WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said Sunday he doesn't believe in the separation of church and state.
The former Pennsylvania senator, in an interview on ABC News' "This Week," said John F. Kennedy's famous 1960 speech to Baptist ministers in Houston makes him want to throw up.
"The first substantive line in the speech says, 'I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute,''' Santorum said. "The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country."
Santorum said the First Amendment is about the free exercise of religion and that means "bringing everybody, people of faith and no faith, into the public square."
"To say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes me want to throw up," he said.
Santorum said his vote for No Child Left Behind legislation championed by former President George W. Bush was against his principles "When you're part of the team, sometimes you take one for the team, for the leader, and I made a mistake, he said.
Santorum said his record shows he's been fighting to get the federal government out of the education system. "I looked at No Child Left Behind after it was enacted and saw what happened and saw the expansion of the federal government and the role of education," he said.
He said he stands by his comment Saturday at Michigan campaign event where he called President Obama "a snob" for saying everyone in the United States should obtain higher education.
"There are good, decent men and women who go out and work hard every day and put their skills to tests that aren't taught by some liberal college professor," Santorum said.