Did Santorum really say he didn’t want to make “black people’s lives better”?

posted at 8:40 am on January 3, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

This created an eruption on Twitter and in some of our comment threads yesterday evening, thanks to a CBS News transcript that put words into Rick Santorum’s mouth — or one word in particular.  Santorum spoke to a crowd in Iowa yesterday about the fiscal sinkhole of Medicaid, and argued that government shouldn’t redistribute wealth to improve the lives of some at the expense of others.  Santorum stumbled momentarily on the word “lives,” though, and that provided this Rorschach moment for CBS, who reported it thusly on their YouTube channel:

While campaigning in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said if elected he plans to cut regulations and entitlements and he doesn’t want to “make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.”

Except that’s not what Santorum said at all. What he said was, “I don’t want to make [pause] lives, people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.” This makes sense in the context of what immediately preceded this statement: “It [Medicaid] just keeps expanding. I was Indianola a few months ago, and I was talking with someone who works at 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. They’re just pushing harder and harder to get more and more of you dependent upon them so that they can get your vote.”

In other words, Santorum’s point didn’t have anything to do at all about race; it had to do with creating a dependency class that includes a lot of Iowans for political purposes. Whether one agrees with this or not, it’s pretty standard fare, and it’s certainly a legitimate concern to raise at a time when ObamaCare will expand the number of people eligible for government subsidies to families who make 60% more than the average household income. Instead of listening carefully to what Santorum actually said, CBS just assumed that Santorum was a racist. Don’t they watch the videos before transcribing them at CBS News?

One person who did listen to what Santorum said was my friend Tommy Christopher, who I assume doesn’t agree with Santorum’s point or much else Santorum has to say. Tommy, however, is both honest and thorough, and says that CBS gave Santorum a bum rap:

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.”

Given the preceding context, in which he talks about the government trying to get more Iowans enrolled in Medicaid, the former explanation makes much more sense than the latter.

The Santorum campaign has still not returned our request for comment.

Here’s the CBS clip. The viewer can judge, but even as an LGBT-friendly liberal, I’m inclined to give Santorum the benefit of the doubt here[.]

“Lives” sounds pretty clear to me, but either way, Santorum wasn’t talking about “black people.” He was talking about all Americans, as the context of his remarks makes obvious. Shame on CBS for this unsubstantiated allegation, and for still not correcting their record.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 3 4 5

also also, getting tired here too/also.

Take care Aslan.

hawkdriver on January 3, 2012 at 7:45 PM

I never said that. You are a disingenuous liar, JannyMae.
Random

I didn’t say you said it, but you very much implied it.

To suggest otherwise makes you a disingenuous liar. I don’t know why you are so invested in bashing Santorum, and I really don’t care. I call ‘em like I see ‘em. I see a person twisting and turning all over the place, to try and support a point and failing miserably.

I have no interest in responding to the rest of your attacks. I’ll let the readers decide who has the credibility here.

JannyMae on January 3, 2012 at 7:52 PM

The first time I heard “black”, but only the first time. Every other time after that I more clearly heard “blai” and possibly “blight” (the poor blighters!) although that makes no sense.

In context, I can’t think of what else it could be. It didn’t sound like a stumble as much as I thought it might. I would need to see other Santorum slips to see if he can actually adjust that fast, or whether or not he sometimes trips over words combining the consonant beginning the word he just said, the one he’s going to say and part of the one after.

The rest is SPIN as far as I am concerned. I know that there is a vast body of stuff he said that will prove his prejudice. Problem is that when somebody gives me a quote, I see more negative spin on their part than what can be established as “hate”.

People, the Gipper was racist to the press and when he said “women’s place” he meant nothing but the kitchen. GWB “hated black people”. You’re welcome to believe all this crap if you want to.

Axeman on January 3, 2012 at 7:54 PM

Random on January 3, 2012 at 7:13 PM

Dude. Two words. Nerve tonic.

hawkdriver on January 3, 2012 at 7:15 PM

It’s very interesting to see Santorum being attacked this way, now that he is suddenly being seen as a threat to the other candidates. It’s almost exactly the same way the Palin haters are polluting that Bachmann thread, now.

I have no dog in this fight right now. I have no preferred candidate. I will vote for any eventual nominee, except Ron Paul. I can understand people being enthusiastic about their candidate of choice. I can not understand people making crap up about the other candidates who are running in opposition to theirs. I guess I expect a basic level of honesty coming from conservatives, and it disappoints me to see such baseless attacks.

JannyMae on January 3, 2012 at 8:00 PM

I don’t know why you are so invested in bashing Santorum, and I really don’t care.

I’m not bashing Santorum. I’m saying I think he said the word “black”. I’m saying even if he didn’t say the word, it’s unclear and Ed is wrong to write this post as if it’s certain Santorum didn’t, when he hasn’t denied it, and many people think he did, after listening to it in both proximate context, and in context about other things he’s said about blacks in the past.

I’ve also said it should be possible to discuss race, including racial differences other than skin color, without fear of group think taboo and ostracism. If, for the sake of argument, he wanted to make a point that blacks disproportionately use social programs, he’s entitled to.

Bad politics, though.

Random on January 3, 2012 at 8:03 PM

It’s very interesting to see Santorum being attacked this way, now that he is suddenly being seen as a threat to the other candidates.

Overall, I’ve always liked Santorum. I’m disappointed in him for this flub.

Random on January 3, 2012 at 8:05 PM

I can not understand people making crap up about the other candidates …

No one is “making up” crap. YOU are the one blasély assigning bad motives to other Republicans.

Not me. Not us. You.

