Russ Feingold: Santorum Intolerant, Extreme

Calls Santorum the “least tolerant person I’ve ever dealt with.” posted on

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Former Wisconsin senator and new Obama campaign co-chair Russ Feingold, who served in the Senate with Rick Santorum, described him as “extreme” and “hateful” in an interview with BuzzFeed today during the tour for his new book about foreign policy in the era after 9/11.

“Rick Santorum is possibly the least tolerant person I’ve ever dealt with,” Feingold said. “His attitude towards people who are different from himself is shocking.”

Feingold, who was recently named co-chair of President Obama’s re-election campaign and released a book this week titled “While America Sleeps” about his view of post-9/11 U.S. foreign policy, also weighed in on the other Republican candidates.

“I think it’s a weak field and they’ve embarrassed themselves,” he said. “Some can’t hold a position, some are extreme and hateful. The President is lucky that he’s got a field there that is pretty weak.”

They’re particularly weak on non-domestic matters, Feingold says, perpetuating his argument that the country’s foreign policy after 9/11 has become simplistic and too focused on Iran.

“They’re all people who don’t have a serious concern about foreign policy,” Feingold said. “Almost all of them are using this jingoistic attempt to make Barack Obama look weak with regard to Iran.”

“All we can do is talk about one thing at a time,” Feingold added. “We need to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.”

Feingold also discussed his new role with the Obama campaign, stressing that he wouldn’t be involved with the new pro-Obama super PAC, which he disapproves of.

“I will do whatever they reasonably ask me to do,” he said. “I’m not going to be involved in helping them with some aspects of fundraising,” meaning the super PAC. “I think he should stay away from the super PAC.”

As for the argument that since the Republican candidates all have super PACs, Obama should, too, for competitive reasons: “This isn’t a club. This is a democracy.”

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