‘N.Y. Times’ Sunday Preview: Rick Santorum Cover Profile

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By: E&P Staff

In a lengthy New York Times Magazine profile to be published Sunday, Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) is billed on the cover, hands clasped together, as “The Senator From A Place Called Faith.”

Inside, Sean Reilly, a former aide to Santorum, tells writer Michael Sokolove, “Rick Santorum is a Catholic missionary.”

Sokolove also recalls a little-known Santorum quote from 2002 when he called George W. Bush “the first Catholic president,” bypassing John F.Kennedy, who he felt had put too much distance between his faith and his political actions.

The article does not dwell at length on Santorim’s controversial views of gay marriage, but when the writer asks him if he feels gay marriage threatens his own marriage, he answers quickly: “Yes, absolutely. It threatens my marriage. It threatens all marriages. It threatens the traditional values of this country.”

The article pictures Republicans, and Karl Rove in particular, being “desperate” to re-elect Santorium next year. He’s facing a tough fight and currently trails in polls. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) says wherever he goes in the country people ask him, “Can we beat Santorum?”

Sokolove cites praise for Santorium from one Democratic colleague, Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), but quotes another unnamed Democratic Senator: “I’m shocked to see him in leadership, because of his comportment and general disdain for everybody else.”

Santorum, who has six children, portrays himself as living “paycheck to paycheck” on his Senate salary. The article brings up the fact that the state is looking into making him repay some of the more than $70,000 he has received from the state and a Pittsburgh-area school district for the home-schooling of his children, because he lives in Virginia fulltime.

It also mentions the Santorums receiving a large malpractice award in 1999, despite his “vocal” criticism of such awards. The Santorums received $175,000, but had asked for half a million dollars. Santorum explains that in his case the suit “was not frivolous.”

Sokolove also reveals that Santorum recently organized a study group for Catholics in congress, run by a local priest–but only Republicans have been invited to join.

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