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DERRICK Z. JACKSON

Speaking in the forked tongue of racial codes

GREER, S.C.

IN A presidential primary state unmatched for its history of racially charged politics, Mitt Romney arrived with the dumb luck of seeming far less venomous than some other contenders. Rivals Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum bit themselves in Iowa and New Hampshire with stereotyped associations of African-Americans with food stamps, while Ron Paul was embarrassed by his 1992 newsletter that said the Los Angeles riots over the Rodney King verdict ended only when “it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks.’’

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