Controversy of the day: The Rick Santorum/Ron Paul post-debate handshake

Yes, it’s this slow of a news day.

BuzzFeed has a round-up of tweets from angry Paul fans but even The Blaze seems surprised at the vigor with which Santorum shook a 76-year-old man’s hand. I’m surprised too. Not because Sweater Vest is trying to tear his arm off or whatever the going theory is but because it seems plain as day to me that it’s a playful joke, a comically exaggerated handshake to underscore the fact that Paul was very, very tough on him at the debate. I thought there’d be more bad blood between them but Santorum pats him on the back too as Paul is standing up. In fact, watch this video of the two of them and Rick Perry joking around backstage before the CBS debate in November. As much as we’d like to believe these passionate ideological differences translate into personal tension — and they do, I’m sure, to some small extent — after 20 debates these guys must have a certain rapport with each other. I remember someone tweeting just last night that as CNN came back from commercial, Gingrich could be seen sharing a hearty laugh with … Romney, the guy he’s been ripping on for months for having sunk him in Iowa with endless negative ads. I’d bet that among most prominent pols there’s actually an ethic that compels civility when dealing with an opponent face to face, if only to prove that you’re professional enough, and your skin is thick enough, that you can take the daily insults and still keep your cool. Nothing untoward here, I think, although I’d be curious to know Paul’s reaction.

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