Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum took a page from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's playbook on Friday and lashed out at CBS News for asking him about a major supporter who dismissed the need for contraception by saying women could put an aspirin "between their knees."
"This is someone who is a supporter of mine and I'm not responsible for every comment a supporter of mine makes," the candidate told CBS host Charlie Rose. "It was a bad joke. It was a stupid joke. It's not reflective of me or my record on this issue. ... This is the same gotcha politics that you get from the media."
"Nobody said you were responsible," Rose explained. "They said, how would you characterize it and what had you said to him, not that you were responsible? It's to understand how you differ from what this person said."
"This is what you guys do," Santorum charged. "You don't do this with President Obama. In fact with President Obama, what you did was you went out and defended him against someone who he sat in a church for -- for 20 years -- and defended him that, 'Oh, he can't possibly believe what he listened to for 20 years.'"
"It's a double standard," he continued. "This is what you're pulling off, and I'm going to call you on it."
Rose noted that as late as last October, the former Pennsylvania senator had said birth control was "not OK"
"One of the things that I will talk about that no president has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the sexual libertine idea and many in the Christian faith have said, you know contraception is OK," Santorum told Caffeinated Thoughts at the time. "It’s not OK because it’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be."
While the candidate did not deny that statement, he told Rose that his "public policy" belief was that birth control should be available.
"I've also supported abstinence-based education because I believe that is a healthier alternative," he added. "I've been a very strong promoter of that. I think that premarital sex and particularly sex with young girls is a very dangerous and at-risk behavior ... I do stand behind the idea that abstinence is the best alternative and I've support that with a program called Title XX within the government."
Gingrich has also made an art form out of attacking the media throughout his presidential campaign.
During a CNN-hosted debate in January, the Georgia Republican blasted moderator John King for asking if his second wife, Marianne, was telling the truth when she claimed he had asked for an “open marriage.”
That performance is largely credited for helping him to win the South Carolina primary.