Obama adviser calls Santorum 'theology' remark 'over the line'


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A top campaign advisor for President Obama blasted comments made by Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum about the president’s religion, saying they went “well over the line.”

At a campaign event in Ohio over the weekend, Santorum told a cheering crowd that Obama is governing from a “phony theology.”

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“This is what the president's agenda is,” said Santorum at a Tea Party event on Saturday. “It's not about you. It's not about you. It's not about your quality of life. It's not about your jobs. It's about some phony ideal, some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible — different theology — but no less a theology.”

On Sunday, former Obama spokesman and now campaign advisor Robert Gibbs said Santorum’s comments were a prime example of how low the Republican race for the White House has gotten, mired in negativity.


“If you make comments like that, you make comments that are well over the line,” said Gibbs to ABC’s This Week host Jake Tapper. “I think this GOP primary, in many cases, Jake, has been a race to the bottom. We have seen nastiness, divisiveness, ugliness, distortions of opponents' records, of the president's records.”

At a press conference following the rally Santorum expanded slightly on his initial comments saying that Obama has repressed religious freedom in the U.S.


RELATED: Santorum says he accepts Obama 'is Christian'


“You may want to call it a theology, you may want to call it secular values,” said Santorum. “It is a different set of moral values that they are imposing on people who have a constitutional right to have their own values within the church.”

Gibbs on Sunday argued that Santorum’s remarks were an attempt to defame the president’s character and degrade his religious beliefs.

“It is time in our politics in which we get rid of this mindset that if we disagree, we have to disqualify each other, not just on political positions, but we question character and faith,” said Gibbs.

Santorum said that he was not trying to imply that Obama, who believes in Christianity, was less religious than himself.


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“In the Christian church there are a lot of different stripes of Christianity,” he said.

“I’m just saying he’s imposing his values on the church and I think that’s wrong.

“If the president says he’s a Christian, he’s a Christian.”

On CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday, Santorum echoed his earlier remarks, saying, "I wasn't suggesting the president is not a Christian."