Is Rick Santorum facing a brewing 'women problem'?
Recent statements about women, and passages from his 2005 book, have put Rick Santorum on the defensive. Even within GOP ranks there are signs of a gender split.
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Or would he have one, in a general election?
Certainly not the way, say, Newt Gingrich might. Mr. Santorum has been married to the same woman for more than 20 years, and regularly talks about his devotion to her.
But increasingly, his statements about women – both in interviews and in his 2005 book, "It Takes a Family" – are raising eyebrows.
Last week, women in combat was the issue. Santorum told CNN's John King that he has "concerns" about women on the front lines, adding that "I think that can be a very compromising situation, where people naturally may do things that may not be in the interests of the mission because of other types of emotions that are involved."
IN PICTURES: Rick Santorum
Santorum later clarified that he was referring to the emotions of men, who may have emotions "when they see a woman in harm's way."
Among those who have objected to his statements is Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, whose daughter served in Iraq. “I like Rick Santorum a lot. I just disagree with any inference that he might have made that somehow women are not capable of serving in the front lines and serving in combat positions," Governor McDonnell said on CNN on Monday.
And in the past few days, Santorum has been pressed to explain some of the statements in his book – particularly the section where he wrote that, "the radical feminists succeeded in undermining the traditional family and convincing women that professional accomplishments are the key to happiness."
In an interview with ABC's George Stephanopolous, in which Mr. Stephanopolous asked him about the quote, Santorum defended himself, noting that he grew up with a working mother. He just wants women who work both inside and outside the home to feel "affirmed for the choices they make," he said.
"You say that now," Stephanopolous replied, "but you also wrote in the book that radical feminists have been making the pitch that justice demands that men and women be given an equal opportunity to make it to the top in the workplace. Isn't that something that everyone should value?"