Am I being too conspiratorial wondering why Rick Perry is talking about Rick Santorum being Catholic on the campaign trail in South Carolina?
FLORENCE, SC — Speaking to media during an impromptu press conference Tuesday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry twice mentioned rival Rick Santorum’s Catholic faith in criticizing his record on fiscal issues.
“Rick Santorum is a good man, he is a good father, he’s a good Catholic,” Perry, an evangelical Christian, said. “But he hasn’t always been a good conservative.”
The casual but twice-repeated remark — the first time that Perry has publicly pointed to his rival’s faith — attracted the attention of journalists because both men are competing to win evangelical voters in the final days before the South Carolina primary.
I have defended Perry on related issues before and am grateful to him for being a defender of religious freedom at the debates and I am suspicious of being overly suspicious — but candidates ought to be overly cautious in this area. No need to fuel bigotry stories waiting to be written or actual bigotry.