PRESIDENT OBAMA told an interviewer the other day that what he misses most about his former life is his privacy.

Wonder how he feels about a former U.S. senator offering advice on how to romance the first lady?

Yep, Rick Santorum has been offering up date-night advice for the Obamas. Their night out in New York City caused a media firestorm over the weekend, when the first couple dined at a New York restaurant and saw a Broadway play.

Santorum's advice? Less is more. In other words, you don't have to go all out.

"I would make the argument, the simpler the date, the more normal it is," he told Fox News Monday.

Step back, Dear Abby. Santorum is on the scene.

Kind of makes you wonder what's next? Could a personal recommendation from Santorum as to which Washington bar Obama should take Michelle be far behind?

Tell us more, Dr. Love.

Jokes aside, some of this is part of the game. Presidents get criticized every time they slip away from the fish-bowl experience of living in the White House. No matter when they do it, there's always an armchair critic griping about why they shouldn't have. Former President George W. Bush caught all kinds of grief for the frequent trips he and Laura Bush made to their Texas ranch.

Even though Monday-morning quarterbacking can get nastily partisan as it did after Obamas' weekend trip to the Big Apple, the issue is at least worthy of public attention and debate. After all, taxpayers foot the transportation bill for Obama, in the same way we did when Bush traveled for his own recreation.

But what got me snickering was how, in the aftermath of the latest Obama date night, Santorum decided to offer his own dating advice. Here's what the former senator from Pennsylvania told anchor Greta Van Susteren: "I think he has to realize that flying to New York is self-indulgent."

In other words, stay closer to home. In fact, stick within walking distance.

"Go down to the corner bar and have a drink, a shot and a beer," Santorum told Fox News Monday. "It does not matter where you go with your wife . . . it's with your wife. That's really the point."

And don't go trying to impress the little lady. No sense in doing all that. (For the record, Obama said he had been making good on a campaign promise to Michelle when he took her to New York.)

"Here is what you do. Here is how you do it. And it is not going to Broadway," Santorum said during the interview. "All right, once in awhile, you do something special. But it is [the] mundane that really makes the marriage special, but because you are with your wife, the mundane isn't mundane - it's special."

Something tells me Michelle Obama might have a thing or two to say about that. *