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Rick Santorum: Top 7 culture war moments

As a senator, Rick Santorum was one of the Republican Party's best-known culture warriors. Now, as a surging presidential contender, Mr. Santorum is still leading the charge, and facing questions about some of his old, and not so old, comments. Here is a sample.

- Staff writer

President Obama signs the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010 at the Interior Department. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

2. Bring back 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

Speaking of the military... At the Sept. 22, 2011, GOP debate, a gay soldier serving in Iraq asked a question via video clip: Would the candidates “circumvent the progress” gays and lesbians have made with the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a Clinton-era policy that had barred them from serving openly?

Before Santorum could reply, some audience members booed the gay soldier. Santorum went ahead with his response. (He later explained that he didn’t hear the booing, because he was thinking about what he would say.)

His first effort at an answer left some people scratching their heads: “Any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military,” he said. Then he criticized the repeal of DADT, calling it an attempt to “inject social policy” into military policy.

“What we're doing is playing social experimentation with our military right now,” he said. “And that's tragic.”

And yes, as president, he would reinstate DADT. But he would allow gay service members who had already come out to stay in the military. Sex “should not be an issue,” he said. “Leave it alone, keep it to yourself, whether you’re a heterosexual or a homosexual.”

Mitt Romney, in contrast, has said he would not restore DADT.


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