Rick Santorum

U.S. Senator

Born: 10 May 1958
Birthplace: Winchester, Virginia
Best known as: Outspoken U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, 1995-2007

Richard John "Rick" Santorum was a United States Senator from Pennsylvania from 1995 to 2007, and a Republican candidate in the U.S. presidential election of 2012. Rick Santorum started his political life at Pennsylvania State University, where he earned his undergraduate degree in 1980. While working as an assistant to State Senator J. Doyle Corman, Santorum earned a graduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh (1981) and a law degree from the Dickinson School of Law (1986). After a short time practicing law, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and served two terms from 1991-95. He was elected to the Senate in 1994 and reelected in 2000. During his second term as a senator, Santorum rose through the ranks of his party to become chairman of the Senate Republican Conference. He gained a national spotlight as he condemned legal abortion, homosexuality and "radical" Islam, but his remarks also brought criticism from friends and foes alike. In a 2003 interview, Santorum equated homosexuality with polygamy, incest and bestiality, and said consensual homosexual sex would "undermine the fabric" of American society. In response, Seattle sex advice columnist Dan Savage invited readers to invent a new definition of the senator's surname. Savage took the winning entry and, as a malicious prank, succeeded in an effort to spread the new slang term "santorum" across Internet search engines. The definition, far too vulgar for polite conversation, became a top search result, but Santorum publicly shrugged off the joke as part of the ugliness of politics. Rick Santorum ran for re-election to the Senate in 2006, but was defeated by Democrat Bob Casey. After leaving office, Santorum promoted his 2005 book, It Takes a Family: Conservativism and the Common Good, and worked at Washington, D.C.'s Ethics and Public Policy Center, directing the Program to Promote and Protect America's Freedom. He suspended his activism in June of 2011 and announced his intention to run for president.

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Rick Santorum and his wife, Karen Garver Santorum, were married in 1990. They have seven children, 3 girls and 4 boys.

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