve answered that question a hundred times.”

And sure enough, he has recently reaffirmed that position, without explaining how the 14 priests from the Manchester, New Hampshire diocese accused of abuse were also infected with that alleged liberal poison.

In his original comments, Santorum argued that priests are not immune to popular culture, that seminaries had been contaminated by cultural permissiveness, and that, “when the culture is sick, every element in it becomes infected.” Some of New Hampshire’s 300,000 plus Catholics, even conservative ones, may well wonder why he’s said so little about the role arch-conservative church leaders like Boston’s Cardinal Law played in enabling the abuse.

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