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Paul Ryan To Smooth Things Over With Black Leadership After 'Inner City' Remark

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AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite

Reuters reported that Ryan agreed Friday to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus in what will be additional damage control for remarks he made earlier this week on Bill Bennett's radio program.

A Ryan spokesman did not respond to TPM's request for comment.

During the radio interview on Wednesday, Ryan lamented a culture that contributes to long-term poverty in inner cities.

"We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work, and so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with," Ryan said.

The House Budget Committee chairman, whose career has been defined by continually trying to gut anti-poverty programs, further stepped in it when he drew reference to the work of conservative social scientist Charles Murray.

Murray has argued that blacks are genetically inferior to whites and that "a lot of poor people are born lazy."

Ryan initially defended the remarks, insisting his point had "nothing to do whatsoever with race," but they created an uproar among liberals and Democrats.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, called the comments a "thinly veiled racial attack," and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) office called them "deeply ignorant" and "shameful."

Ryan ultimately walked it back, calling his remarks "inarticulate."