Glenn Beck doesn't just shape and propagate the GOP party line; now he's feeding talking points to Republican presidential candidates, too. After Beck distorted a speech by Obama, GOP Presidential candidate and former Fox News contributor Rick Santorum repeated Beck's falsehood.
The talking point began its life in an April 13 post on Beck's website, The Blaze, by Beck's co-host Stu Burguiere:
Obama: USA wasn't a great country until 1965.
Not an exact quote, but that's exactly what he's saying here...right?
So, we would not be a great country without Medicare, Social Security, unemployment, and Medicaid? Well, we didn't have all of them until 1965. [The Blaze, 4/13/11]
Beck promoted the falsehood on his radio show -- on the same day that he interviewed Santorum over the phone:
The great thing about this president is I learn something new every day. Every single day I learn something about my country that I did not know: for instance, that America was not a great country up until about 1965. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 4/14/11]
And Santorum repeated the falsehood yesterday while announcing his candidacy for president. From The Associated Press:
SANTORUM: Obama recently discussed "Medicare, Medicaid and unemployment insurance. He said, 'The country is a better country with those programs. I will go one step further,' he said. 'America was not a great country until those programs.' America was a great country before 1965."
THE FACTS: Santorum misquoted Obama's April 13 speech, when the president said: "We contribute to programs like Medicare and Social Security, which guarantee us health care and a measure of basic income after a lifetime of hard work; unemployment insurance, which protects us against unexpected job loss, and Medicaid, which provides care for millions of seniors in nursing homes, poor children and those with disabilities. We are a better country because of these commitments. I'll go further -- we would not be a great country without those commitments."
Santorum neglected to note that Obama included Social Security, a popular program created in 1935. And Obama did not say America "was not a great country" before 1965, the year that ushered in Medicare and Medicaid. He implied the nation would not be great now had it failed to implement the safety-net programs when it did.