Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum

Part of a series on 2012 Republican Presidential Primary. [View Related Entries]

Updated Dec 11, 2012 at 10:46PM EST by Brad.  

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About

Rick Santorum (born May 10, 1958) is an American lawyer and a former Republican congressman who served in the U.S. House of Representatives (1991-1995) and the U.S. Senate (1995-2007). He also ran for the Republican presidential campaign and rose to the runner-up place behind Mitt Romney before announcing the suspension of his campaign in April 2012.

Online History

Santorum’s official website RickSantorum.com[1] was registered on January 13th, 2003. The official @RickSantorum[10] Twitter account has 72,349 followers, and the official Rick Santorum Facebook[11] fan page has 63,864 likes as of January 6th, 2012. Several parody Twitter accounts have been created including @RickSantorumPR[20], @RickSantorumUSA[21] and @RickySantorum.[22]

Santorum Smear Campaign

On April 7th, 2003, Santorum expressed that he believed homosexual sex should be government regulated similar to the way bestiality, incest and child molestation are restricted in an interview with the Associated Press.[6] After drawing harsh criticism from the press and various civil rights groups, sex advice columnist Dan Savage organized an open contest for people to come up with a definition for the word “santorum” that the Republican senator would find offensive, and the winner was announced on June 12th.

santorum (san-TOR-um) n.
1. The frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter
that is sometimes the by-product of anal sex.

The single serving website Spreading Santorum[7], dedicated to spreading the contest definition, eventually became the top Google result for the search query “santorum” after a successful Googlebombing campaign.



The website Santorum Exposed[19] was created on January 25th, 2005 and proclaims that its mission is to bring attention to Santorum’s “extreme positions, failed policies, background, agenda and hypocritical statements.”

2012 Republican Presidential Primary

On June 6th, 2011, Santorum formally announced he would be running for nomination in the 2012 Republican presidential primary election during an appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America.

In December of 2011, the social media analytics firm Socialbakers released an infographic containing Facebook fan page stats for each of the candidates. Mashable[23] reported on the findings on January 3rd, pointing out that Santorum trailed behind former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney 800,000 fans. Based on video view counts comparing the various presidential candidates provided by YouTube Politics[24], Santorum related video views rank just above Michelle Bachmann in last place from December 8th, 2011 to January 6th, 2012.

On January 3rd, Santorum came in 2nd in the Iowa Caucus with Mitt Romney taking 1st place by an 8 vote margin.

Primaries & Campaign Suspension

On February 7th, 2012, Santorum won three states defeating then front-runner Mitt Romney in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado.



On February 9th, The Daily Dot[25] published an article revealing that Santorum’s social media accounts saw a significant boost following the primary wins. In 24 hours the official Rick Santorum Facebook page received 10,000 new likes while Mitt Romney’s page received only 5,000. According to the Twitter analytics site Topsy Labs[26], there were 40,000 tweets mentioning Santorum and 34,000 mentioning Romney on Feburary 7th.



On April 10th, Rick Santorum formally announced the suspension of his presidential campaign after disappointing primary results in March that furthered the gap with the front-runner Mitt Romney.



Single Topic Blogs

The single topic Tumblr blog “Fear Rick’s Vest”[4], dedicated to the various sweater vests Santorum often wears, was created on December 20th, 2012. It was subsequently mentioned in an article on CNN[5] titled “Fear Rick’s Vest: Santorum’s sweaters go viral” on January 4th, 2012. The official @FearRicksVest[3] Twitter account accumulated over 800 followers in less than a month.



The “Fuck No Rick Santorum” Tumblr blog was created as a counter-part to the Feminist Ryan Gosling single topic image macro blog on January 5th, 2012. The photos of Santorum are typically captioned with the “hey girl” catchphrase followed by anti-feminist and socially conservative political opinions.



Other single topic Tumblr blogs about Santorum include Fuck Yeah Rick Santorum[29], Rick Santorum On People’s Nipples[30], I Hope Rick Santorum[31], Santorama[32] and OriginalSintorum.[33] There is also a parody Tumblr supposedly curated from the former congressman’s perspective, That Santorum Guy.[28] Additional images and text posts can be found on the #santorum[14] and Rick Santorum[27] tags.

Gay Porn Mosaic

On February 21st, 2012, gay culture blog Unicorn Booty[34] posted a photo mosaic of Rick Santorum made up of hundreds of photos of gay porn. Submitted by a straight couple, Stephen and Vanessa, the photo was shared on Buzzfeed[35], Gawker[36] and Reddit[37] that day. Best Week Ever[38], New York Magazine[39] and Salon[40] shared the image on the 22nd. On March 6th, Santorama[32] shared a counter mosaic of two men kissing made up of photos of Santorum[41], where it received over 10,000 notes in 24 hours.

On Twitter

Sentiment analysis of tweets[43] about Rick Santorum have generally been joyful, followed by tweets containing surprise or anger. After the Michigan and Arizona primaries, the peak in joyful tweets was paired with Santorum’s losses[44], possibly suggesting that some people may have been excited by the news of his defeats. After Santorum won three states on Super Tuesday, there was another peak in joyful tweets.[45] Many of these also mentioned Obama, showing that Twitter users saw Santorum’s wins as states that will be easily won by democrats.



