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GOP candidates caught in slavery controversy
July 11th, 2011
10:00 AM ET

GOP candidates caught in slavery controversy

Washington (CNN) – Republican presidential candidates Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum sought to clarify their support of a pledge that contained a controversial preamble suggesting black children born into slavery had better family structures than black children now.

The excerpt has been removed from "The Marriage Vow – A Declaration of Dependence upon Marriage and Family," a pledge issued by the conservative Christian organization The Family Leader.

The Family Leader is an important socially conservative group in the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa, holding sway over the state's traditionally more conservative caucus goers who influence the fate of presidential campaigns.

A spokesman for former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania told CNN Monday he was "pleased" to sign the pledge, but agreed with the Leader's decision to remove the language about slavery.

"Senator Santorum was pleased to sign the Iowa Family Leader's pledge because he is committed to standing up for traditional marriage. The bigger question here is why aren't more Republicans having the courage to stand up for the institution of marriage and signing this pledge," Virginia Davis said in an email. "With that said, Senator Santorum believed it was the right thing for the Iowa Family Leader to remove the language from the preamble to the pledge about slavery."

Bachmann spokeswoman Alice Stewart, who confirmed the Minnesota congresswoman signed the pledge, said Sunday "In no uncertain terms, Congresswoman Bachmann believes that slavery was horrible and economic enslavement is also horrible."

FULL STORY on the CNN Political Ticker: GOP candidates caught in slavery controversy

FULL STORY on the CNN Political Ticker

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soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. pat blake

    There is a way to support traditional marriage: get married. You don't have to bash gays or promote slavery or anything else. Just get married and live the way you want to, stay out of everyone else's business, and stop pretending you understand history.

    July 11, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
  2. theresa morgan

    I find the analogy of slavery in 1860 ironic in this case. The organization is against same sex relationships but they choose an analogy to shows another group who's relationships were not acknowledged publicly, religiously or legally?? I am not for or against same sex relationships but for a group with such strong beliefs to choose that point in history seems crazy to me.

    July 11, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
  3. Ashley

    Maybe our leaders (if you can call them that) should read things before they sign them... I guess that's too much to ask.

    July 11, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
  4. Kathleen

    Good lord, I can hear in the background ...oh I wish I was in the land of Dixie ....geez...look away....you can't be serious. Somebody needs to give a real history lesson to the people coming up with these pledges.

    July 11, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
  5. Terrence Holmes

    Rick Santorum might get a pass (doubtful), but Michelle Bachmann is an idiot. This is not the first time she has associated herself with such historical inaccuracy. At every turn since 2008 Republicans (idiots one and two not excepted) have tried to make President Obama look incapable of handling the Office of the President, yet when people like these two open their mouths before engaging their brain, their supporters roll their eyes, yawn and ask what the big deal is? After all I'm sure they didn't mean to offend anyone, especially not anyone in the black community who have only have the possibility to pursue the American Dream for 46 years of the 235 year history of America. Where is Rand Paul when you need a reasonable person?

    July 11, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
  6. Dan Greer

    The absudity that slavery and the Holacost cannot be compared is totally without merit. Genocide is Genocide. I do agree that any reference to either while making a political piont borders on Racism. Magnifying the fact that President Oboma was the product of a broken home and is some how inferior.

    July 11, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
    • Dan Greer

      The nerves of Slavery and The Holacost are so raw that only time can soothe them.

      July 11, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
  7. tamara jones

    Its so funny when these things come to light and then to see the reactions from those responsible...mmm...these people who we elect as our leaders should know one very important fact...read everything before signing...so youre telling me that they both either read it and signed it anyway..or didnt read and signed it...either way..its not saying much for the intelligence nor moral makeup of either of them

    July 11, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
  8. Mike Green

    Ok, so slave families were better? I am sorry the legal background does not wash here. First, to determine if one was a slave, you mother had to have been a slave. This was the law in most of the South from its early colonial days into the 19th century. why was this? because fathers were taken from their families. In addition, marriage was rarely allowed and the vows were "until distance do you part". These people would never pass my history class. I use a textbook not the internet. I am sorry. If Bachman's IQ got any lower one would have to water her twice a day.

    July 11, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  9. Julie Saperstein

    The media is, as usual, blowing things way out of proportion. There is no way either of the two candidates would ever endorse slavery–nobody in their right minds, especially when running for the Presidency, would. The real issue here is the threat that these candidates pose to the recent gains of the LGBT community if they get elected.

    July 11, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
  10. ron from pa

    Great report, Anderson. Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum will undoubtedly try to backpeddle on this now that you have done this report. A number of conservative politicians deny any racist beliefs, but they often put out coded messages to their base e.g. the assertions that Obama was not born in the US.

    Why would this group even bring this up unless they were trying to convey that African Americans were actually somehow better off under slavery! This is a reprehensible statement and the fact that Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum signed on to this shows their true beliefs.

    July 11, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
  11. Kirk Behnke

    This goes to show you that our lovely politicians don't read things before they sign them. Especially if it reflects their moral beliefs. even with the "slavery" references removed, this is still a bias and bigoted pledge for ANYONE to sign. But with the Republicans' right wing agenda of moral intolerance, it is not especially surprising that this scum rises to the top. My main question is, how the hell does what I do with another CONSENTING adult in the privacy of my own home even begin to affect these people? If a gay couple want to get married, shouldn't they have the right to be as miserable as all the straight couples? How can this truly be the "Land of the Free", when a person does not have the right be with the one they love and have that relationship be recognized my the state and the church as a committed and binding union? I, for one am tired of people I didn't elect, deciding what morals are right for me, my family, and my friends... Can we really trust people with those values who DO NOT read what they sign, before they HAVE signed it??

    July 11, 2011 at 10:03 pm |