Rick Santorum claims he 'misspoke' when claiming 'there was nothing here' when ...

Rick Santorum has said he 'misspoke' when he told a forum of young conservatives last month that he believed there was 'nothing here' when the white settlers arrived. 

Santorum, a former Republican presidential candidate and senator for Pennsylvania, spoke at the Young America's Foundation, a conservative youth group, on April 18. 

'We birthed a nation from nothing. I mean, there was nothing here,' Santorum said. 

'I mean, yes, we have Native Americans, but candidly, there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture.'

On Monday night, pressed to explain his controversial comments, Santorum insisted he 'misspoke'.

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'I was talking about - and I misspoke in this respect - I was talking about the founding and the principles embodied in the founding,' he told CNN. 

'I would never - and people said I’m trying to dismiss what we did to the Native Americans, far from it.' 

Rick Santorum (right) on Monday night told Chris Cuomo he 'misspoke' on April 13

Rick Santorum (right) on Monday night told Chris Cuomo he 'misspoke' on April 13

Santorum has carved out a career for himself as a conservative commentator on CNN

Santorum has carved out a career for himself as a conservative commentator on CNN

The 62-year-old, who faced calls to be fired from CNN for his comments, was adamant on Monday night that he had not intended to offend.

'What I was not saying was that Native American culture – I misspoke,' he said. 

'What I was talking about is, as you can see from the run-up, I was talking about the founding of our country. 

'I had given a long talk about the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the ideas behind those, and that I was saying we sort of created that anew, if you will. 

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'And I was not trying to dismiss Native Americans.' 

Santorum, who holds degrees in business in law, covered the map in his remarks, also speaking about the French Revolution and modern states located on the sites of ancient cultures. 

'You know, if you think of other countries like and Greece and China, Turkey and places like that, they've all, sort of, changed over time,' he told the forum. 

'I mean, they've been there for millennia in many cases. And their culture has,

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