Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Wednesday suggested that President Franklin Roosevelt actually made the Great Depression worse with "class warfare politics" that "stopped creativity" and "drove businessmen away." The
August 29, 2012

Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Wednesday suggested that President Franklin Roosevelt actually made the Great Depression worse with "class warfare politics" that "stopped creativity" and "drove businessmen away."

The former Pennsylvania senator delivered red meat to attendees of the Republican National Convention on Tuesday in a speech where he said "hands" over 20 times and made the false claim that President Barack Obama had waived the work requirements for welfare.

Santorum continued the theme of attacking the president during an appearance on Fox News the next morning.

"This president is the most hostile president to the private sector since Franklin Roosevelt," he asserted. "Look what happened under Roosevelt. Years after years of playing the class warfare politics, which Roosevelt did during the Great Depression, and he drove businessmen away. He stopped creativity, he stopped innovation, he stopped people who were willing to risk and invest, and that's what's happening."

"So, one of the reasons these welfare rolls are going up is because of this president and his hostility toward the private sector in America. And it's a place to get money to then redistribute it to those who will hopefully vote for him."

Santorum added: "This is a -- this is what happened in the Great Depression and if we keep this up, we're going to experience even more economic problems."

But UC-Berkeley political scientist Eric Schickler told The Monkey Cage's John Sides that the view of FDR as anti-business does not square with the historical record.

"While FDR’s inaugural did include salvos against the 'unscrupulous money changers,' his actual policies in his first term relied heavily on cooperation with the business community," Schickler explained. "The [National Recovery Administration] -- which FDR hailed as the most important recovery measure -- essentially allowed businesses to form cartels, under the friendly supervision of the pro-business Hugh Johnson."

"Indeed, during FDR’s first three years in office, his version of the New Deal faced more serious challenges from populists and insurgents on the left than from Republicans."

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