The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller
DES MOINES, IA - OCTOBER 22:  Republican Presidential Candidate Ron Paul speaks to a gathering of conservative Christians at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition Presidential Forum on October 22, 2011 in Des Moines, Iowa. Candidates Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum are scheduled to speak at the event, all hoping to gain support of the roughly 1000 in attendance in front of the January 3, 2012 Iowa caucus.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) DES MOINES, IA - OCTOBER 22: Republican Presidential Candidate Ron Paul speaks to a gathering of conservative Christians at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition Presidential Forum on October 22, 2011 in Des Moines, Iowa. Candidates Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum are scheduled to speak at the event, all hoping to gain support of the roughly 1000 in attendance in front of the January 3, 2012 Iowa caucus. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)  

Santorum responds to Paul-supporting nephew: ‘It’s a phase’

BRENTWOOD, NH – At his first event in the Granite State since the Iowa caucuses, Rick Santorum said his Ron Paul-loving nephew is just going through “a phase.”

The former Pennsylvania senator was criticized by his 19-year old nephew John Garver, a supporter of Texas Rep. Ron Paul, in an op-ed published earlier this week by The Daily Caller.

“If you want another big government politician who supports the status quo to run our country, you should vote for my uncle Rick Santorum,” wrote Garver. (RELATED: The trouble with my uncle, Rick Santorum)

“I love my nephew,” a smiling Santorum said Wednesday night when asked about the op-ed. “I have 35 nieces and nephews, so one out of 35 is pretty good as far as I’m concerned.”

“He’s a Ron Paul supporter, God bless him,” he continued. “I mean, it’s a phase. I understand it. And so we all go through those things. God bless Johnny, it’s wonderful.”

Later, when discussing the 10th Amendment with another questioner, Santorum stated unequivocally that he is “not a libertarian.”

“I’m a conservative,” he said. “I am a Reagan conservative. I am not a libertarian. And the people who are calling me a big government guy are libertarians.”

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