Rick Santorum attempted to explain his vote for former President George W. Bush's hallmark "No Child Left Behind" education reform package at the GOP debate in Arizona on Wednesday, admitting that he had supported the bill despite it being against his personal beliefs.

"I have to admit, I voted for that, it was against the principles I believed in, but you know, when you're part of the team, sometimes you take one for the team, for the leader, and I made a mistake," Santorum said, to groans from the audience. "You know, politics is a team sports, folks, and sometimes you've got to rally together and do something, and in this case I thought testing and finding out how bad the problem was wasn't a bad idea."

The Associated Press reports that Ron Paul took the opportunity to swipe at Santorum -- as he did throughout the night -- repeating his claim that Santorum was a "fake" conservative.

"I don't accept that form of government," Paul said of Santorum's willingness to toe the party line, despite his opposition to it. "I think the obligation to all of us should be the oath of office, not the oath to the party."

As The Hill reports, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich largely danced around directly addressing the controversial standards-based education package, instead turning their ire on what they characterized as the selfish desires of teacher's unions.

"It's increasingly clear they care about protecting bad teachers. If you look at L.A. Unified, it is almost criminal what we do to the poorest children of America," Gingrich said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "If a foreign nation did this to our children, we would declare it an act of war because they are doing so much damage."

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