Random on January 3, 2012 at 8:11 PM

hawkdriver on January 3, 2012 at 7:28 PM

As I said, what irks me here is being told that he did not say “black” and being told I’m to believe Ed and not my own ears. I actually don’t really care if he did say “black”, I would say it was unhelpful esp. for a Republican to say, but it’s more or less true; not tactful, not diplomatic, not something a winning candidate would say, but not untrue. What I don’t like is being told that he didn’t say it at all. Even Santorum hasn’t denied he said it and gave an excuse for why he may have.

I never said it was “worse” than Perry’s mistakes. I never even compared them, you’re putting words in my mouth.

Of course you’re wrong that this is what wrote Santorum off for me. It was finding out that he loves pork and defended it even yesterday. And finding out that while he’s against gay marriage, he served quite recently on a board that promoted LGBT “pride” junk. I’ve also always had a problem with him for endorsing Specter. There’s a lot I like about Santorum, but not for POTUS.

hawkdriver on January 3, 2012 at 7:31 PM

And not everyone believes he did not say it either.

Aslans Girl on January 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM

Aslans Girl on January 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM

I have to tell you that the on the 31 second clip I saw, I did think he said black but on the 46 second clip it was far less “clear”. Regardless, even if he said it, it didn’t have any true context to the rest of his statement so it certainly wasn’t a racist error. Unless you are big into Freud.

Cindy Munford on January 3, 2012 at 8:51 PM

Oh he11 yes he said t.

I don’t like to admit that.

I would like to beat Alan Colmes over the head with a dead chicken…but he said it.

*sigh*

Nana on January 3, 2012 at 9:17 PM

I love your intellectual integrity, Nana.

Random on January 3, 2012 at 10:00 PM

Sounds like he got caught between “people” and “lives” and started to say “plives–”.

bmmg39 on January 3, 2012 at 10:41 PM

I don’t know about you but I’M certainly not interested in making black people’s lives better with other people’s money.

That’s what we have community organizers for.

Cleombrotus on January 3, 2012 at 10:43 PM

He said black, there’s no question about it. Also? most welfare recipient in the U.S. are white.

libfreeordie on January 3, 2012 at 10:51 PM

He said black, there’s no question about it. Also? most welfare recipient in the U.S. are white.

libfreeordie on January 3, 2012 at 10:51 PM

And what’s the percentage ratio of the numbers on welfare to general population?

Hmmm?

Cleombrotus on January 3, 2012 at 11:01 PM

Cleombrotus on January 3, 2012 at 11:01 PM

Asking that ‘pointed question’ is racist.

listens2glenn on January 3, 2012 at 11:13 PM

Not me. Not us. You.

Random on January 3, 2012 at 8:11 PM

Us? You got a mouse in your pocket?

You’re on my ignore list. Nothing you post is worth reading, you dishonest hack.

Bye!

JannyMae on January 3, 2012 at 11:18 PM

He said black, there’s no question about it.

That’s your opinion.

Also? most welfare recipient in the U.S. are white.

libfreeordie on January 3, 2012 at 10:51 PM

That’s true and no one is even saying they’re not.

Are you working at adding anything to these debates?

hawkdriver on January 3, 2012 at 11:44 PM

And not everyone believes he did not say it either.

Aslans Girl on January 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM

And like what you think, it’s their opinion. I’m not sure what he said.

hawkdriver on January 3, 2012 at 11:45 PM

When asked about it, he said he was familiar with the quote, but doesn’t remember the context.

ButterflyDragon on January 3, 2012 at 2:45 PM

So? That just means this isn’t the first time he heard it? That doesn’t mean he did or didn’t say it, just that he knows what the questioner is talking about, presumably because someone has asked him before.

RINO in Name Only on January 4, 2012 at 12:58 AM

Doubtless this is good to know, BlaxPac.

Not so much to know, but the times HAVE come to the point, that to remind the media rank and file that not EVERY member of the so-called “Minority Community” vote or even agree with them. It cannot be expressed enough, IMHO, especially after seeing the last 4 years unfold.

But in the grand scheme of things, what you can or cannot stand doesn’t really matter very much.

:Shrug: You are, of course entitled to your opinion, JackieB…but to believe that you don’t matter is to surrender without a fight…and to me, to keep this country from sliding…the heck with that…sprint towards 2nd world status is worth fighting to prevent.

A million thanks for your input on that, BlaxPac. Really.

You’re welcome :o) Trust me, I have plenty more where that came from. Cheers!
JackieB on January 3, 2012 at 6:21 PM

BlaxPac on January 4, 2012 at 1:19 AM

Asking that ‘pointed question’ is racist.

listens2glenn on January 3, 2012 at 11:13 PM

Personally, I like Santorum’s grasp of economics, regardless.

Cleombrotus on January 4, 2012 at 7:54 AM

Asking that ‘pointed question’ is racist.

listens2glenn on January 3, 2012 at 11:13 PM

And avoiding it is cowardly.

Cleombrotus on January 4, 2012 at 8:25 AM

or cowardice.

Cleombrotus on January 4, 2012 at 8:26 AM

I think he said the word “black”. I’m saying even if he didn’t say the word, it’s unclear and Ed is wrong to write this post as if it’s certain Santorum didn’t, when he hasn’t denied it, and many people think he did

That’s because he certainly did not say that, and those who think he did generally have a vested interest in discrediting the man.

There is no long “I” in “black”.

The Schaef on January 4, 2012 at 10:15 AM

He did not say ‘black’.

It was a stmuble that did not even really sound like ‘black’.

Siddhartha Vicious on January 4, 2012 at 9:02 PM

Much like me typing ‘stmuble’ in place of stumble.

Siddhartha Vicious on January 4, 2012 at 9:03 PM

Comment pages: 1 3 4 5