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Santorum's comments on Native Americans don't quiet critics

FILE - Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate in North Charleston, S.C. on Jan. 14, 2016. The CNN analyst went on the network to try and explain comments about Native Americans that have led to criticism, but didn't appear to calm things down. Santorum told a group of young conservative last month that there was nothing here when immigrants founded the United States. That angered Native Americans and others. He said on CNN Monday that he was speaking in context of the U.S. government's creation and didn't mean to minimize treatment of Native Americans. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)
FILE - Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate in North Charleston, S.C. on Jan. 14, 2016. The CNN analyst went on the network to try and explain comments about Native Americans that have led to criticism, but didn't appear to calm things down. Santorum told a group of young conservative last month that there was nothing here when immigrants founded the United States. That angered Native Americans and others. He said on CNN Monday that he was speaking in context of the U.S. government's creation and didn't mean to minimize treatment of Native Americans. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

NEW YORK – CNN analyst Rick Santorum's claim that he misspoke during a recent speech where he said there was “nothing here” when the United States was founded did little to diminish anger against him.

The National Congress of American Indians on Tuesday renewed calls for CNN to fire the former Pennsylvania senator. The group's president, Fawn Sharp, called Santorum arrogant for comments made to Chris Cuomo on Monday night.

“I was optimistic he would own it, he would recognize it and he would apologize,” Sharp said, “but he did none of those things.”

CNN has not commented on Santorum's initial remarks in an April 23 speech before Young America's Foundation, a conservative youth organization, and did not on Tuesday, either. There's been no indication of a change in status for Santorum, a commentator who was often tasked with giving the Republican point of view during campaign coverage.

When he spoke to the youth group, Santorum said immigrants created a nation based on the Judeo-Christian ethic from a blank slate.

“We birthed a nation from nothing,” he said. “Yes, there were Native Americans, but there isn't much Native American culture in American culture.”

Those comments were swiftly criticized, and Santorum was invited onto Cuomo's prime-time show Monday to explain himself.

Santorum said he “misspoke” in the sense that it wasn't clear that he was speaking in the context of the founding of the United States government.