The HillTube

Santorum denies making a racial comment on welfare

Iowa runner-up Rick Santorum said Thursday that he would be "a much bigger player" than expected in the New Hampshire primary and denied saying that he didn't want "to make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money."

Santorum allegedly made the controversial comments when discussing welfare in an interview Wednesday night with Fox News, but he maintained that people misheard the word "black" when he stumbled on a word.

“I looked at that, and I didn't say that. If you look at it, what I started to say is a word and then sort of changed and it sort of — blah — came out.  And people said I said ‘black.’ I didn't," Santorum said.

ADVERTISEMENT
 “And I can tell you, I don't use — I don't — first off, I don't use the term ‘black’ very often. I use the term ‘African-American’ more than I use ‘black' ... I think sometimes you want to give someone the benefit of the doubt if it's a little bit of a blurred word."

Santorum added that he believes he should place well in New Hampshire, especially on the heels of a reported $1 million surge in donations off his close second-place finish in Iowa.

“I think we're going to do surprisingly well here," Santorum said. "[Although] I'm not predicting a win or anything close to it.

“We're going to have resources. We're going to be a much bigger player than I think everybody anticipates right now," he added.

The Pennsylvania senator said his eight-vote loss would lead many in early-voting states to reconsider their support for Mitt Romney.

“There are a lot of undecided voters up here, and a lot of the folks that are supporting Gov. Romney are supporting him because, well, they think he's going to win and you're going to be with the winner," Santorum said. "I think a lot of folks are looking not just for the winner here in New Hampshire, but who's going to be the winner long-term. And I think you're going to see our numbers start to pop up in some of these other early primary states.”