Rick Santorum speaks at CPAC, Mar. 7, 2014.
Photo by Mark Peterson/Redux for MSNBC

Santorum: Class doesn’t exist, ‘middle class’ is ‘leftist talk’

Updated

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum told his fellow conservatives on Friday that they should stop using the term “middle class” because it exemplifies ”class-envy, leftist language.”

Santorum, who failed to secure the Republican Party nomination for president in 2012, described his own campaign as different because it had focused on “those who are working Americans.”

“Notice I didn’t say middle class,” he said.

“Why do we use a term I should say that is of the other side?” he asked. “Why do we, as Republicans who believe in the dignity of every human life, who believe in equality of opportunity for everyone to rise, adopt a class-envy leftist language that divides America against themselves?”

“Do we really accept the fact there are classes in America?” he continued. “Then why do we use that term? Why do we adopt their language? We have to stop that.” 

“We should use the term working Americans,” he added later. “Because unlike them, we believe work is a good thing.”

Santorum has criticized the term “middle class” in the past, telling a group of Iowa Republicans in August 2013 that “there’s no class in America.” 

“Don’t use the term the other side uses. What does Barack Obama talk about all the time? The middle class,” he said. “Since when in America do we have classes? Since when in America are people stuck in areas or defined places called a class? That’s Marxism talk.”

Santorum ended his CPAC remarks Friday by suggesting his party take a lesson from Pope Francis, who he described as “maybe the most popular person in the world right now,” in part because he highlights not what Christianity is against, but what it is for. 

“We will win not by further dividing,” he added. “We will win by uniting.”

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Santorum: Class doesn't exist, 'middle class' is 'leftist talk'

Updated