It may take a village to raise a child. Or it may take a family. But it definitely takes two senators to argue the merits of either. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (search), D-N.Y., and Sen. Rick Santorum (search), R-Pa., had just enough time Tuesday in a Senate hallway for a quick exchange of views on the subject of child-rearing.
As first lady in the Clinton administration, Clinton wrote "It Takes a Village," arguing that a community is an important part of a child's development.
Recently, Santorum, a social conservative, authored "It Takes a Family," aimed at countering Clinton's message and asserting liberal politics have weakened the American family. The book was released last week.
Clinton has kept mum on Santorum's book, until Tuesday, when the two senators passed each other in the basement of the Capitol.
"It takes a village, Rick, don't forget that," Clinton called out.
"It takes a family," he countered.
"Of course, a family is part of a village!" she replied.
The two continued on in opposite directions.
The 449-page book by Santorum tackles domestic issues ranging from home schooling (search) to welfare reform, and promotes family over what he describes as the big government, or village, in Clinton's 1996 book.
Santorum chairs the Senate Republican Conference and is sometimes hailed as a possible 2008 presidential candidate, even as he prepares for what is expected to be a tough 2006 re-election battle.
Clinton, who is also up for re-election next year, is considered the early leader among potential Democratic candidates for president in 2008.
Santorum's book questions Clinton's oft-cited desire to reduce the number of abortions (search), while at the same time defending abortion rights.
He dismisses Clinton's talk of meaning and morality as "little more than feel-good rhetoric masking a radical left agenda."
Pennsylvania Democrats are seeking to turn Santorum's book into a campaign issue against him. When the book was released, the head of state's Democrats, T.J. Rooney, said every woman in the state should be offended.
Santorum wrote that respect for stay-at-home mothers "has been poisoned by a toxic combination of the village elders' war on the traditional family and radical feminism's mysogynistic crusade to make working outside the home the only marker of social value and self-respect."
He also argued that a college education to help low-skilled unmarried mothers move up the economic ladder "is just wrong."