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NY Times' Bill Keller Accuses Santorum of 'Creeping Up on a Kind of Christian Version of Shariah Law

"...this whole campaign has been one of those little cars that come out in the circus."

On MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Tuesday, New York Times' op-ed columnist Bill Keller made a comparison that may infuriate Rick Santorum supporters. While speaking about the Republican race, he dubbed the contender's statements as nearing a Christian version of Shariah law.

The round-table discussion, which included TIME Magazine editor-at-large Mark Halperin and MSNBC's Chuck Todd, started with some general insults directed at the GOP field.

"I find...this whole campaign has been one of those little cars that come out in the circus," Keller said. "One clown comes out and another clown comes out and you can't believe there are any more clowns to get out. And they keep coming."

None of the panelists, including hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarboro, jumped in to defend the candidates and Scarborough proceeded to chastise Santorum for his recent attack on John F. Kennedy. Next, a video was shown depicting Santorum discussing freedom of religion and the First Amendment; that's when the most incendiary comment was uttered.

"Remember earlier in the campaign when Newt Gingrich was worrying everybody about Shariah law -- you know -- the Muslims were going to impose Shariah law in America?," Keller rhetorically asked. "Sometimes, Santorum sounds like he's creeping up on a kind of Christian version of Shariah law."

The stunning comment didn't lead one eye to blink on the panel, as the next comments uttered by Scarborough actually praised Keller for bringing up "a good point" (it's unclear here whether Scarborough was praising the general sentiment or the comment itself).

The host then went on to argue that Santorum is off message and that he shouldn't be wasting his time touting these issues -- especially during a time when the economy is on everyones' minds.

Watch the discussion, below (around 5:00):

Perhaps FOX News' Bill O'Reilly was right last month when he told Santorum, “It’s going to be a national demonization and you’re going to be portrayed as an extremist and some of your views are out of the mainstream according to polls.”

One last thing…
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