January 2, 2012 3:04 PM

Santorum targets blacks in entitlement reform

By
Lucy Madison
Topics
Campaign 2012

Updated: 6:35 p.m. ET

At a campaign stop in Sioux City, Iowa on Sunday, Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum singled out blacks as being recipients of assistance through federal benefit programs, telling a mostly-white audience he doesn't want to "make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money."

Answering a question about foreign influence on the U.S. economy, the former Pennsylvania senator went on to discuss the American entitlement system - which he argued is being used to politically exploit its beneficiaries.

"It just keeps expanding - I was in Indianola a few months ago and I was talking to someone who works in the department of public welfare here, and she told me that the state of Iowa is going to get fined if they don't sign up more people under the Medicaid program," Santorum said. "They're just pushing harder and harder to get more and more of you dependent upon them so they can get your vote. That's what the bottom line is."

He added: "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."

"Right," responded one audience member, as another woman can be seen nodding.

Full CBS News coverage: Rick Santorum

"And provide for themselves and their families," Santorum added, to applause. "The best way to do that is to get the manufacturing sector of the economy rolling again."

It is unclear why Santorum pinpointed blacks specifically as recipients of federal aid. The original questioner asked "how do we get off this crazy train? We've got so much foreign influence in this country now," adding "where do we go from here?"

When asked about the comments in an interview with "CBS Evening News" anchor Scott Pelley, Santorum said he wasn't aware of the context of his remark, but mentioned that he had recently watched the movie "Waiting for Superman," which analyzes the American public education system through the stories of several students and their families. (The students and their families portrayed in the movie represent several races.)

"I've seen that quote, I haven't seen the context in which that was made," Santorum told Pelley, of the Sunday remarks. "Yesterday I talked for example about a movie called, um, what was it? 'Waiting for Superman,' which was about black children and so I don't know whether it was in response and I was talking about that."

Santorum stressed that he wants to make life better for Americans regardless of race.

"Let me just say that no matter what, I want to make every lives [sic] better - I don't want anybody - and if you look at what I've been saying, I've been pretty clear about my concern for dependency in this country and concern for people not being more dependent on our government, whatever their race or ethnicity is."

CBS News found that of the people on food stamps in Iowa, only nine percent are black and 84 percent are white.

Just days ago, the Pennsylvania conservative raised some eyebrows while talking about diversity at an event in Ottumwa, Iowa.

"I was at a debate with Howard Dean and we were asked what was the most imp quality of America and he said diversity. Diversity? Have you ever heard of e pluribus unum?....The greatness of America is people who are diverse coming together to be one," Santorum said. "If we celebrate diversity, we lay the groundwork for that conflict. We need to celebrate common values and have a president that lays out those common values."

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Rick Santorum on the campaign trail

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Tolleah Price and Naureen Khan contributed to this report.


  • Lucy Madison

    Lucy Madison is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

Add a Comment See all 508 Comments
by alflanagan January 8, 2012 1:56 PM EST
Obama is probably praying at night that the Republicans pick Santorum. He wouldn't have to bother campaigning. I respect Santorum's work ethic and probable sincerity, but the man's a lunatic.
Reply to this comment
by gep1955 January 8, 2012 11:17 AM EST
Most of the news audience targets CBS as a former source of reliable information.
Reply to this comment
by rgharper January 7, 2012 4:28 PM EST
Yeah 3% of people get 9% of Food Stamps. 14% of people get 30% nationally. Not racist, just facts and shows where the entitlement mentality is most prominent.
Reply to this comment
by SJames6621 January 7, 2012 10:42 PM EST
while the suprer rich corps move the good jobs overseas by the millions.

