Did Rick Santorum Make a Racist Remark About Black People and ‘Entitlements?’

Republican candidate Rick Santorum leans heavily on a “values” centric campaign to draw hard-right voters, but did he make an incredibly offensive remark about black people and what Republicans call “entitlements” while campaigning in Iowa?

You may have seen the quote pop-up without attribution or context in your Facebook feed yesterday- I certainly did, several times- and it seems the remark made its way into the blogosphere solely via a reporter at NPR. What it is alleged Santorum said is this:

“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 the money and provide for themselves and their families.”

Sadly, what makes the remarks so easy to not initially dismiss is how well they fit into the vaguely-not-inclusive rhetoric coming from the GOP in the lead-up to the primary. Santorum is no stranger to dialogue that offends certain groups, and it is his anti-gay stance that precipitated the link between the candidate and some not-family-friendly Google results associated with his name. (Santorum refers to it as his “Google problem.”) Furthering the controversy is the “too white” comments made about Iowa by an anchor, which you can read about here.

Mediaite investigated Santorum’s statements about “entitlements,” (the word selected to make low-information voters hate social programs) and found that while it can’t be easily determined one way or another, it’s likely the candidate didn’t actually say what it was widely reported he said:

A review of a clearer version of the video, however, casts serious doubt on whether Santorum actually said “black people’s lives.” …CBS News has posted a cleaner version of Santorum’s remarks, and it seems as though Santorum did not actually say “black people’s lives,” but rather, that he stumbled in mid-sentence with a verbal tic that sounded like that.

“I don’t want to make…mmbligh…people’s lives better” is what it sounds like to me, although CBS News also transcribes it as “”make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.”

Do you think the media is a bit too quick to judge conservative candidates as racist based on their policies?