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Politics Today: Santorum's Controversial Rhetoric, Bill O'Reilly On "SNL," And More

Tracy Bloom |
February 20, 2012 | 1:23 p.m. PST

Deputy Editor

The controversial rhetoric of Rick Santorum: With polls showing him to be the new GOP presidential frontrunner, Rick Santorum is facing increased scrutiny on the campaign trail. On Monday, Santorum found himself on the defensive over remarks made over the weekend questioning President Obama's theology. "It's about some phony ideal, some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology, but no less a theology," he told a Tea Party crowd in Ohio on Saturday. Taking a page from the Newt Gingrich playbook, Santorum blamed the media for taking his comments out of context. He claimed the comments weren't about Obama's religious beliefs, but rather the president's "extreme" environmental regulations of the Obama administration.  "I referred to it the other day,” he said Monday, “and I got criticized by some of our less than erudite members of the national press corps.”

Did Santorum Compare Obama To Hitler?: Rick Santorum also faced controversy Monday over remarks he made about World War II, which some inferred as an indirect comparison between Hitler and Obama. During a speech Sunday, Santorum compared this year's election to America's slow response while the Nazi rose to power in 1930s Germany. Said Santorum: "We think, well, you know, it'll get better. Yeah, he's a nice guy. I mean, it won't be near as bad as what we think. This will be okay. I mean, yeah, maybe he's not the best guy after a while. After a while you find out some things about this guy over in Europe who's not so good of a guy after all, but ya know what, why do we need to be involved? We'll just take care of our own problems." Santorum later denied he was comparing the president to Hitler. "It's a War World II metaphor. It's one I've used a hundred times," he said.

PayPal Cofounder Boosts Paul Super PAC With Big Donation: Billionaire Peter Thiel, cofounder of PayPal and an original investor in Facebook, donated $1.7 million to the pro-Ron Paul Super PAC Endorse Liberty in two separate donations during the month of January it was revealed Monday. The money accounted for about 75 percent of the Super Pac's $2.3 million haul for the first month of the year. Thiel also donated $900,000 to Endorse Liberty in December.

Trump Stumps For Romney: With a little over a week to go until the Michigan and Arizona primaries, Donald Trump is hitting the (radio) airwaves to spread his pro-Romney, anti-Santorum message. The two have not been seen together on the campaign trail since Trump endorsed Romney before the Nevada caucuses earlier this month. This week however, Trump will do a series of interviews in Romney's home state of Michigan this week, ABC News reported. The latest Public Policy Polling poll shows Romney trailing Santorum by four percentage points, 37 percent to 33 percent. A loss in Michigan, where Romney grew up and where his father was once governor, would be seen as a major blow to his campaign to become the Republican presidential nominee.

O'Reilly Makes "Saturday Night Live" Appearance: Fox News' Bill O'Reilly made an appearance on "SNL" this week, playing - who else - himself. The "O'Reilly Factor" host appeared in one of the show's recurring sketches, "What's Up With That?" and - surprise! - he was actually (kind of) funny! O'Reilly was on what was billed as "The President's Day" edition of "What's Up With That?"," where he was supposed to promote his book "Killing Lincoln." Of course, as is the point of the skit, O'Reilly didn't get much talking time, a rarity for him. (Sidenote: perhaps he agreed to be on the show when he was told he would be seated next to Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover girl Kate Upton?) Still, he made the most of the time he was given. Check it out:



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

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