Most of the political fighting now is between Republicans running for president. But on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” today, presidential candidate Rick Santorum got it on with MSNBC commentator and former Democratic activist The Rev. Al Sharpton — in a friendly sort of way.
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Former Pennsylvania Sen. Santorum has said “despicable and ugly things” about President Barack Obama, Sharpton said. It’s a “little schizo” that Santorum is running for the presidency because he wants to cut back federal programs, Sharpton said.
On the other hand, he added that he didn't want to debate Santorum, because it could launch him to victory in Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses.
“I could argue with you about some of your ugly statements on the president and all of that, but that would probably help you in the primary if you and I got in an argument this morning,” Sharpton said.
Santorum’s response, laughing: “Go ahead, Al. Give it to me, Al."
Discussing his ideas for education, Santorum said, “This is just kind of a dramatic change that we need in this country, and presidents can lead on that. I’m not saying we need a federal system of education. In fact, just the opposite. I’m not saying we need federal programs necessarily to accomplish marriage. But we need a president who can talk about those things.”
Sharpton then responded, “How do you do it if the federal government is not going to do it? And I might remind you, you’re running to be the head of the federal government. So how are you against something that you’re running to be in charge of?”
Santorum retorted, “Yeah, that’s the difference between you and me, Al.”
The former senator said that his experience in Washington with national security issues and his record at home would make him a better president than Obama. He noted that his experience as a two-term senator actually exceeds what the president accomplished before taking office.
"I didn't serve two years in the United States Senate before I ran for president, I served 12 years," Santorum said. He has rocketed up to third place in a CNN/Time magazine poll of the Iowa caucuses – trailing only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. Santorum attributed the newfound popularity to his staunch conservative platform.
"There are no surprises,” he said. You know I've got a strong consistent, conservative record.”
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