example - fancy x ray machines sell for 10s of millions. GE moved that bis to India in early 2010
by Mrig1234 January 8, 2012 3:17 PM EST
Yeah this is the same guy against hand outs but LIED to get Penn Hills Muncipality to pay his kids cyber school...He said he lived in the district( a home that was really uninhabital) but yet never stayed not even for one day. Oh yeah, thats right when he was called on it, he got a supporter to pay Penn Hills back. But I guess he would've paid the tax payers back anyway cause he's so honest. Amazing racist, bigot and overall sham artist. Just what Americans need. Wow..and you support that. AMAZING.
by gep1955 January 7, 2012 1:40 PM EST
He doesn't target blacks, just refers to an example. You corrupt liberal media phonies better start cleaning up you act, your quickly being replaced by the computer and accurate blogs. Your headline is false and misleading, just like CBS News.
Reply to this comment
by Dan13a January 6, 2012 3:42 PM EST
Lets see, 9% of folks in Iowa on Food Stamps are black, yet blacks make up only 2.9 % of the population. That means that blacks as a group get 3 times the free food that others in the population get. So I guess that pointing this out is racist, right? Finally a potential leader that speaks the truth. Nobody can solve a problem that they deny exists.
Reply to this comment
by paulflorez January 6, 2012 4:53 PM EST
Of course, being black is why they are on welfare, not because they are poor or anything! Or wait, I'll bet they are poor because of the color of their skin! We all know black people are naturally lazy! Thank you Dan13a, thank you for speaking the truth, now go out and tell all of American this, they SURELY will agree with you and not go and vote for our current President, who is also black!
by LewisUSMC January 6, 2012 5:09 PM EST
3 times the free food that others in the population get??? 2.9% of the populations times (x) what number gets you 3 times the food free food that others in the population get? What math are you using to validate this information? A leader unifies people not split them up based on race.
by bruceben9 January 6, 2012 3:35 PM EST
cbs should be ashamed. he does not clearly say black. i'm not sure what he meant to say. it is not clear. cbs using the words 'targets blacks' in its title is disingenuous, obviously. abc had a writer, vollman,or vollner, did a piece on ron paul from a townhall meeting and misrepresented the facts almost beyond belief. so much for honorable news reporting, these days. it appears that the 'news' organizations are trying to influence our political elections. thumbs down to them.
Reply to this comment
by SteveJobs1 January 6, 2012 3:18 PM EST
"CBS News found that of the people on food stamps in Iowa, only nine percent are black and 84 percent are white."
So if 10% of the population of Iowa is black- 90% are on food stamps

Way to screw with the numbers Mason
Reply to this comment
by KlatuBerataNicto January 6, 2012 2:28 PM EST
Federal benefits are determined by income level, not race. In Iowa, for instance, 9 percent of food stamp recipients are black and 84 percent are white. Overall, 91 percent of Iowa residents are white, and nearly 3 percent are black. Santorum KNEW this. He was either ignorant of the facts, or he intentionally made racist remarks. Either way, he is NO leader. At least Ron Paul didn't write the racist garbage in his newsletters. This guy Santorum, has no problem telling people what he thinks, and it fits nicely within the elitist, white stereotype worldview.
Reply to this comment
by toby3061 January 6, 2012 3:19 PM EST
So, you are saying that in Iowa blacks make up 3 percent of the population yet use 9 percent of food stamps? Anything wrong with this picture? And anyone who points it out is a racist? No. One who points it out if a mathematician.
by paulflorez January 6, 2012 5:51 PM EST
@toby3061

They're not on food stamps because of the color of their skin. They're on food stamps because they don't earn enough money to feed themselves and their families! Do you understand? Race is only relevant in arguments like this if you are racist and attempting to make an entire race look bad using the association fallacy!
by abby_del_abbey January 6, 2012 1:40 PM EST
racist comments are simply that racist. however, people out of their own prejudices will find all sorts of excuses to cover up their own racism, their own ill-will toward their fellow human beings...
the really sad thing is that so-called Christians tend to be the worst racists of all....

shameful, isn't it?
Reply to this comment
by KlatuBerataNicto January 6, 2012 2:42 PM EST
Don't you dare bring Jesus and Christians as a whole into this. Christians have no monopoly on racism. It is against a true christian's values to do so. Your comment itself sir, is shameful. The "worst" racists of all are those who causally point the finger at others, while spreading stereotypes and inciting ill will with their accusations. Christians are not the problem here. People like yourself, whom casually accuse an entire religion, an inherently peaceful religion, of being the "worst" racists of all. God help you.
by muiezog January 6, 2012 7:40 PM EST
you're the real racist because your denying of scientific fact forces other ethnicities, asians especially, pay for the shortcomings (evident to anybody not indoctrinated in the egalitarian utopia) of other ethnicities.

look at Detroit, look at Baltimore, look at Atlanta - wherever they go, poverty crime and decay follow.
by JackLeanII January 6, 2012 9:03 AM EST
Santorum's despicable rhetoric just confirms that conservative philosophy is hopelessly mired in racist nonsense and bigotry. All you have to do is review American history to see that conservatives have been on the immoral side of every civil and social rights issue since slavery.
Reply to this comment
by toby3061 January 6, 2012 3:20 PM EST
You fail history 101.
by paulflorez January 6, 2012 5:52 PM EST
Conservative Southern Democrats ditched the Democratic Party because the Democratic Party wasn't racist and they were. Guess which party they moved to?
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