Politics

MSNBC host: Paul Ryan quoting Thomas Jefferson a ‘lovely thing’ for ‘a wealthy white man’

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Jeff Poor
Media Reporter

On a special broadcast of MSNBC’s “Hardball” on Saturday, weekend morning host Melissa Harris-Perry expressed her displeasure with the selection of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate.

In particular, Harris-Perry took issue with Ryan quoting Thomas Jefferson’s line in the Declaration of Independence, in which he declared rights come from God and nature and not from government.

“The thing I really have against him is actually how he and Gov. Romney have misused the Declaration of Independence,” she said. “I’m deeply irritated by their notion that the ‘pursuit of happiness’ means money for the richest and that we extricate the capacity of ordinary people to pursue happiness. When they say ‘God and nature give us our rights, not government,’ that is a lovely thing to say as a wealthy white man.”

Harris-Perry said the words didn’t initially mean rights for African-Americans and women.

“When you sit in a body like mine as an African-American woman, you know that God and nature have in fact made us — inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” she continued. “But we could not have them until there was a Civil War that allowed the federal government to impose those nature and God-given rights would actually be respected by our government. And I think that they cannot continue to go down this line on the Declaration of Independence.”

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