Santorum’s Sticky Views on Entitlements

He claims he was misquoted on blacks and welfare. But what about his other statements?

Getty Images
Getty Images

Turns out that when Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum clearly said to an Iowa crowd, “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn money,” he didn’t actually say it. See, as he later explained to CNN’s John King, “[I] didn’t recall using that particular word … It was probably a tongue-tied moment … In fact, I’m pretty confident I didn’t say, ‘black.’ I sort of started to say a word and sort of mumbled it and changed my thought. I don’t recall saying black. No one in the audience heard me say that.”

Unless the largely elderly audience he was speaking to all had their hearing aids set to “just nod and ignore my spouse” mode, they heard what the former Pennsylvania senator was spouting loud and clear. Listen for yourself here.

In fact, when he was first asked by CBS about his race-baiting comment, he admitted that he said “black” but blamed it on having recently seen Waiting for Superman, the excellent documentary about education (even though the movie actually portrays several races). It wasn’t until he realized how deeply he’d stepped in it that he became “pretty confident” that he kinda-sorta mumbled something maybe beginning with “b” but certainly not ending in “lack.”

Who are we supposed to believe, him or our lying ears?

Race-baiting with fudged facts has been de rigueur for GOP candidates even before Reagan sang his favorite tune by “Willie Horton and the Welfare Queens.” What is much more troubling is Santorum’s complete lack of understanding for the millions of Americans suffering through this Great Recession.