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Santorum: Obama wants constitutional amendment to redistribute wealth

By David Edwards
Friday, January 13, 2012 14:17 EDT
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Rick Santorum in Rock Hill, S.C.
 
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Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum suggested on Friday that President Barack Obama wanted a constitutional amendment to force the redistribution of wealth.

Wearing his infamous sweater vest, the candidate told a group of supporters in Rock Hill, South Carolina that Obama wanted to “manage the decline of America.”

“Remember the president of the United States saying when he was running for office earlier in his career, he was asked the question as a constitutional law professor, what change he would make, what deficiency there was in the Constitution?” Santorum explained. “His answer was there should be a provision for the redistribution of wealth.”

The former Pennsylvania senator may have been misremembering an often misinterpreted statement that Obama made to WBEZ-FM back in 2001.

“If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement, and its litigation strategy in the court, I think where it succeeded was to vest formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples,” the then-state senator said. “But the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society. And to that extent, as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical.”

Expecting an attack from Republican nominee John McCain’s campaign in 2008, Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton preemptively responded.

“Obama was talking about the civil rights movement — and the kind of work that has to be done on the ground to make sure that everyone can live out the promise of equality,” Burton said. “In the interview, Obama went into extensive detail to explain why the courts should not get into that business of ‘redistributing’ wealth. Obama’s point — and what he called a tragedy — was that legal victories in the civil rights led too many people to rely on the courts to change society for the better.”

Santorum also highlighted remarks the president made at George Washington University last year, where he said that “we would not be a great country” without programs like Social Security and Medicare.

“You see, I don’t believe that,” Santorum continued. “I believe America was born great. … What makes the saying on the Great Seal — e pluribus unum — true? Out of many one, what is the one? It is that, that we are a people who are children of God.”

“We are seen as equal. I mean, the idea that all men are created equal, that was unheard of. Women created equal to men? No way! What society did that exist? Rights? Equal? No way. Why was that? Because we are children of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And we were all made in His image.”

Santorum’s assertion that the U.S. was “born great” with equality for all men and women does not exactly square with the history books.

African Americans were not considered full citizens until 1865, when the Thirteenth Amendment rendered the three-fifths compromise moot. Women were not guaranteed the right to vote until the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified in 1920.

Many would say that the Constitution is still far from perfect. The Equal Rights Amendment was approved by Congress, but was never ratified by the states by the 1982 deadline. The Constitution also does not prevent discrimination against LGBT people.

Watch this video from CNN, broadcast Jan. 13, 2012.

 
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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