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CNN's Soledad O'Brien Grills Santorum Staffer Over 'Phony Theology' Comments

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"not a theology based on the gas pump"

President Barack Obama supporters -- particularly those of the Christian persuasion -- were likely less-than-content with Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum's take on Obama's faith views. On Saturday, Santorum came under fire for saying that the president's agenda is based on "some phony theology" that is not "based on the Bible." Then, on Sunday, amid controversy, he attempted to clarify his remarks.

(Related: Santorum: ‘I Wasn’t Suggesting the President‘s Not a Christian’)

But his most recent admission that he does, indeed, believe Obama is a Christian wasn't enough to temper the storm. On Monday, the drama continued when Santorum's communications director Hogan Gidley appeared on CNN's "Starting Point." In an awkward back-and-forth, host Soledad O'Brien poked Gidley and sought out clarifications on the candidate's "phony theology" comments.

"What Rick was talking about was the president's ideology has turned into a theology of sorts," Gidley explained. "He was talking about...the energy crisis in this country. Skyrocketing gas prices across the nation..."

But O'Brien, clearly wanting a more profound clarification, interrupted during the explanation.

"Right, but what he was said was...'not a theology based on the Bible...' He’s not saying, ‘not a theology based on the gas pump.,’" she said. "He said, ‘not a theology based on the Bible.’ What does that mean?"

"I think Rick has been very clear and probably the only candidate in this race who has actually defended the President’s Christianity and his own personal beliefs," Gidley countered. "He wasn't questioning the president's personal beliefs. I mean, he can separate the president's personal beliefs with his public policy. And that's what he was talking about -- was that theology and that ideology he has as it relates to energy is not good for the country."

"Well, our job is to ask the questions again and again -- I hear you," O'Brien responded.

Watch the dialogue starting at about 3:00, below:

(H/T: Mediaite)

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