(CNN) – Former Republican Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum appears unfazed by a Fox News decision to suspend him as a contributor while he mulls a presidential run.
In his first media appearance since the suspension, Santorum told CNN's John King on Wednesday, "I think they made their call and I respect it."
Brett Baier, the anchor of Fox News' Special Report, announced on-air Wednesday that the suspension of Santorum and fellow Fox contributor and presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich was effective immediately and for 60 days "unless they notify Fox that they are not running for president." Their contracts will be terminated on May 1 if they decide to run.
Santorum, who said the company did not ask whether he was running for president, said that he has been "very up front about this, that I've been exploring it." He also opened up about his relationship with other Fox contributors who are likely contenders for the GOP 2012 presidential nomination.
"Even though there's a rivalry, there's a camaraderie that comes with it," Santorum said of his interactions with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Speaking about his terms as a congressman and senator, Santorum touted his conservative values and experience on issues such as national security and controlling government spending, indicating the latter showed his alignment with the Tea Party movement.
"I've been a consistent conservative on all the issues I think people care about when it wasn't cool to do that," he said. "I was out there fighting the reform battles that a lot of the Tea Party people are fighting right now."
He also defended a statement he made during a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last month, in which he criticized President Obama's view of America as exceptional. During the speech, Santorum said, "The president of the United States – let's just be very clear – he doesn't think America is exceptional."
Asked about the statement by King during Wednesday's interview, Santorum said, "Look, America at points in time in our history – it's always had problems, but that doesn't make the foundational principles of America anything but exceptional."
"And so when your belief in American exceptionalism depends on how we're doing today, then you don't understand what America is all about, and you don't believe at its core America is exceptional."
From RedState.Com Editor Erick-Woods Erickson:
Two days ago on Twitter, Washington Post reporter Greg Sargent wrote, "Dear union thugs: Will you please get violent in Wisconsin already? Pretty please?" I wrote about his comment at RedState then delved more into the business of reporters taking people out of context for political points, leading to an additional post on the use of sarcasm, context, and Sargent's tweet for union violence.
Editor’s Note: The blog is a place for a freewheeling exchange of ideas and opinions. CNN does not endorse anything said by its contributors
(CNN) – Hours after his contributor arrangement was suspended by Fox News Channel, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum will appear live on CNN's "John King, USA." The show airs at 7 p.m. ET.
Santorum, who is considered a likely candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, was a contributor for Fox since 2007. Tonight's interview on CNN will be his first television appearance since his contract was suspended.
Fox News suspended Santorum's contract earlier today, and will terminate his contract on May 1 if Santorum chooses to make a bid for the presidential nomination.
Every day we ask influential politicos to send us their top three bullet points that are driving the day's conversation inside and outside Washington.
It is a very busy news day. In Libya, Colonel Gadhafi is fighting back – in words and deeds. Our correspondents report the use of Libyan jets as part of the assaults on anti-government forces, and in his latest rambling speech, the Libyan leader warned thousands would die if the United States or NATO use military force. To that end, Defense Secretary Gates in stark and simple terms explained the US reluctance to impose a no fly-zone over Libya: Gates said the first step in any plan would be to wipe out Libya’s anti-aircraft batteries to minimize risks to US pilots. Translation: a US attack on Libya as part of imposing a no-fly zone. Such a move would reverberate around the region and the world, and Secretary Gates calmly made that point as he noted the Pentagon has the ability to do it. The question, he said, is whether it is the right thing to do.
On the domestic front, a significant day at FOX News: it suspended its contributor contracts with Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, and said those deals would be terminated May 1 unless either or both pledged NOT to seek the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. Makes sense because both the former House speaker and the former Pennsylvania senator are the most active among the handful of would-be candidates on the FOX payroll. But it does beg the question: Have Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee and John Bolton given any quiet word to their boss? Also, President Obama is looking to take ownership of the next round of spending negotiations. The Senate passed the short term plan to keep the government running for two more weeks. Within minutes, the president called for congressional leaders to enter into negotiations led by his top deputies, including Vice President Biden. The White House does not want a shutdown, and clearly hopes to recreate the model that led to the tax-cut compromise last year.
Erick and Jane help us out today, and focus – from different ends on the ideological spectrum – on a mix of domestic policy and political issues. Enjoy the day. – John King.
Firedoglake.com Blogger/Founder Jane Hamsher:
RedState.Com Editor Erick-Woods Erickson:
– House Republicans caved on riders to the continuing resolution.
– Chris Christie continues to say he won't run for President, but continues acting like a man running for President.
– Ken Salazar is going to be grilled by Republicans on energy prices. When George Bush was President, the Democrats demanded he release oil from the strategic petroleum reserve. Now? Crickets.