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Did Rick Santorum Really ‘Knock’ Sarah Palin for Not Attending CPAC?

“I have a feeling that she has some demands on her time..."

On the first day of her new show on Glennbeck.com, S.E. Cupp is already making news. But the criticism being poured on her first big guest -- and grabbing headlines -- may not be warranted.

During her inaugural episode of "S.E. Cupp," the conservative commentator interviewed former GOP Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. In the interview, Cupp asked Santorum about his thoughts regarding Sarah Palin turning down the keynote invitation at the annual CPAC conference. According to Politico, Santorum's response was a direct shot at the former Alaska governor:

Rick Santorum knocked Sarah Palin’s decision to skip CPAC, saying on Tuesday that she must have “business opportunities” that are keeping her from the annual conservative conference that is a showcase for potential presidential contenders.

“I have a feeling that she has some demands on her time, and a lot of them have financial benefit attached to them,” Santorum told conservative commentator S.E. Cupp, who hosts an online radio show on Glenn Beck’s website.

Santorum added that Palin has “other business opportunities” — implying her paid speeches were the former Alaska governor’s priority.

If you just read that description, the "knocked" theory sounds plausible. But is that really what happened? Not really.

Video of exchange between the two conservatives shows the conversation was about as mean-spirited as a Cupid conference. The Right Scoop describes it like this:

Sounds like to me he wasn’t ‘knocking’ her at all, but suggesting that her missing CPAC was justifiable since she’s so busy and has a large family. If anything it was just an off the cuff answer. I didn’t detect any ill-will, but of course I wasn’t looking for it like [author] Andy Barr.

Santorum is once again working his way into headlines as he considers a 2012 presidential run. He has already gotten an early jump on the 2012 Republican presidential nomination with visits to early primary and caucus states, including New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina. He's also hired two veteran GOP operatives in Iowa and one in New Hampshire.

And while Palin could soon be an opponent in the race for the GOP nomination, he showered praise on her during a recent conversation with the Associated Press.

"She's a rock star," Santorum said of Palin. "She's a megastar. You can't look at her and not think that she would have a huge impact on the nomination."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

One last thing…
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