Reputation

Political Beliefs

Santorum is considered both a social and fiscal conservative. In foreign policy, Santorum has criticized Obama for not doing enough to block Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Santorum has proposed if elected, he would pressure Iran to open its facilities for international inspection and if the Iranian leadership did not comply, he would take military actions to bomb the weapons sites. In regard to energy and environment policies, he is known for skepticism towards the mainstream scientific opinion on climate change and has said that global warming is a “beautifully concocted scheme” by the political left and “an excuse for more government control of your life.”

Porn Ban Pledge

On July 9th, 2011, Yahoo News[12] published an article about Santorum’s pledge that he supports banning both same-sex marriage and pornography.

The vow asks candidates to affirm a pro-marriage stance, oppose same-sex unions, defines homosexuality as a “choice” (stating there is no empirical scientific proof that being gay is genetic), and notes that marriage is undermined by adulterous factors like quickie divorces and pornography.

On January 5th, 2012, the story resurfaced on the /r/politics subreddit and reached the front page accumulating over 13,000 up votes within 24 hours and inspiring the creation of several image macros.



Related Media

Images



Videos

Personal Life

Santorum lives with his wife, Karen Garver Santorum, and six children in Penn Hills, Pennsylvania. He received a a BA in political science from Pennsylvania State in 1980, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh in 1981 and a JD from the Dickinson School of Law in 1986. According to Bloomberg Businessweek[15], Santorum earned US$1.3 million from January of 2010 to August of 2011 with $217,385 coming from the Ethics and Public Policy Center[16], $142,500 from the American energy company Consol Energy[17] and $395,414 from Fortune 500 company Universal Health Services.[18]

On March 6th, 2012, Karen Santorum gave her first interview with a television news station about her husband and his personal life. During the interview, she shares the story of how they met and explains that, though Rick is known for his moral opposition to birth control and abortion, he “completely supports well-educated career women.”



Birth Tragedy

On April 18th, 2005, The Washington Post[9] reported that after the Santorum family had taken their stillborn son, Gabriel Michael Santorum, home with them after he did not survive his premature birth.

Upon their son’s death, Rick and Karen Santorum opted not to bring his body to a funeral home. Instead, they bundled him in a blanket and drove him to Karen’s parents’ home in Pittsburgh. There, they spent several hours kissing and cuddling Gabriel with his three siblings, ages 6, 4 and 1 1/2. They took photos, sang lullabies in his ear and held a private Mass.

Rick Santorum’s wife, Karen Santorum, wrote the book Letters to Gabriel: The True Story of Gabriel Michael Santorum afterwards which was published on April 9th, 1998.

On January 2nd, 2012, a thread was posted to 4chan’s /pol (politics) board regarding the event and was subsequently archived on Chanarchive.[8]

Search Interest

References

[1]RickSantorum.com – Rick Santorum for President

[2]Google – Search Results for Santorum

[3]Twitter – Rick’s Sweater Vest

[4]Tumblr – Fear Ricks Vest

[5]CNNSantorum’s sweaters go viral

[6]AP – Santorum under fire for comments on homosexuality

[7]Santorum.com – Spreading Santorum

[8]Chanarchive – RICK SANTORUM TOOK DEAD BABY HOME TO MEET FAMILY (nsfw)

[9]The Washington Post – Father First, Senator Second

[10]Twitter – @RickSantorum

[11]Facebook – Rick Santorum

[12]Yahoo News – Santorum Joins Bachmann, Pledges to Ban Porn, Same-Sex Marriages

[13]Reddit – Rick Santorum pledges to ban all forms of pornography

[14]Tumblr – #santorum

[15]Bloomberg Businessweek – Santorum Becomes Millionaire in Six Years After U.S. Senate Loss

[16]EPPCEthics and Public Policy Center

[17]Consol Energy – CONSOL Energy

[18]UHSINCUniversal Health Services

[19]Santorum Exposed – Santorum Exposed

[20]Twitter – RickSantorumPR

[21]Twitter – RickSantorumUSA

[22]Twitter – RickySantorum

[23]Mashable – "":http://mashable.com/2012/01/03/presidential-candidates-social-media/

[24]YouTube – politics Channel

[25]The Daily Dot – Rick Santorum can count a victory on Facebook, too

[26]Topsy – Santorum Twitter Analytics

[27]Tumblr – posts tagged “Rick Santorum”

[28]Tumblr – The Courage to Fight For America

[29]Tumblr – Fuck Yeah Rick Santorum

[30]Tumblr – Rick Santorum ON People’s Nipples

[31]Tumblr – i hope rick santorum

[32]Tumblr – Santorama

[33]Tumblr – OriginalSintorum

[34]Unicorn Booty – OMG! A Rick Santorum Portrait Made Entirely of Gay Porn! (NSFW-ish)

[35]Buzzfeed – Rick Santorum’s Face Made Out Of Gay Porn

[36]Gawker – Rick Santorum Made Entirely of Gay Porn

[37]Reddit – A Photo of Rick Santorum made entirely of gay porn [SFW] [x/post r/pics]

[38]Best Week Ever – Internet Comes Through With Rick Santorum Portrait Made Out Of Gay Porn

[39]New York Magazine – Someone, Probably Satan, Made a Portrait of Rick Santorum Out of Gay Porn

[40]Salon – A very pornographic Rick Santorum

[41]Santorama – HA!!

[42]CBS News – Santorum’s private side, through wife’s eyes

[43]LA Times – Election 2012 Mood Meter

[44]LA Times – Rick Santorum loses Arizona and Michigan; did Twitter predict it?

[45]LA Times – Rick Santorum victories puzzle many on Twitter, delight others

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