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Eric Cantor Answers Why He Believes the Majority of Jews Are Democrats


"...the Republican Party -- wasn't really good at welcoming immigrants..."

In an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes," corespondent Lesley Stahl asked House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) why so many of his fellow Jews don't support the Republican Party.

"Why do you think that most Jews are Democrats? Is there something in the faith that guides them more to the Democratic Party?," Stahl asked.

Cantor, clearly having his own challenges with the truth inherent in the question, answered, "This has been the bane of my existence for a long time, because...I've grown up and...very active and adherent to a faith and a community that is by-and-large Democratic."

Stahl pushed a bit harder, asking why Cantor believes that this lack of support for the GOP has taken hold.

"I think, perhaps, that our party -- the Republican Party -- wasn't really good at welcoming immigrants -- wasn't really good at saying, 'Hey, we want to give you a helping hand,'" Cantor answered.

Watch this dialogue, below:

This answer, considering the current debate in Washington over entitlements and spending, is an intriguing one. Many Democrats would contend that giving "a helping hand" is exactly what they're trying to do through their budgetary proposals.

Meanwhile, Republicans, like Cantor, would claim that fiscal responsibility should be the guiding principle in handling the debt crisis. It's tough to know the exact historical references Cantor is referring to in his assessment of Jewish support, as Stahl declined to dig deeper on the issue. But his comments are certainly worth noting.

"Was there something in the faith, because people say there is? People say that Jews care more about the poor than the Republican Party," Stahl both asked and stated.

Here, too, Cantor's answer was intriguing. He described the spirit of helping one's fellow man that is present in both Judaism and Christianity. Then, he went on the describe the "ability" that people have to see government programs as accomplishing this goal -- a tactic many Democrats have used to corroborate big-government proposals.

"Clearly, there is the ability to characterize all the social programs that exist at the federal level as reflecting that need to repair the world and to help those who can't help themselves," Cantor said.

He went on to address some of his critics who contend that he doesn't care about those in need.

"Nobody wants to hurt the poor. I care about the poor. I care about helping people who need the help," he said. "As far as taxing the rich, I think that we should make sure that everybody -- middle class and the rest -- hardworking taxpayers in this country -- are able to keep as much of what they earn as they can, because they, too, can help the poor."

Below, watch a more complete version of the interview:

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