Rick Santorum says Biden played the ‘race card’

August 19, 2012

Top Mitt Romney surrogate Rick Santorum said Sunday that Vice President Biden was "playing the race card" when he said last week that Republicans want to deregulate Wall Street and put people "back in chains."

Biden's comment, made in front of a southern Virginia audience that included many African-Americans, has drawn fire from Republicans who say it was racially insensitive.

Santorum went a step further, saying Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union," that the comment amounted to race baiting.

"And then you saw Vice President Biden play the race card in Virginia," Santorum said. "I've been in groups like that and it's very easy when you're in a group of people that -- when you're in the South or when you're up in different areas of the country and different groups of people -- you develop an affinity with the group that you're speaking in front of. And that's what Vice President Obama (sic) was doing. He was trying to develop that affinity. And he did so in a very horrendous way. And he should apologize."

The White House has not apologized for the remark, pointing out that Republicans have used similar verbiage when talking about economic issues. Republicans say that the context and audience are what made Biden's remarks offensive.

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani offered similar comments on CBS's "Face the Nation," saying Biden made a direct appeal to race.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) responded: "There isn't a racist bone in Joe Biden's body. And to suggest that is, I think, over the edge. ... It may have been a misuse of words, but to take it to that extent is just too much, Mr. Mayor."

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix, the Post’s top political blog.
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Aaron Blake | August 19, 2012