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Rick Santorum Blasts Mitt Romney Over Voting Rights For Felons In 2012 South Carolina GOP Debate

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Rick Santorum blasted Mitt Romney over voting rights for felons during the 2012 GOP debate in South Carolina Monday. (AP photo)
Rick Santorum blasted Mitt Romney over voting rights for felons during the 2012 GOP debate in South Carolina Monday. (AP photo)

Rick Santorum schooled Mitt Romney in classic Santorum fashion during the GOP debate in South Carolina Monday night, drawing him in and pouncing. A super PAC backing Romney has been attacking Santorum for supporting restoration of voting rights to felons who have served their time. The ad implied that Santorum wanted felons who were currently in prison to vote.

Santorum put the question directly to Romney: "Do you believe that felons who have exhausted their time" should have their voting rights restored?

Romney ducked and weaved, but Santorum finally got his answer, after noting that today is Martin Luther King Day, and that the bill was called the Martin Luther King Voting Rights bill. He added that African Americans have "disproportionately high rates" of incarceration, especially with regard to drug crimes.

"I don't think people who have committed violent crimes should ever be allowed to vote," Romney said. Santorum jumped on him, noting that Massachusetts, while he was governor, had a more liberal law, allowing felons on parole and probation to vote, and that Romney had done nothing to change it.

Romney blamed the Democratic legislature.

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