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Santorum Was Respectful? Not If You Ask the Audience

Santorum Was Respectful? Not If You Ask the Audience

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lucasgrindley

The man who has said gay parents are worse than convicts, who opposed the decriminalization of gay sex by the Supreme Court, and who wants to annul the marriages of same-sex couples -- Rick Santorum -- tried to paint himself today as merely having a polite disagreement with the LGBT community.

"Just because you don't agree with someone's desire to change the law, doesn't mean you don't like them or you hate them or you want to discriminate against them," he said during a debate this morning on Meet The Press, claiming that if his son were to come out then "I would love him as much as I did the second before he said it, and I would try to do everything I can to be as good a father to him as possible."

Santorum went so far in this remake of his image as to claim he's always respectful of gay rights activists, which he's previously described as on a "jihad" against him.

"You are trying to promote things that you think are best for society. And I do so, and I think if you watch the town hall meetings that I've been doing all over New Hampshire, I do so in a respectful tone," Santorum said. "I listen to the other side, I let them make their arguments."

But that's just the opposite of how those town hall meetings were described to MSNBC host Rachel Maddow by people in the audience, which was so outraged by his demeanor that it jeered the former Pennsylvania senator. People there told Maddow that the booing was not because of Santorum's views, but because of the disrespectful way he treated the audience.

One man recounted how a 17-year-old girl stood up and countered Santorum's argument against marriage equality by asking about each person's right to the pursuit of happiness. "The audience reacted very viscerally because he was just berating this girl," the man remembers, noting how Santorum interrupted her repeatedly. A woman who was there as well said Santorum was "basically calling her dumb."

Watch Maddow's interview with the audience members below.

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Lucas Grindley

Lucas Grindley is VP and Editorial Director for Here Media, which is parent company to The Advocate. His Twitter account is filled with politics, Philip Glass appreciation, and adorable photos of his twin toddler daughters.
Lucas Grindley is VP and Editorial Director for Here Media, which is parent company to The Advocate. His Twitter account is filled with politics, Philip Glass appreciation, and adorable photos of his twin toddler daughters.