Santorum: ‘I only put on a condom once, to see what it was like, but never used it’
The tumultuous Republican presidential contest took another strange turn, with a Catholic priest claiming that Rick Santorum confessed to violating Church doctrine by using birth control. Appearing behind a dark screen on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show, the anonymous priest told viewers that Mr. Santorum made his startling admission on a recent Sunday.
“I knew it was him because I could see his sweater vest through a peephole I drilled in the confession booth,” he said, using a voice distorter that simulated a deep Irish brogue. “He confessed to buying a box of condoms. I told him to say three Hail Marys and to sit in a tub of ice water.”
A spokesman for the Santorum campaign lambasted MSNBC for airing the interview. “The liberal media has no respect for the right to privacy,” he said. “What goes on behind closed doors is nobody’s business—unless it involves a same-sex couple or man on dog sex.”
Mr. Santorum’s political rivals pounced on the story. Mitt Romney posted a statement on his campaign website designed to further the controversy. “I find it suspicious that I produced five children without using birth control, while Senator Santorum has produced seven offspring with it. The news media might want to investigate whether Rick is using performance enhancing drugs.”
Newt Gingrich weighed in before speaking at a Promise Keepers convention in Texas. “I am appalled that Senator Santorum would disregard his faith in such a fundamental way,” Mr. Gingrich told reporters. “I just want to assure everyone that Callista and I have never used birth control, even during our affair.”
In answering questions about whether his extramarital affairs should disqualify him from judging the indiscretions of others, Mr. Gingrich was dismissive. “That was before I became a Catholic, so it doesn’t count.”
Not all the fallout from the scandal has been critical of Mr. Santorum. The Gay Men’s Health Crisis named him their Man of the Year, for promoting safe sex. And former presidential candidate John Edwards issued a statement praising his former Senate colleague.
“I applaud Rick’s example,” Mr. Edwards said. “If I had used a condom during my presidential campaign I would be better off today.”
In an attempt to put the scandal behind him Mr. Santorum held a press conference in Michigan. Standing in front of a fertility clinic, his wife by his side, the candidate choked back tears.
“There has been only one perfect person to have ever walked this earth,” Mr. Santorum said, making a reference to President Ronald Reagan. “We are all sinners, and I succumbed to the temptation of the flesh by buying a box of condoms. While this was an inexcusable act, I only put on a condom once, to see what it was like, but never used it.”
Afterwards the Santorum campaign pledged to donate the unused condoms to underprivileged youth, for use as water balloons.
Despite Mr. Santorum’s words of contrition the controversy continues to make news. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called for an investigation into whether campaign funds were used to purchase the condoms, and Rush Limbaugh has taken to calling the candidate Rick Sintorum.
President Obama is trying to stay above the fray, with White House press secretary Jay Carney telling reporters that the president would not comment on the Santorum scandal. Later on the president issued a press release, announcing plans for a 100 million dollar pilot program to ensure that all registered Republicans have access to free vasectomies.