Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum are taking heat for signing onto a group’s pledge suggesting African-American families were better off in some ways under slavery.
The two most prominent social conservatives in the 2012 field signed onto “The Marriage Vow - A Declaration of Dependence upon Marriage and Family,” by The Family Leader, a Christian group. According to the pledge, “Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.”
Everyone involved has since distanced themselves from the statement.The Family Leader said the slavery language could be “misconstrued” and removed it, Santorum praised their decision (while urging more Republicans to sign the pledge), and Bachmann reiterated her strong support for the 13th Amendment.
“In no uncertain terms, Congresswoman Bachmann believes that slavery was horrible and economic enslavement is also horrible,” spokeswoman Alice Stewart told CNN.
The group’s claim wasn’t only offensive, it was also inaccurate. Forbes’ Osha Gray Davidson notes that it relies on a study that doesn’t even have data past 1880 and whose author completely disagrees with the group’s conclusion.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.