NAACP Blasts Santorum After He Denies ‘Black People’ Remark

NAACP President Ben Jealous slams Rick Santorum after he denies making remark about "black people's lives."

Associated Press
Associated Press

Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum is now denying ever making remarks about “black people’s lives” after receiving criticism for the comments.

The former Pennsylvania senator, who finished just eight votes short of an Iowa caucus victory, took heat this past Monday after saying, “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.”

The remarks brought criticism from NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous, who called them “outrageous.”

“He conflates welfare recipients with African Americans, though federal benefits are in fact determined by income level,” Jealous told CNN.

Santorum appeared on The O’Reilly Factor last night and said the remarks were the result of “a little bit of a blurred word.”

“I looked at that, and I didn’t say that,” Santorum told O’Reilly. “If you look at it, what I started to say is a word and then sort of changed and it sort of — blah — came out. And people said I said ‘black.’ I didn’t.”

He then took the “black friend” approach by touting the work he’s done in the past with black colleges.

“And I can tell you, I don’t use — I don’t — first off, I don’t use the term ‘black’ very often. I use the term ‘African American’ more than I use ‘black,’ ” Santorum said. “I can tell you as someone who did more work for historically black colleges, I used to have — every year, I used to bring all the historically black colleges into Washington, D.C., to try to help them, because they get very little federal money through the bureaucracy, and so I help to try to introduce them to people in the Department of Education so they could have more resources.”

While we applaud Santorum for the work he did with a few HBCUs across the country, this doesn’t excuse his comments from Monday. There was no slip of the tongue, as he would love us to believe. While Santorum does pause (as seen in the video below) before he uses the word “black,” he hasn’t explained what he meant to say instead. And given his history of incendiary comments, why should we not believe that Santorum meant what he said?

This just smells of another GOP candidate who has seen his presidential hopes jump from dead in the water to alive trying to do damage control. But don’t worry about it, Rick: The majority of our community’s vote will go to the guy in office, not someone with a track record of offending gays, blacks, women and Latinos.

Read more at Salon.

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