- The Washington Times - Friday, December 6, 2013

Amid the wave of grief over Nelson Mandela’s passing, and outpouring of fond memories about his inspiring deeds of greatness, came a harsh reminder from Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly: Let’s not forget he was a communist.

“He was a communist, this man,” Mr. O’Reilly said, during a Thursday night discussion with Rick Santorum about the fate of the Republican Party. The context for his comments about Mr. Mandela: He was trying to illustrate how the GOP could win more public favor for the next presidential election, Mediaite reported.

That’s when he blurted: “He was a communist, all right? But he was a great man. What he did for his people was stunning. … He was a great man, but he was a communist.”

Mr. Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania who sought the GOP nod in the 2012 presidential primary, toned down the rhetoric and spoke only positively of the former South African president, who died Thursday. Mr. Santorum — who hasn’t decided if he’s going to make another run for the White House — also tried to tie in Mr. Mandela’s battles with what’s going on in America right now.

Mr. Mandela fought against “a great injustice,” Mr. Santorum said. The United States faces similar fights against injustice via the “ever-increasing size of government that is taking over and controlling people’s lives, and Obamacare is at the front and center of that,” he said, Mediaite reported.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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