Rick Santorum likes to bill himself as the strongest and most reliable conservative in the Republican presidential race, and he isn't backing down even though he is generating more controversy than ever.
In fact, after his big victories last weekend in the nominating contests of Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri, there is growing interest in Santorum's views. The former Pennsylvania senator has been speaking freely, to the delight of activists and voters on the right and to the distress of many liberals. He issued another conservative call to arms at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington Friday.
Santorum stirred the pot when he told CNN Thursday that he has doubts about women serving in combat. "I want to create every opportunity for women to be able to serve this country," he said, "...but I do have concerns about women in front-line combat."
Santorum added: "I think that could be a very compromising situation, where people naturally may do things that may not be in the interest of the mission because of other types of emotions that are involved. It already happens, of course, with the camaraderie of men in combat but I think it would be even more unique if women were in combat and I think that's not in the best interests of men, women or the mission."
Santorum is emphasizing his conservative views on other social issues, such as his opposition to abortion, his rejection of same-sex marriage and his strict views on illegal immigration. He opposes President Obama's effort to require Catholic hospitals, colleges and other institutions (but not churches) to offer birth-control services that Catholic doctrine holds are sinful. He says it's a matter of religious liberty, a position shared by many on the right.