Santorum Uses Langston Hughes-Inspired Campaign Slogan

Oops. A black, liberal, pro-union poet's take on making "America America again" wasn't what this Republican had in mind.

Salon reports that the day after announcing that he was setting up a presidential exploratory committee, Pennsylvania Republican Rick Santorum’s website featured the slogan “Fighting to Make America America Again.” That is, until a student clued him about its similarity to the title of the poem Let America Be America Again,” by Langston Hughes (the avowed leftist, black, pro-union poet who many people believe was gay).

Uh-oh. Hughes, evidently, is not the best symbol of the version of America Santorum was pitching at an “Econ-101” town meeting at New England College:

Santorum by and large stayed on message but was tripped up a bit when a student asked him if he knew that the choice of his slogan, “Fighting to make America America again,” was borrowed from the “pro-union poem by the gay poet Langston Hughes.”

“No I had nothing to do with that,” Santorum said. “I didn’t know that. And the folks who worked on that slogan for me didn’t inform me that it came from that, if it in fact came from that.”

The student, whose name was not immediately available, was referring to the poem “Let America Be America Again.” When asked a short time later what the campaign slogan meant to him, Santorum said, “Well, I’m not too sure that’s my campaign slogan, I think it’s on a web site.”

It was also printed on the campaign literature handed out before the speech.

There’s nothing wrong with Santorum working to distance himself from the words of someone who doesn’t reflect his values. Any politician would do the same. But wow — he hasn’t even officially announced his candidacy yet. It’s kind of early for this sort of flub. If this is a sign of things to come, we’re thinking his campaign — to borrow from another Hughes poem — won’t quite be a crystal stair

Read more at Salon and Union Leader.

In other news: Black and Latino Homeowners Stand Up to JPMorgan Chase.