Watch: Santorum Explains Late-Night Romney Endorsement to Leno

by | May 9, 2012 at 10:32 AM | Late Night, The Tonight Show, TV News

Rick Santorum seemed happy to be on "The Tonight Show" Tuesday night (Photo: NBC)

Rick Santorum came on “The Tonight Show” bearing a gift for Jay Leno — a sweater vest in the style Santorum made famous during his now-ended campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

Santorum wore one of the vests himself Tuesday night on “Tonight,” along with the other part of his “uniform” — his pleated khakis. And, as often happens when these politicos come on a late-night show, Santorum did not project the same stern, serious persona he displayed during the hard-fought campaign in which he strongly criticized front-runner Mitt Romney.

Of course, now that he’s out of the race, Santorum has turned right around and endorsed Romney for president — something that is also customary in election years, though it’s reasonable to be skeptical of these changes of heart. (In fact, Jimmy Kimmel was among those who were most skeptical Tuesday night. His producers strung together a series of statements Santorum made during the campaign in which he blasted Romney. The bit, styled as a new Santorum campaign commercial, aired during Kimmel’s monologue Tuesday night on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on ABC. You can watch it here, at the beginning of Tuesday’s “Kimmel.”)

To his credit, Leno asked Santorum about that, questioning the sincerity of Santorum’s Romney “endorsement,” which came in the form of an e-mail Santorum issued publicly Monday night at about 11 p.m. eastern time.

Here’s what Santorum had to say about that:

In Part Two, Leno and Santorum continued their discussion of various social issues, starting with the healthcare debate they began in Part One. Santorum made a point about government intervention in medical issues that even Jay had to concede was valid.

“Can you imagine what the ‘Tonight Show’ would look like if the government ran [it]?” Santorum asked Jay.

To which Jay replied: “I see how it looks with NBC running it, so . . .!”

Jay also questioned Santorum closely about gay marriage, which Santorum opposes. “It’s in society’s interest for moms and dads to come together and raise stable families,” Santorum said. Leno didn’t disagree with that, but he happens to be in favor of gay marriage because, as he told Santorum, he knows gay couples who provide the very same stability Santorum’s talking about.

Here’s how the discussion on healthcare and gay marriage went:

In Part Three, Leno asked Santorum to explain why the ex-candidate is against contraception. Along those same lines, Leno asked Santorum why cultural issues — such as the prevalence of pornography, for example — are so important to him. And to his credit, Santorum’s answer was food for thought.

Here’s what Santorum said about contraception, porn and society:
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