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Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum dismissed the contents of a flyer attacking his wife on Thursday. Copies of the flyer- which also challenged Santorum’s pro-life credentials – appeared on car windshields outside of a pro-life forum for the presidential candidates held on Wednesday evening in Greenville, S.C.

(To view the flyer, click here and here. To read its text, click here).

“It’s ugly, it’s cheap, it’s tawdry,” Santorum told BuzzFeed while campaigning in Mount Pleasant, S.C. “It has no relationship to the issues at hand in this race, and we’re gonna treat it just like the ridiculous stuff that you see where you treat it for the value it is, which is zero.”

The flyer – a copy of which was obtained exclusively by FITS late Wednesday- attacked Santorum’s wife, Karen Santorum, for a six-year romantic relationship that she had with an abortion doctor in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania back in the early 1980s. It also called into question whether Santorum was genuinely pro-life, accusing him of “time and again (endorsing) pro-abortion Republicans who work to defeat any efforts by Congress to save the lives of the unborn.”

“The sad part is that you see a lot of negativity, you see a lot of folks who are just being hurtful on a variety of things. That’s the ugly side of politics and it’s not one that I’m going to pay frankly any attention to,” Santorum added.

Various 2012 campaigns have been pointing the finger at each other in the wake of the attack – and while most of the fingers were pointed in the direction of operatives loyal to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, it’s not clear at this point who bears responsibility.

This website has made no bones about its contempt for Santorum, but we’ve also defended him when we felt that he was being unfairly attacked – as he clearly is in this instance. A candidate’s views on an issue are obviously fair game for criticism, but this attack strikes us as emblematic of the sort of “dirty trick” for which South Carolina is famous.

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