Huffpost Politics

Bob McDonnell Jabs Rick Santorum On Comments About Women In Combat Roles (VIDEO)

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Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) took aim at GOP presidential Rick Santorum on Monday, over controversial comments he made last week that drew criticism for their supposed suggestion that women serving in combat roles could create "compromising situations."

"I like Rick Santorum a lot, I just disagree with any inference that he might have made that somehow women are incapable of serving in the front lines and serving in combat positions," McDonnell, a Mitt Romney supporter whose daughter served as a U.S. Army officer, said in an interview on CNN Monday.

"And I base that in part on my own daughter's own experience as a platoon leader in Iraq with 25 men working with her," he continued. "She did a great job, was in some very risky situations, and yet endured and led and I'm proud of her. So, I just wanted to make sure people didn't think that women aren't capable of doing the job. And I've got firsthand experience in saying that."

On Thursday evening, Santorum explained that he did "have concerns about women in front-line combat" after the Pentagon's release of new procedural guidelines that sought to expand roles for female troops.

"I think that could be a very compromising situation, where people naturally may do things that may not be in the interest of the mission, because of other types of emotions that are involved," Santorum said on CNN. "It already happens, of course, with the camaraderie of men in combat, but I think it would be even more unique if women were in combat, and I think that's probably not in the best interest of men, women or the mission."

He later sought to clarify his comments in an interview with NBC, claiming that he was talking about the emotions men might experience when they saw women in potential danger.

"I think it's something that's natural, that's very much in our culture to be protective, and that was my concern," Santorum said.

Despite this explanation, McDonnell took a not-so-subtle swipe at Santorum while giving a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday.

"Yes, I did get emotional, but she didn't," McDonnell told CPAC attendees of his daughter's experience taking small arms fire in Iraq. "She got the job done."

On Monday, McDonnell said he accepted Santorum's clarification, but suggested that he wasn't prepared to concede the issue entirely.

"I accept the senator's explanation," he said. "If that's what he meant, there was at least an inference to the contrary that women aren't up to speed and aren't capable of leading, and that I absolutely disagree with."

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