Any publicity should be good publicity if you’re a former senator building a campaign for president and polling in the low single digits, as long as they spell your name right.
Now comes former Sen. Rick Santorum (R.,Pa.) with a possible exception to that age-old PR axiom.
Just search “Santorum” on Google, and you’ll see why.
Needless to say, no candidate for president – or anyone, really – wants to be identified with a “frothy mixture” related to anal sex. But that’s been the top search result for Santorum for about eight years, thanks to a “Google bomb” launched in 2003 by gay sex columnist Dan Savage, after Santorum compared homosexual acts to “man on dog” sex during an interview with the Associated Press. Santorum was making a classic slippery slope argument, in defense of anti-sodomy laws, that society has the right to draw legal lines defining acceptable behavior, lest chaos ensue.
This embarrassing association has received sporadic attention over the years, with a spike in (heavily redacted) news coverage during Santorum’s 2006 re-election campaign, which he lost to Sen. Bob Casey (D.Pa.)
It largely disappeared from view until Santorum started exploring a bid for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. Last week, he discussed his “Google problem” with the newspaper Roll Call and then Stephen Colbert sent it viral again Tuesday night on Comedy Central. See below: