Rick Santorum has a character flaw. He can’t accept when he’s wrong, done in, defeated. Call it sore loser syndrome.

I saw this first hand in 2003 when I was a Washington bureau chief and one of my reporters had conducted an interview with Santorum. When it was published, the senator and his staff went ballistic.

The topic, you won’t be surprised to learn, was homosexuality. Reporter Lara Jakes Jordan asked his opinion about the constitutionality of a Texas anti-sodomy law which was pending before the Supreme Court. Santorum warned that if the high court OK’d consensual gay sex, “then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery.” The rest of the exchange, recounted below, shows how explicitly Santorum had thought about sex not between a married man and woman.

But I digress. The senator and his staff vehemently denied he had said anything of the kind. Lara reminded them that she had recorded the interview. No matter – the staff continued to slander the reporter. So we released the transcript. That ended that particular matter.

But Santorum held a grudge. He refused to take Lara’s questions at press conferences or during reporter scrums in the Capitol. He sulked like a 5-year-old, publicly. His staff was just as bad, deleting her from press lists and cutting off access to his office. Sore losers.

Fast forward to the 2012 primaries. Falling badly behind Mitt Romney and blind to his own shortcomings, Santorum is proving once again that he is a sore loser.

Do read on for the full exchange, which is just as illuminating as anything Santorum has said in recent months.

Jordan: I mean, should we outlaw homosexuality?
Santorum: I have no problem with homosexuality. I have a problem with homosexual acts. As I would with acts of other, what I would consider to be, acts outside of traditional heterosexual relationships. And that includes a variety of different acts, not just homosexual. I have nothing, absolutely nothing against anyone who’s homosexual. If that’s their orientation, then I accept that. And I have no problem with someone who has other orientations. The question is, do you act upon those orientations? So it’s not the person, it’s the person’s actions. And you have to separate the person from their actions.

Jordan: O.K., without being too gory or graphic, so if somebody is homosexual, you would argue that they should not have sex?
Santorum: We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that have sodomy laws and they were there for a purpose. Because, again, I would argue, they undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family. And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn’t exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution.. . .
In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality—
Jordan: I’m sorry, I didn’t think I was going to talk about “man on dog” with a United States Senator. It’s sort of freaking me out.
Santorum: And that’s sort of where we are in today’s world, unfortunately. The idea is that the state doesn’t have rights to limit individuals’ wants and passions. I disagree with that. I think we absolutely have rights because there are consequences to letting people live out whatever wants or passions they desire. And we’re seeing it in our society.
(Lara is now a reporter for The Associated Press in Baghdad)