Senator cites blacks as disadvantage for his state

By David Edwards
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 9:12 EDT
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MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow caught Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Tuesday seemingly arguing that his state’s 31 percent African-American population puts him at a disadvantage — and that it’s a good reason not to support healthcare reform.


Maddow explains. Sen. “Lindsey Graham is a Republican which means in 2009 that he does not support health reform,” she says. “While arguing against the bill that is almost certain to pass the senate this thursday at 8:00 a.m., Sen. Graham made an argument that i think was supposed to be about health reform. But it was one that quickly became more about him than it was about any policy issue whatsoever.”

Maddow cuts to Graham:

“Throughout the nation there are going to be thousands more people enrolled in Medicaid and every state except one is going to have to come up with matching money,” Graham remarks. “I have 12 percent unemployment in South Carolina. My state’s on its knees. I have 31 percent African-American population in South Carolina.”

“We’ve got it tough,” he adds. “We’re on our knees. 12 percent of our people are unemployed and 31 percent of our people are black.”

Graham later says: “My state, with 30 percent African-American citizens, a lot of low income people in South Carolina is going to cost my state a billion dollars, that’s the same old stuff that I object to. That’s not change we can believe in. That’s sleazy.”

“The argument here appears to be that Sen. Graham believes it is sleazy to expect a state with lots of black people in it, to have health reform,” Maddow says. “Because you know, black people. Maybe he meant something other than what it seemed like with those remarks. But it should be noted he did use the same inexplicable argument twice. Once on the Senate floor and once on The Today Show. We contacted Sen. Graham’s office today for an explanation. We’ll let you know when and if we hear back.”

This video is from MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast Dec. 22, 2009.

Download video via RawReplay.com

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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