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Santorum Gives Non-Denial Denial On Alleged ‘Black People’ Comment: ‘I Condemn All Racism’

Earlier today, Rick Santorum answered a question at an Iowa campaign event where it sounded like he said he didn’t want to “make black people’s lives better” with “other people’s money.” It didn’t quite sound like he said “black people,” but it also didn’t sound like he said anything else, either, and so many media outlets went with it. On Hannity tonight, host Sean Hannity gave him a chance to clarify. Santorum didn’t flat out deny the comment, but decried any form of racism, and cited his work with black Republicans as proof it wasn’t like him to say something like that.

RELATED: Did Rick Santorum Really Talk About Making ‘Black People’s Lives Better’ With ‘Somebody Else’s Money?’

Santorum did not confirm the comment, instead telling Hannity that he did not remember his comment, but that he would definitely not say something intentionally racist, nor did he believe race to be a legitimate factor in judging groups of people. “I haven’t heard it; all I can say is that I don’t single out any group of people– that’s one thing I don’t do,” Santorum explained. “I don’t divide people by group and race and class,” he continued. Hannity noted that some media– even Mediaite!– weren’t entirely sure of what he said, perhaps to see if he would clarify, but Santorum responded again, flatly, “I condemn all forms of racism,” and citing work with Michael Steele and J.C. Watts.

So why did Santorum refuse to make a clear statement that he didn’t say what he did, instead opting for a mere “I don’t remember saying that”? Likely years of political experience and months of non-stop campaigning. Given the amount of effort Santorum has put in Iowa, and the little time between now and the caucus, it’s likely he is extremely sleep-deprived– so much so that he does not remember whether he was asked a question in any event during the course of the day where the alleged “making black people’s lives better” comment would be acceptable or inevitable in context. As he says he hasn’t seen the video in question, he may think Hannity is talking about another event or another comment that he may not remember off the top of his head. But his refusal to deny is disappointing on one fundamental level: if he didn’t say “black,” and there is certainly room to believe he didn’t, it is still a completely mystery what word he intended in that sentence.

Our own Tommy Christopher, who Hannity cited as the writer doubting that Santorum had said “black people,” had this to say about why Santorum may not have outright denied the comment:

I would note that Santorum’s shoestring campaign lends credibility to the idea that he hasn’t seen the video. When I tried to call Santorum’s campaign for comment, I got a voicemail message, and the inbox was full. I emailed the campaign as well then, but it was the general press email. I’ve since emailed their communications team. I’ve got no vested interest in defending Rick Santorum, but it sounds to me like he just stumbled in his sentence, and made a vocalization akin to an ‘um’ or an ‘uh.’ There’s no hard K sound, and ‘black people’ doesn’t fit the context.

Santorum’s comments via Fox News below:

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