CBS Highlights 'Very Conservative' Santorum's Views on Gays, Abortion & Contraception

On Friday's CBS Evening News, anchor Scott Pelley tagged Rick Santorum as the "very conservative Pennsylvania Senator" as he introduced a full report on the GOP presidential candidate's views on gay rights, abortion, and contraception, with correspondent Dean Reynolds warning that the GOP candidate's views on social issues that helped him in Iowa "have energized his opponents here in New Hampshire."

After noting a recent poll shows Santorum "coming on strong" in the Granite State since his near win in the Iowa caucuses, Pelley, applied the "very conservative" label to the Pennsylvania Republican:

The very conservative former Pennsylvania Senator is getting a lot of attention, and Dean Reynolds is chasing his campaign in New Hampshire.

Reynolds forthrightly noted that it is not Santorum who usually brings up his views on gay rights, as critics often show up at events and ask questions on the subject to which he responds. Reynolds:

That's Senator Santorum behind me on the podium now, and he's been talking up economic solutions here in New Hampshire. But over the last couple of days, virtually everywhere he goes he's getting questions about his social agenda and opposition to gay marriage. (...) The Senator rarely volunteers his views on homosexuality at campaign stops, but the crowds he addresses here regularly raise the subject.

After clips of Santorum interacting with audience members interested in his views on gay rights, the CBS correspondent recounted the Pennsylvania Republicans's opposition to abortion and contraception without elaborating on what Santorum's views are on how the law should treat these areas.

Santorum also opposes abortion, including in cases of rape. And he's spoken of the dangers of contraception or birth control as, quote, "a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be."

After asserting that "sometimes it gets heated" when he interacts with people who disgree with him, and after showing more clips of these interactions, Reynolds warned that Santorum's views on social issues could hurt him in New Hampshire:

Now, it may just be that he's in a different state. But it looks like the positions that helped Santorum win over evangelicals in Iowa have energized his opponents here in New Hampshire.

Below is a complete transcript of the report from the Friday, January 6, CBS Evening News:

SCOTT PELLEY: The GOP candidates face New Hampshire voters next Tuesday, and here's a look at today's new poll there. Mitt Romney way ahead, but Rick Santorum is coming on strong after his unexpected virtual tie with Romney this week in Iowa. Santorum is at 11 percent now, but look at this: He had just three percent this past Monday, January 2. The very conservative former Pennsylvania Senator is getting a lot of attention, and Dean Reynolds is chasing his campaign in New Hampshire. Dean?

DEAN REYNOLDS: Scott, that's Senator Santorum behind me on the podium now, and he's been talking up economic solutions here in New Hampshire. But over the last couple of days, virtually everywhere he goes he's getting questions about his social agenda and opposition to gay marriage.

FORMER SENATOR RICK SANTORUM (R-PA): Thank you so much.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Thank you, nice meeting you.

REYNOLDS: The Senator rarely volunteers his views on homosexuality at campaign stops, but the crowds he addresses here regularly raise the subject.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: You say that gay men shouldn't be able to be married, have, adopt kids, and be allowed to serve in the military.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: I have a question, too, and it's about gay people.

REYNOLDS: Today, in Keene, New Hampshire, a question was asked on whether gay people should be allowed to marry.

SANTORUM: It's discrimination to deny rights. I don't want to deny any rights to anyone. Everyone has a right to live their life. That doesn't mean that they're entitled to certain privileges that society gives for certain benefits that society obtains from those, from those relationships.

REYNOLDS: For the record, Santorum believes marriage should be between a man and a woman only.

SANTORUM: Why? Because I believe we are made that way.

REYNOLDS: Santorum also opposes abortion, including in cases of rape. And he's spoken of the dangers of contraception or birth control as, quote, "a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be." Those who raise the issues are mostly the young, and sometimes it gets heated.

SANTORUM ON STAGE: So anyone can marry anybody else?

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Yes.

SANTORUM: Okay, so anybody can marry anybody else? So anybody can marry several people?

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: No.

SANTORUM: Oh, wait a minute, whoa, whoa, whoa, stop being dicordant, or we're not going to do this.

REYNOLDS: Now, it may just be that he's in a different state. But it looks like the positions that helped Santorum win over evangelicals in Iowa have energized his opponents here in New Hampshire.