Recession Victims Not Minorities, But 'Good Americans'
Republicans criticized Rep. Paul Kanjorski for what they said were remarks suggesting minorities are not "average, good American people." The 13-term Pennsylvania Democrat vigorously denied the charge, saying Republicans were taking his words out of context to score political points. In remarks Wednesday night defending a program to help homeowners facing foreclosure stay in their homes, Kanjorski said: "We're giving relief to people that I deal with in my office every day now unfortunately. But because of the longevity of this recession, these are people — and they're not minorities and they're not defective and they're not all the things you'd like to insinuate that these programs are about — these are average, good American people."
Republican Lou Barletta, the mayor of Hazelton, Pa. who hopes to unseat Kanjorski this fall in a rematch, called on the congressman to apologize. "This is outrageous and shows how out of touch Kanjorski is with the real world," Barletta said in a statement. A Kanjorski spokeswoman said the congressman was defending people who get government help from those who unfairly criticize them.