Rick Santorum ran into the classic problem that all rising political stars inevitably face: accidentally saying something you really believe on camera, that also potentially offends half the voters in this country. Last night, CNN's John King asked Santorum about women in combat and the Pentagon's recent announcement that it plans to put more female soldiers closer to the front lines. His answer was, uh ... problematic.

"I think that could be a very compromising situation, where people naturally may do things that may not be in the interest of the mission because of other types of emotions that are involved. It already happens, of course, with the camaraderie of men in combat, but I think it would be even more unique if women were in combat.”

There are plenty of arguments that those who are against allowing women in front-line combat could choose to fall back on, but "emotions" probably isn't the most helpful. It's certainly not the most respectful.

Santorum's social conservative bona fides are well-known and as The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin showed, it doesn't take much digging to find similar statements about feminism and the role of women and work. But this may be the first time in this campaign — and definitely the first time since Santorum became a legitimate threat again — that he's put his foot in his mouth in this way. This latest "gaffe" could only be the beginning of what could be a big problem for Santorum down the road: difficulty winning over women voters, particularly working moms who don't think that doing the same job as a man equals "radical feminism."