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Santorum Surprised His Campaign Slogan May Come From...Communist Poet

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"I had nothing to do with that."

Los Angeles Times:

Former Republican Sen. Rick Santorum announced Wednesday that he was forming an exploratory committee for a possible presidential run. His slogan was, and remains on his website, "Fighting to make America America again."

But it might not be for long. Santorum, a well-known conservative, backed away from the phrase -- saying he had "nothing to do" with it -- after being told it derives from a poem by Langston Hughes.

Hughes, who died in 1967, was an African American Communist who advocated for civil rights and social justice. A key figure in the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes may well have been gay; some of his poems were homoerotic and others defended gay rights.

Think Progress asked Santorum about the slogan:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/GKwkIk6gYNo?fs=1&hl=en_US expand=1]

More from Think Progress:

Santorum at first distanced himself from it, claiming “I had nothing to do with that.” Asked for a clarification, the former senator laughed and added that his campaign staff “didn’t inform” him about the origin of the phrase. However, Santorum said he has read “some” poems by Hughes:

FANG: Today, you unveiled your new campaign slogan, “Fighting to make America America again.” But was it intentional that this line was borrowed from the pro-union poem by the gay poet Langston Hughes?

SANTORUM: No, because I had nothing to do with that so

FANG: Oh, alright thanks. Wait did you have a clarification there? Was it just a coincidence?

SANTORUM: I didn’t know that. The folks who worked on that slogan for me didn’t inform me that that’s where it came from, if in fact it came from that.

FANG: Do you like Langston Hughes? Is he a favorite poet?

SANTORUM: I’ve read some of his poems. I’m not a big poetry guy so I can’t say I have a favorite poet, sorry.

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