A Democratic congressman is under fire contrasting "minorities" and the "defective" with "good American people."
Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) made the comments Wednesday during the House and Senate conference on the financial reform bill. He was defending a Pennsylvania program that provides assistance to low-income people facing foreclosure on their homes.
"Because of the longevity of the recession, these are people – and they are not minorities, and they're not defective, and they're not all the things you like to insinuate that these programs are about. These are average good American people. Most of them have been veterans who served, responsible, have worked all their lives, but they're not full of money," Kanjorski said. "They live pay check to pay check and they always will because they are in the lower margins of our society."
Kanjorski was urging the conference committee to extend the Pennsylvania program nationally, which he said would cost "three lousy billion dollars."
Republicans have condemned Kanjorski's remarks and called on him to apologize.
"Kanjorski, in his own words, said Wednesday that minorities are not 'average, good American people,'" said Lou Barletta, the mayor of Hazleton, Pa., the Republican candidate running against Kanjorski. "This is outrageous and shows how out of touch Kanjorski is with the real world."
Kanjorski's office says he has nothing to apologize for.
"Congressman Kanjorski is fighting for all Americans who are struggling," Kanjorski spokesman Abigail McDonough told ABC News. "Any statement saying otherwise is grossly misinformed. The full video clip, rather than an edited version, speaks for itself and doesn't take the congressman's remarks out of context."
Here is the full video clip. You be the judge.
Matt Jaffe and Z. Byron Wolf contributed to this story